Tracking cookies

To make our website even easier and more personal, we use cookies (and similar techniques). With these cookies we and third parties can collect information about you and monitor your internet behavior within (and possibly also outside) our website. If you agree with this, we will place these tracking cookies.

Yes, I give permissionNo thanks
Logo

Turkey has given Greece about a hundred naked men, and a battle of pensioners is coming to America

17-10-2022 |

Fresh - freshly squeezed news from the international press. We prepare it 2 times a week.

AP: Battle of the Aged Titans - Biden vs Trump

Donald Trump, who refused to exit the stage after his defeat, has spent months raging against Joe Biden, reshaping downballot campaigns that normally function as a straightforward referendum on the incumbent president.

The result is an episode of political shadowboxing with little precedent, as the current president and his immediate predecessor — and possible future challenger — crisscross the country in support of their party’s candidates.

Trump has been holding raucous rallies in battleground states, where he alternates between touting his handpicked candidates and denouncing his enemies. He belittles and excoriates Biden while lying, as he did in Ohio last month, that “we didn’t lose” the last election.

Biden has so far steered clear of some of the tightest midterm races, instead focusing on fundraisers and official events where he draws contrasts between Democratic and Republican policy agendas. He often avoids direct references to “the last guy,” but on Saturday in Oregon, Biden warned that “Trump controls the Republican Party.”

Sometimes the two men travel to the same places, such as when they visited Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, within days of each other, a reflection of the narrow political map that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

“It’s remarkably unusual,” said Jeffrey Engel, founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, who strained to think of any comparison in previous election cycles.

“Without exception, since the Great Depression” — Republican Herbert Hoover tried to plot a path back to power despite losing to Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932 — “we have not had a former president who believed they still had a viable political career ahead of them,” he said.


Photo: Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images

Neither Trump nor Biden has formally announced they will run again. Trump has come close to declaring his candidacy, and Biden has said he intends to seek a second term.

If they face off again, the competition between them could become one of the longest and impactful political duels in American history, spanning several years and multiple elections.

A recent AP-NORC poll shows only about 3 in 10 Americans want either Biden or Trump to run for president in two years. Just 5 in 10 Democrats want Biden to seek a second term, while 6 out of 10 Republicans hope to see Trump seek the presidency again.

Engel said another battle between Biden and Trump would likely prove dispiriting.

“What that fundamentally means is our country is not moving forward,” he said. “I have not met anybody who relishes that campaign.”

Reuters: Is the new broom sweeping cleaner? Jeremy Hunt takes personal control of British finances

New British finance minister Jeremy Hunt will announce tax and spending measures on Monday, two weeks earlier than scheduled, as he races to stem a dramatic loss of investor confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss's government.

Battling to rewrite Truss's economic programme since he replaced the fired Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday, Hunt is expected to make a statement around 11:00 a.m. to try to halt a bond market rout that has raged since the government set out vast unfunded tax cuts on Sept. 23.


British finance minister Jeremy Hunt
Photo: Getty Images / Leon Neal / Staff

Sterling was up about 0.8% against the dollar in trading in Asia. Some lawmakers in the ruling Conservative Party - agitating to drive Truss out of office - said it was now clear that Hunt had seized control of the government.

"The chancellor will make a statement later today, bringing forward measures from the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan that will support fiscal sustainability," the finance ministry said in an unexpected statement released around 6 a.m.

Truss, Britain's fourth prime minister in six years, was elected last month by party members on a platform to snap the economy out of years of stagnant growth by slashing taxes and regulation.

But markets reacted violently, hammering the value of the pound and government bond prices, and forcing Truss to fire her finance minister and appoint Hunt to reverse course.

Hunt, who met Truss over the weekend, is now expected to scrap most of the tax cuts and set out plans to cut spending to narrow a hole in public finances that the Sunday Times reported was as big as 72 billion pounds ($81 billion).

Veteran Conservative lawmaker Roger Gale said the power in Downing Street now lay with Number 11, the home of the chancellor, and not Truss's Number 10.

"I think Jeremy Hunt is de facto prime minister," he told BBC Radio.

Hunt will deliver a fuller medium-term fiscal plan as scheduled on Oct. 31 alongside forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury said.

Hunt said on Saturday some taxes would go up, spending would rise less than previously planned and that he hoped investors would take note of his changes that represented a near total U-turn in fiscal policy.

"No government can control the markets. No chancellor should seek to do that," the former foreign and health minister told BBC television in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

"There is one thing we can do and that's what I'm going to do, which is to show the markets, the world, indeed people watching at home, that we can properly account for every penny of our tax and spending plans."

The political editor of The Times said Truss and Hunt agreed to Sunday to delay a cut in income tax for workers until 2024, a year later than Truss originally planned.

BoE Governor Bailey gave Hunt a vote of confidence on Saturday, saying they had an "immediate meeting of minds" on the need to fix the public finances.

Politico: Putin will go, but the ideology stays

Vladimir Putin, while in power, has brutalised millions of people by flipping the switch from autocracy to totalitarianism. It would seem that if he were to step down, the situation in the country might improve considerably.

Yet Vladimir Putin out of power will bring its own brand of chaos: a Shakespearean knife-fight for power; unleashed regional leaders; a nuclear arsenal up for grabs.

For now, few want to publicly talk about that post-Putin world, wary of the perception of meddling in domestic politics. But privately, western countries and analysts are plotting the scenarios that could unfold when Putin inevitably departs — and how Ukraine’s allies should react.

“I will be careful speculating too much about the domestic political situation in Russia,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week when asked how the alliance was preparing for the possibility of the Russian leader leaving office.

“Regardless of what different analyses may indicate, I think what we need to do at NATO is to be prepared for all eventualities and when it comes to Ukraine, be prepared to continue to support them,” Stoltenberg said.

One consensus: It won’t be a clean transition, posing myriad dilemmas that could strain Western allies. How much can — and should — they influence the succession process? What should they do if a Russian republic breaks away? What relationship should they pursue with Putin’s successor?

“We should put aside any illusions that what happens next immediately is democracy,” said Laurie Bristow, a former British ambassador to Russia.

“What I think happens next,” he added, “is probably a time of troubles.”

For now, Putin is in a safe position. He still controls the state apparatus, and the military is executing his murderous orders in Ukraine.

But the Russian leader’s flailing invasion of Ukraine has diminished his position at home and deepened uncertainties over who would take over, and how.

“To manage a stable succession when the time comes — which will in Putin’s mind be a time of his choosing — then you need a high degree of elite consensus,” said Bristow, who served as the United Kingdom’s envoy in Moscow from 2016 until 2020.

“What they’ve done now is break that consensus,” he said, noting there is now more vying for power within the Kremlin.

That fighting could turn bloody once the Kremlin’s top job finally opens up.

Alexander Vershbow, a former senior U.S. and NATO official, said the most likely scenario was still a “smooth transition” within Putin’s current inner circle — but he conceded that toppling tyrants can beget turmoil.

“There could be internal instability,” he said, “and things become very unpredictable in authoritarian systems, in personalistic dictatorships.”

Bristow, the former British ambassador, warned Western powers to stay out of such succession fights: “I think we have to recognize the limits of our ability to influence these outcomes.”

Russia is sitting on the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, featuring thousands of warheads that can each inflict massive destruction, death and trauma on a population.

The arsenal has long been a source of Russian strength on the world stage and a dominant part of its global image — for years, the possibility of a Kremlin nuclear strike dominated the public imagination in the U.S. and elsewhere.

In a period of leadership uncertainty, that arsenal could become a coveted symbol of power. That would put focus on the Russian military’s nuclear protector, the 12th Main Directorate, or GUMO.

“There’s a real possibility,” said Alberque, “that there would be deadly competition — competition to include people trying to rally different parts of the military — particularly the 12th GUMO that controls Russia’s nuclear arsenal.”

Put simply, Russia is the largest country in the world, stretching across 11 time zones and climbing from the Caucasus to the Arctic.

While Putin may seem to hold a despotic grip on that entire expanse, there are a number of Russian republics with more tenuous connections to Moscow — and some with ambitious political figures. A power vacuum in a faraway capital could present an opening for local leaders to seize more control.

In the event of such factional fighting, all eyes will be on Ramzan Kadyrov, the brutal head of the Chechen Republic.

“Does he throw his weight behind a competing faction? Or does he say, ‘I’m good with a decade of massive Russian subsidies — now let’s break off, and I can probably rule Chechnya and Dagestan; I can have my own empire here’?” said Alberque, now a director at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine could also come back to haunt the Kremlin.

Vershbow, a former American ambassador to Russia, said there is a “low probability” of disintegration but noted that “ironically” Putin’s annexation of areas in eastern Ukraine “could be cited as a precedent by separatist leaders inside the Russian Federation, to say ‘borders are now up for grabs’.”

Once a new leadership team is in place, that’s when the most bedeviling policy debates will begin for Western governments. 

With Putin off the political stage, some officials — in particular in western Europe — may argue there is an opportunity to forge a fresh relationship with Moscow.

Inevitably, NATO’s eastern wing would deplore such overtures. They’d argue “Russia never changes,” Alberque said, and lean on allies to not recede from the more assertive NATO stance adopted since the war began.

Polish Minister for National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak made exactly that point to POLITICO.

“Russia in a version with Tsar as a leader was the same like Russia in a version with a secretary-general of Communist party as a leader, and now it’s the same as Vladimir Putin as a leader,” he said.

“What is important from our perspective,” he added, “is to isolate Russia.”

For now, there is no expected Putin successor. But officials say they are expecting a regime with a similar ideology — or one even more extreme.

Yet for all the assumptions that a cooperative Russia is far off, several current and former officials cautioned that western governments must combine deterrence with a longer-term effort to engage Russian civil society.

The Western alliance, said Bristow, must consider “how we reach out to Russian society beyond the Kremlin, to the next generation of Russian politicians, thinkers, intellectuals, teachers, businesspeople, to kind of spell out an alternative vision to the one they’ve got.”

“My sense,” he added, “is that quite a lot of people in Russia would like to do that.”

The Guardian: Greece and Turkey cannot decide whose naked men were found at the border

The discovery of 92 naked migrants on the border of Greece and Turkey over the weekend has prompted accusations of blame between the two countries and condemnation from the United Nations.

Greek police rescued the men who were discovered naked, some with injuries, close to the northern border with Turkey, police said on Saturday.

It was not clear how the men lost their clothes.

The migrants were first discovered close to the Evros river that marks the border between Greece and Turkey on Friday, Greek police said in a statement.

An investigation by Greek police and officials from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, found evidence that the migrants crossed the river into Greek territory in rubber dinghies from Turkey, police said.

The migrants reportedly told police and officers of Frontex that they had been forced by Turkish authorities to board three vehicles that took them to the border. The migrants testified that they had been forced to strip naked before boarding. The Guardian was not able to independently verify this.

“Turkey’s provocative behaviour exceeded all limits,” Greece’s ministry of asylum and migration said on Saturday.

Greece’s migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, on Saturday posted a confronting photo to his Twitter account, purportedly showing more than 20 naked men crouching in the open. Commenting, in Greek and English he tweeted:

“Turkey’s behaviour towards 92 migrants whom we rescued at the borders today is a shame for civilisation. We expect Ankara to investigate the incident and protect at last, its borders with the EU.”


Photo: twitter.com

Fahrettin Altun, the head of Turkey’s communications directorate and president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief spokesperson, described the allegations as “groundless and unfounded” in a series of tweets posted late on Sunday.

“The Greek machine of fake news is back at work,” he wrote.

“Greece once again showed the whole world that it does not even respect the dignity of these oppressed people, by publishing the photographs of the refugees it has deported, extorting their personal belongings,” he added.

The United Nations also responded by issuing a statement on Sunday, saying it was “deeply distressed” by the discovery of almost 100 naked men at the border between Greece and Turkey.

“We condemn such cruel and degrading treatment and call for a full investigation into this incident,” the UN refugee agency said.

Greece was on the frontline of a European migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, when around a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in the country, mainly via Turkey.

The number of arrivals has fallen since then, but Greek authorities said they had recently seen an increase in attempted arrivals through the Turkish land border and the Greek islands.

Turkey regularly accuses Greece of violently pushing back migrants entering the country through land and sea, while Greece accuses Turkey of “pushing forward” migrants to put pressure on the EU.

Greece has urged Turkey to respect a 2016 deal with the European Union in which Ankara agreed to contain the flow of migrants to Europe in exchange for billions of euros in aid.

Turkey says it has ramped up measures to prevent people smuggling.

Picked and squeezed for you: Irina Iakovleva