Atlantic Update 2/2/11


Russia and Ireland in a row over a diplomatic dismissal and forged passports, and Germany proposes scaling back its anti-terror measures.


Egypt’s revolt hits UK businesses (Al Jazeera)

Ongoing protests and strikes in Egypt have led to some of the country’s ports being closed, hitting companies around the world that import Egyptian products.

In London, the British capital, companies selling cotton products rely heavily on suppliers in Alexandria, where factories are shut down.

Germany scales back anti-terror measures (AFP/The Daily Star)

The German government said Tuesday it was scaling back the reinforced police presence put in place at train stations and airports in November, in response to evidence Islamist militants were planning an attack.

Security authorities “have come to the conclusion that a progressive reduction of security measures introduced on Nov. 17, 2010 is possible,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere declared.

‘Solidarity with Belarus’ meet to bolster opposition aid (AFP/Hurriyet)

Thirty-six states were set Wednesday to bolster financial support for Belarussian opposition groups at a donors’ conference spearheaded by Poland – the first initiative of its kind.

The "Solidarity with Belarus" conference was called in response to a crackdown by Belarus’s strongman President Alexander Lukashenko in the wake of his Dec. 19 re-election which has been disputed by the opposition and the West.

Russia threatens retaliation (Irish Times)

The Kremlin has threatened to retaliate after Dublin expelled a Russian diplomat in a row over the use of forged Irish passports by Russian agents in the United States.

The Government ordered the expulsion of the diplomat following a Garda investigation that concluded Russian intelligence agents stole the identities of six Irish citizens to produce fake Irish passports used by members of a espionage ring uncovered in the US last year.

Russia slams Belarus sanctions as ‘counterproductive’ (Deutsche Welle)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned as ‘counterproductive’ sanctions imposed on Belarus by the European Union and the United States in response to Minsk’s post-election opposition crackdown.

EU plans bigger exchange of air passenger data (BBC News)

The EU plans to expand transfers of air passenger data in a drive to prevent terrorism and other serious crimes such as drug trafficking.

China catching EU on innovation, amid industrial espionage scandals (EUObserver)

China is catching up fast with the EU in research and innovation, according to a study published by the European Commission ahead of a meeting of EU leaders on the same issue. But industrial spying scandals in France and the US have painted China’s economic ambitions in a disturbing light.

Merkel Wants to Give Teeth to EU Rules (WSJ Europe)

Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European Union summit on Friday is expected to link increasing German support for high-debt euro-zone countries with sweeping structural and regulatory reforms in the currency bloc.

Bradley Manning is UK citizen and needs protection, government told (The Guardian)

Amnesty International asks government to intervene on behalf of soldier suspected of having passed US secrets to WikiLeaks


Bitter Medicine: Britain’s prime minister grabs the third rail of national politics: the National Health Service (Foreign Policy)

A recent issue of the British Medical Journal posed a simple question by way of making a cynical joke: "What do you call a government that embarks on the biggest upheaval of the NHS [National Health Service] in its 63 year history, at breakneck speed, while simultaneously trying to make unprecedented financial savings?"

So went the punch line: "The politically correct answer has got to be: mad." As it so often does, this satire had a serious intention: namely, to warn Prime Minister David Cameron that any reforms to the NHS will be met with fierce resistance. The journal was not alone in drawing this line in the sand. Opposition politicians and labor unions also rallied to the flag of resisting reform. One union leader warned that the government’s plans invited a "Titanic-sized" disaster.

Europe’s time to act in Bosnia (European Voice)

This is the year that the EU should take over oversight of the Dayton Peace Accords.

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