EU Commission Goes Legal Against German Mutiny
Europe

EU Commission Goes Legal Against German Mutiny

Germany is in trouble as European Commission has decided to take legal action against its own court’s ruling in May last year. In a German court ruling, it was decided that the European Court of Justice should not have backed the European Central Bank’s bond buying stimulus program. While this was done to ease the pressure of novel coronavirus across the EU bloc, it was considered a move that exceeded the powers of the European court.

In retaliation, the European Commission has sorted legal action against Germany for challenging the supremacy of the EU law itself. However, the German court did rule that the bond-buying could proceed. However, the damage seemed to have been done already.

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Indeed, its an unprecedented move by the EU Commission and could lead to heavy fines for Germany. Undeniably, this mars the reputation of the bloc’s most powerful member state. The German government now has two months to respond to a letter of formal notice from the commission, with possible solutions.

The general consensus is that “EU law has primacy over national law. All judgements by the European Court of Justice are binding for member states’ authorities, including national courts, a formal spokesperson from the EU Commission has said so.

There is a wave of an a-la-carte menu brewing and EU Commission wants to ensure that the sanctity of the EU law is maintained in the bloc. However, it is worth noting that had Germany withdrawn from the stimulus, it would have burnt a hole in the package itself. Berlin is one of the largest contributors to the fund. Further, there will remain a growing anxiety in Brussels that there is possibility of mutiny. The one most feared are Poland and Hungary, that might act in similar ways. The EU was engaged in “ongoing battles with Hungary and Poland over the rule of law”, which could be undermined if the German decision were left unanswered.

Nicaragua’s freedom is in a questionable state
Americas

Nicaragua’s freedom is in a questionable state

Democracy in Nicaragua is hanging by a thread and its citizens are thinking that it may slip very soon into the hands of the dictatorship. Their President Daniel Ortega used his undisputed power to crack down and take disadvantage of country’s police and courts to fulfil his political favours. Treating the opposition with brutal efficiency, he made 13 leaders from the opposition party arrested on the grounds of “national security” violations. Human Rights say it is a clear sign that the President is doing his best to eliminate dissent and crush any competition ahead of the upcoming general elections in November.

This entire propaganda began with the arrest of prominent presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, who was earlier investigated on allegations that she mismanaged a non-profit free press advocacy organization. After the day of her announcing her candidacy, authorities raided her home and arrested her by saying she was involved in abusive management, ideological falsehood in competition with the crime of laundering money, goods and assets, to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua. Even though she hails from the sound background of Nicaragua’s preeminent family and she was seen as an ideal candidate that would beat Ortega in November elections.

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The reason why all Americans should pay attention to this is that instead of working with opposition groups and protesters to find a peaceful solution, Ortega’s government took the opposite approach. They went all intense and forceful by violating human rights. They detained thousands of people who participated in the protests and even prevented the injured people from gaining access to emergency medical care as a form of retaliation for their participation in the protests. Universities became ground zero as pro-government forces attacked students who had been holed up in defiance against the government, killing at least two people in one deadly incident, human rights group CENIDH reported.

With much international pressure, the government has though agreed international organizations to investigate the deaths of hundreds of protesters and release some of those imprisoned on what the IACHR called “unfounded and disproportionate charges.” Acting Assistant Secretary for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, mentioned that Ortega had a chance to follow through on his commitment to allow free and fair elections, but instead he was playing another game. Se explained that their government is fearful of losing to a free and fair, transparent system. They see democracy as a threat and it would give more power in the hands of the people, this is why he has triggered these kinds of actions as no confidence in their ability to support people.

NATO is back, US and EU against China and Russia
Americas

NATO is back, US and EU against China and Russia

NATO is back, “stronger than ever”, to face the systemic challenges posed by China’s aggressive policies and Russia’s continuing violations of international law. After a four-hour summit, the leaders of the thirty countries of the Atlantic Alliance showed a common front. Leading them, this time is the American president, Joe Biden, who at his first summit swept away the perplexities that his predecessor had sown. “I want to be clear: NATO is of fundamental importance for the interests of the United States, if it did not exist, we would have to invent it”, clarified the head of the White House upon his arrival at the headquarters in Brussels.

“We have Russia that is not acting consistently with what we hoped for, as well as China,” he explained. But above all, he reassured his allies: “I want to tell the Europeans that America exists”. And he defined Article 5 of the Treaty, which requires mutual defense, “a sacred obligation”. A point that had been questioned by Trump, “tired of paying for the defense of others”. At the table, the Asian giant is undoubtedly at the head of the concerns of the allies.

Despite the premise of the Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, of “not wanting a Cold War with China” and the intent to “collaborate for the climate”, the concluding statements leave little room for interpretation: “China’s declared ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to the security of the Alliance.

We are concerned about coercive policies that run counter to the core values ​​enshrined in the Washington Treaty. “That’s not all,” China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal with more warheads and more sophisticated launch systems to establish a nuclear triad, “it continues.” It is opaque in the implementation of its military modernization and its strategy of public military-civilian fusion.

It is also cooperating militarily with Russia, including through participation in Russian exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area. “And Moscow is precisely the other target in NATO’s sights.” Russia’s military formation and provocative behavior on the eastern border of the NATO are increasingly threatening the security of the Euro-Atlantic area and contributing to instability along NATO borders and beyond “, write the allies who reiterate their” support for the territorial integrity of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine “, asking Moscow to “withdraw the forces stationed in all three countries without their consent”.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was convinced that “Biden will bring a very harsh message to Putin”. As already happened at the G7 in Cornwall, Europeans have nevertheless tried to have more room for dialogue with China. “NATO is a military organization, our relationship with China goes further, there are many other issues that concern and on which we can work”, said the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who wants to leave the door to dialogue open. “China is a rival in many areas and an ally in many others, we must find a balance,” confirmed German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“It is very important that, as with Russia, an offer for political dialogue is presented” to China as well, you insisted. The dialogue was not lacking with Turkey, an ally but with not a few thorny issues. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had a series of important bilateral talks: he has seen Macron, Merkel, and Biden.” Turkey had to fight terrorism alone, without the help of NATO,” he complained in his speech on the side-lines. However, the desire to move forward with clarity and respect seems to have been confirmed with Macron and there was a very productive and sincere dialogue with Biden.

Why Kamala Harris Has Not Visited The US Mexico Border?
Americas

Why Kamala Harris Has Not Visited The US Mexico Border?

Vice President Kamala Harris’ first international trip into Central America seems to have not gone well. There are some strange embarrassments of her fumbling over border questions which the White House administration will have some explaining to do over.

Her news conference was clumsy as she reiterated that “we have been to the border, we have been there”, to which a news reporter was quick on his feet to say, “you still have not been to the border actually.” She might not have meant it literally, but then it has enough ammunition to be twisted otherwise. White House administration is hopeful that these statements might go into the shadows, provided the rest of her trip goes well.

Ms. Harris held the stand that we should look at the immigration problem as a whole. Obviously, she has a critics club which will repeatedly bring back these questions to the forefront.  The Biden administration is going to take time to undo the damage that has been done by Trump in his presidential tenure.

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There has been surge of movement at the US-Mexico border. Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that President Biden is inviting them to cross the border.

This has also meant thousands of unescorted children reaching the border. The situation has been a little offhand, but the administration has been doing its best to contain the situation. Meanwhile, PM Joe Biden had asked Harris to address the root cause in March. In her movement through Central America, she was bogged down with questions as to why she wasn’t visiting the border herself. She commented she would not want to make this a ‘grand gesture’.  “I’ve been to the border before. I will go again,” Harris insisted. “But when I’m in Guatemala dealing with root causes, I think we should have a conversation about what’s going on in Guatemala.” There might be good reason in what she is doing. In fact, everything in Biden’s leadership doesn’t come without good reasoning.

UAE at UNSC: Raising Arab voice, promoting global peace
Middle East & Africa

UAE at UNSC: Raising Arab voice, promoting global peace

The UAE on Friday was elected unopposed as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term, alongside Brazil, Ghana, Albania, and Gabon. It won resounding support from 179 out of the total 190 members of the UN General Assembly.

Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, recognised the UAE’s key responsibilities as a non-permanent member of the UNSC. He expressed keenness in fulfilling these responsibilities in addressing the most pressing challenges facing the world. He further affirmed that the UAE will continue to ensure relentless efforts to promote global peace and security with great diligence and determination.

Restoring peace

In recent years, the UAE has emerged as a pioneering nation in the Middle East, working rigorously towards establishing peace and stability among countries in the region. The historic ‘Abraham Accord’ was signed between the UAE and Israel in August 2020 with the aim of normalising ties between the two countries and reinforcing efforts towards achieving regional peace. Other Gulf countries including Bahrain and Jordan joined the UAE in signing a peace accord with Israel to open promising opportunities across trade, business, and other sectors in the region. Along with Israel, Bahrain and Jordan, the UAE has furthered its ties with Egypt and Greece in recent years.

With its strategic allies in the Gulf region, the UAE has also gained significant influence in the Horn of Africa in recent years. In 2018, Abu Dhabi played a crucial role in the Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement, encouraging both sides to enhance their cooperation and fulfill regional commitments. The UAE worked with Saudi Arabia to provide diplomatic and financial support to Eritrea and Ethiopia in order to expand Horn stability. As Abu Dhabi expanded its foothold in the Horn of Africa, it gave increasing priority to the security interests of the region in its international diplomacy.

UAE as a mediator

Expanding its mediating role, the UAE recently offered its willingness to de-escalate tensions and establish peace between Israel and Palestine in view of the Gaza attacks. The UAE has backed a two-state solution to end the conflict between the two sides to further peace and prosperity in the region. Earlier this year, the UAE played a crucial role in reducing tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

As part of its foreign policy, the UAE has given utmost importance to de-escalation and political diplomacy with countries across the world. Over the next few years, the UAE seeks to expand its foreign policy trajectory to promote friendly ties and regional growth.

Humanitarian efforts

The UAE’s international humanitarian role has grown steadily across various sectors with its generous contributions to global aid. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country intensified its humanitarian efforts to support the healthcare needs of millions of people across more than 100 countries in need. From medical aid to food packets, the UAE, with its humanitarian arm, the Emirates Red Crescent, ensured the provision of tonnes of supplies to several parts of the world. The UAE has gained international recognition for its continuous support and dedicated efforts in extending humanitarian aid internationally.

Stronger United

Time and again, the UAE has expressed its readiness to work with the Security Council to better fulfill its responsibilities towards finding concrete solutions to resolve challenges faced by the Arab region, including increasing extremism and terrorism and COVID-19 repercussions. Furthermore, the UAE aims to use its position to augment humanitarian aid to all countries in need.

In its UNSC membership campaign “Stronger United”, the UAE outlined its four main pillars – securing peace, building resilience, advancing inclusion, and spurring innovation. The UAE has pledged to use its UNSC seat to promote innovation, global peace, inclusivity, resilience, women empowerment and limiting the impact of climate change. At the same time, the UAE will press the Security Council to take more action towards confronting extremism and combating terrorism against extremist ideology that has hampered growth and development projects in various regions.

Boosting Inclusiveness

The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities from different countries living together as one. The UAE leadership has created a safe and secure environment for these nationalities to showcase their cultures and traditions with confidence.

Vocalising Arab voice

As part of its UNSC membership, the UAE has pledged to represent the Arab region at the international platform by conveying and strengthening the voice of Gulf countries on various issues of global concern. The UAE received massive support from Arab nations during its campaign for its membership. In this regard, Abu Dhabi has vowed to amplify the zealous efforts taken by previous Arab members on the Council to raise the Arab voice at the international level.

Military junta in Myanmar rejects UN chief’s allegations of human rights abuse ahead of Suu Kyi’s trial
Asia Pacific Focus

Military junta in Myanmar rejects UN chief’s allegations of human rights abuse ahead of Suu Kyi’s trial

Ahead of the trial of Suu Kyi, state counselor of Myanmar, the military junta has gone on record to refute the claims of human rights abuse in the country after the chief of the United Nations blamed the military control for unjust practice.

There have been many incidents in the country after the military take over when human rights were witnessed to be neglected. Many residents also took to social media handles to project the demonstrations against the current power and their force on common people who were demonstrating against them.

Following these incidents, the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights  commented on deadly practices but the military junta on Sunday completely refuted the claims. On February 1, when the military started governing the Burma administration, Suu Kyi was detained by the military power along with some of the most senior diplomats of the country.

There have been tons of requests to free their leader which resulted in armed forces coming fighting the unarmed citizens of the country. Even after a lot of requests were made to conduct fair set up, there was nothing that could change the mind of the military junta.

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The 75-year-old has since been in detention and it was decided that on Monday, trial for her breaching the coronavirus regulations was scheduled. She had reportedly done an election campaign without taking covid-19 protocols into consideration. She clearly won the elections held in November last year but was blamed for health negligence as well as possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies.

Her legal representative said that her trial will stretch till July and there is no way it could be concluded any sooner. Other charges on the nobel laureate include intent to incite and breach of official secrets act. She has also allegedly accepted $600,000 and 11.4 kg worth of gold from the Yangon minister.

The army stresses that they took control of the administration because they believe that Suu Kyi took over Myanmar only by fraud. The accusations are however rejected by the previous election commission but the military nevertheless continues to stress that there was election fraud. Things got worse when it was reported that the military had killed over 800 people during the administrative crackdown in three months. Hence the activists had to jump in to protect human rights but the strong reluctance to accept the civil crimes further threatens the existence of democratic powers.

G7 Summit concludes: Johnson vows to protect UK’s integrity after tiff with France’s Macron over Northern Ireland
Europe

G7 Summit concludes: Johnson vows to protect UK’s integrity after tiff with France’s Macron over Northern Ireland

 As G7 summit in Cornwall closed on Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson treaded on a path attempting to smooth out rift with European Union over the Brexit row after his foreign secretary, Dominic Raab’s accused EU leaders of insulting Northern Ireland with their remarks. Northern Ireland protocol has been a central issue of tiff between EU and UK as former leaders took G7 summit as an opportunity to pressurize Johnson into implementing the protocol entirely.

While speaking at a press conference at end of summit, Johnson was cautious that he did not escalate recent tiff following France’s President Emmanuel Macron comment that Northern Ireland was not a part of UK. PM Johnson also chose not to comment anything on Raab’s remarks saying, “What I’m saying is that we will do whatever it takes to protect the territorial integrity of the UK.”

Raab had said earlier, “Various EU figures, here in Carbis Bay, but frankly for months now and years, have characterized Northern Ireland as somehow a separate country, and that is wrong.” Raab called it “a failure to appreciate what speaking around Northern Ireland in those terms and approaching the issue of the Northern Ireland protocol in those terms does. It causes damage to business from both communities in Northern Ireland. It creates deep consternation, and we wouldn’t talk about Catalonia or Barcelona or Corsica in France in those ways.”

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Macron hit back at accusations in his end of summit press conference saying that EU understood UK’s concerns of its sovereignty. “France has never allowed itself to question British sovereignty, the integrity of British territory and the respect of its sovereignty.”

He added, “Brexit, I’d like to remind you, is the child of British sovereignty and has generated thousands of hours of work for European leaders. So we know very well what British sovereignty is. I don’t think there’s any other country whose sovereignty other countries have spent so much time respecting. So we are respectful.”

Northern Ireland protocol seeks to prevent a strict border in Ireland but also ensuring smooth trade between UK and Northern Ireland. This involved UK accepting checks on Irish Sea but now No. 10 claims that EU is too liberal in interpreting the deal. On Saturday, Boris had threatened of suspending the protocol by triggering Article 16 that can be done if there is “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”.

Australia Spearheads Geopolitics In Outer Space
Geopolitics

Australia Spearheads Geopolitics In Outer Space

There is a geopolitical war happening over a share of a pie in air space as well. While dominating the scene has been the US, Russia and China, Australis is now looking at expanding its horizon and vie for space there.

Australia has already set up a military unit that will be protecting its satellites in space. This will comprise personnel from Royal Australian Navy, Army and the Air Force. Though still in planning stages, this development means that Australia will be able to use this space division better coordinate space defence activities with allies.

The country down under is now looking at making it presence felt but designing satellites that can detect enemy satellite activity in space. Also, there are worries over space traffic management and issue of debris that need to be taken of when they fall from the atmosphere into Australian territories due to its proximity to water bodies.

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With a local space division, Australia will let the military develop and sling small satellites into orbit that will not only keep an eye on space debris, but can also help people on the ground to investigate further, should a suspicious collision occur.

The country will be ready with its small satellite launches in the next 5-10 years. An Outer Space Treaty that was signed in 1960s was put into place to ensure peaceful use of the outer space. But off late, countries are steering for its mandate and Australia sees its role as the one to monitor this.

So, military division will be helping with space diplomacy. A space division in the military will allow Australia to join its allies and temper the greater powers away from what’s happening, and back towards strategic restraint.

Polish man has been charged as a spy in EU parliament
Europe

Polish man has been charged as a spy in EU parliament

A Polish man suspected of spying on the European Parliament for Russia has been arrested. He has been identified as Janusz N. and is said to have carried out activities in favour of the Russian Federation. Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for the head of Poland’s security services, mentioned that he was instructed by officials working for the Russian intelligence services, and he has made attempts to approach Polish and foreign politicians, including those working in the European Parliament for breach of information.

It is proved by the security authorities that the activities of the suspect were in line with Russian information warfare which were aimed at weakening the position of Poland within the EU and in the international arena. This is no small mind game but rather a trap to disclose country’s secrets and protected information. Reporters inform that Janusz N. was detained on May 31. Officers seized about 300,000 Polish zlotys (€67,000), some of it in euros, and computer equipment from his home. However, he was presented with charges of espionage and pleaded not guilty.

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Philippines face a shortage of vaccine supplies as mass immunisation halts
Asia Pacific Focus

Philippines face a shortage of vaccine supplies as mass immunisation halts

A delay in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines has made some cities in the capital region close vaccination sites, hindering Manila’s aims to ramp up its immunisation run.

So far, only 4.5 million of the promised 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered. Head of the government’s vaccine procurement programme, Carlito Galvez, told this to the DZMM radio on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Thursday appealed to the public for understanding while assuring them that soon the country will have ample supply in the coming months and the whole of the population will be vaccinated.

The overall vaccination programme by the government has been heavily mismanaged as it didn’t make any classification on the basis of age. The delay has come just as the government announced to open up vaccinations to about 35 million people working beyond the vicinity of their homes, to halt COVID-19 transmission and open the economy up.

Mayor of Quezon City, Joy Belmonte, said several vaccination sites in her city were being closed forcibly because of “erratic” supplies.

Ever since the start of the coronavirus, doctors have warned that people are not taking the SOPs into account. The government has also not been very strict with the restrictions and now the residents are said to be paying the price. People, for most of the time, questioned whether the pandemic was actual or “just a money-making venture”.

Some mayors allowed the reopening of cockfighting arenas, a place for gambling and mass gatherings. Furthermore, few Catholic priests also subtly encouraged people to attend Sunday masses in person, despite directions of church attendance being limited to half of the maximum capacity.

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In fishing villages and farming communities, residents have been seen practising their usual habits – hanging out, walking around in the neighbourhood or playing billiards and basketball – mostly maskless.

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