TO STEP into the ring with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s bruiser of a president, takes courage and self-belief. Meral Aksener has plenty of both. At the launch of her new political party on October 25th, some of Mrs Aksener’s supporters broke into chants of “Prime Minister Meral!” She replied: “No, not prime minister. President.” A prominent nationalist and former cabinet minister, she has not yet declared her candidacy for elections that are due to be held in 2019. However, everyone assumes she will. “My friends really want me to run,” she says, referring to colleagues from her newly unveiled, innocuously named Iyi (Good) party. “I might have no other choice.”
Those who challenge Mr Erdogan tend to pay. The last to do so, Selahattin Demirtas, joint leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a candidate in the 2014 presidential election, was thrown in prison last year on spurious terrorism charges. Mrs Aksener herself got a taste of Mr Erdogan’s...Continue reading
IT WAS a heart-warming moment in the freezing wind of the Alsatian mountains. On November 10th the presidents of Germany and France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Emmanuel Macron (pictured), shared a hug as they opened a French-German war memorial at Hartmannswillerkopf, where 30,000 soldiers died during months-long battles for control of the peak in 1915. Every generation had to be reminded anew, said Mr Steinmeier, why the task “to lead Europe into a hope-filled, better future” fell to Germany and France.
Mr Steinmeier’s remarks underscored a commitment to European union, one of the twin pillars of German foreign policy since 1945, alongside participation in a multilateral world underwritten by America. But warm words cannot disguise the fact that these days both pillars are shaky. America under Donald Trump is retreating from its role as underwriter, in favour of a doctrine of national self-interest. Europe faces a number of simmering crises. East and west are divided over...Continue reading
“MAKE the most noise possible,” urged Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a radical-left politician, before a crowd this autumn. Saucepan-banging protesters would make a nationwide ruckus, he said, referring to a centuries-old method of protest known as les casserolades. They would tell Emmanuel Macron that his economic reforms “ruin our life and keep us from dreaming, so we stop you from sleeping”.
In the event Mr Mélenchon disturbed nobody’s repose. At the appointed hour, at two locations in central Paris, just a handful of sheepish supporters from his France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France) movement turned out. Other marches, against labour-law reforms, have been bigger, but achieved equally little. More nationwide protests were due on November 16th, involving unions and students, but looked unlikely to cause serious disruption.
For months Mr Mélenchon, despite having just 17 MPs, has in effect led...Continue reading
Americans overwhelmed by crowded highways and the prospect of cooking a turkey and all the trimmings for the Thanksgiving holiday dinner are turning for relief to the latest social-media driven holiday - Friendsgiving.
BANGKOK: Police in Thailand on Wednesday arrested a woman wanted in connection with a 2015 bombing in Bangkok that killed 20 people, 14 of them foreign tourists.
The blast at a central Bangkok shrine popular with visitors from China and elsewhere in Asia raised fears of a spillover of violence ...
OSLO: Norwegian police said on Wednesday they had lowered the national threat assessment, but still regarded an attack by militants as a possibility.
The risk level was lowered to "possible" from "likely", reversing an April decision to raise the threat assessment following an Oslo bomb scare and ...
President Donald Trump on Wednesday reignited a feud with the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players who was detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting, calling him an "ungrateful fool" in a series of early morning tweets.
DUBLIN: A clean sweep of their November tests will see Ireland put down a strong marker for next year’s Six Nations Championship, scrumhalf Conor Murray said ahead of Saturday’s game against Argentina in Dublin.
“We’ve been building week-on-week here and this week is a big opportunity to put down ...
EU antitrust regulators fined five car safety equipment makers a total of 34 million euros (US$40.0 million) on Wednesday for taking part in cartels to fix prices for seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to Japanese carmakers.
SEOUL: North Korea responded on Wednesday (Nov 22) to US President Donald Trump's decision to relist the county as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “grave provocation and aggressive violation", North Korean state media reported.
Trump put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of ...
SINGAPORE: Commuters on the East-West Line (EWL) reported a delay in their travels during the evening rush hour on Wednesday (Nov 22), with some reporting announcements of a track fault near Clementi MRT station.
"I heard on the intercom that there was a track fault near Clementi, and to expect an ...
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha on Wednesday that Beijing hopes Seoul continues to appropriately handle their dispute over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, state media said.
Hammond says he has a clear vision of what a global Britain looks like: a prosperous and inclusive economy, where everyone can shine, and the dream of home ownership is open to all; a civilised, tolerant place; an outward-looking nation, that is a force for good in the world.
That is the Britain he wants, he says. He will not build it today. But he will build the foundations.
Neither housebuilding nor tax breaks will do it. The Tories govern as if they despise those who backed remain
Philip Hammond’s budget faces political death by impossible demands. The question is how long he can defer the execution. The chancellor is supposed to maintain fiscal discipline and ease the pain of austerity. He must build houses, but not in anyone’s backyard. He must raise revenue, but not from taxes.
And those are just pressures from inside the cabinet. If Hammond makes it through to the weekend without colleagues calling for him to be sacked, he’ll have beaten the odds.
Ratko Mladić, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army and one-time fugitive from international justice, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by a UN tribunal at The Hague.
More than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre and his first indictment by the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the soldier nicknamed the “butcher of Bosnia” has been found guilty of of multiple offences.
Warwick University vice-chancellor says certainty is needed over EU citizens’ rights to avoid exodus of staff at all levels
British universities face “a moment of great trauma” in the next few weeks unless the government makes clear its post-Brexit plans for EU residents in the UK, a leading vice-chancellor has warned.
Prof Stuart Croft of Warwick University said in an interview with the Guardian that the possibility of no deal being struck to exit the EU was “utterly bizarre”, and that institutions needed certainty over residency rights by the end of the year to avoid seeing staff at all levels deciding to leave.
Cabinet Office minister battles for political future as investigation into allegations of sexual impropriety nears completion
An inquiry into allegations of impropriety by Theresa May’s de facto deputy Damian Green is expected to conclude within days after a series of interviews.
The political future of the first secretary of state and Cabinet Office minister remains in the balance as the department’s head of propriety and ethics, Sue Gray, deliberates over claims that Green harassed a young Conservative activist and downloaded pornography to a work computer. He denies both allegations.
The Russian singer, hailed as one of the world’s greatest, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015
The Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky has died aged 55. The news was announced on his Facebook page:
“On behalf of the Hvorostovsky family, it is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dmitri Hvorostovsky – beloved operatic baritone, husband, father, son, and friend – at age 55. After a two-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer, he died peacefully this morning, November 22, surrounded by family near his home in London, UK. May the warmth of his voice and his spirit always be with us.”