Scholz and Macron discuss ‘how to make the EU strong’
New German chancellor Olaf Scholz has met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in his first mission abroad, declaring later that they “discussed how to go back to making Europe strong” and explaining that Franco-German relations “will continue to develop positively”. Answering a question about the Stability Pact, the Chancellor said that “maintaining the growth” generated by European funds for recovery was a priority, without however losing sight of the need to “continue to work on the solidity of our finances”. In addition, Scholz said he looked “with concern” at the current situation on the Ukrainian border: “The inviolability of Europe’s borders is a crucial principle for peace,” he added.Macron congratulated Scholz on his election, speaking of “solid foundations” regarding the collaboration between France and Germany.
Stoltenberg urges Russia to return to diplomacy
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Germany had “a leading role in keeping NATO strong in a dangerous world” and called on Russia to return to diplomacy. “Any further aggression will have heavy costs,” he said in a ‘tweet’ at the end of a meeting with Chancellor Scholz. Stoltenbergsaid, “NATO’s relationship with Ukraine can only be determined between the 30 members of the Alliance and Ukraine itself, and by no other. We cannot accept that Russia re-establishes a system in which the great powers can control what other countries do or do not”.
Assange’s extradition draws heavy criticism
Reversing a previous ruling, the London High Court has given the green light to the extradition to the United States of Julien Assange, the co-founder of Wikileaks who will be tried for espionage. Thedecision overturns the first-degree sentence of British justice which last January denied the extradition of Assange due to the risk of suicide. The case against the 49-year-old journalist and activist refers to Wikileaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as diplomatic dispatches, in 2010 and 2011. It now depends on the Secretary of Statewhether Assange would be extradited.
The ruling, which represents a severe blow to the co-founder of Wikileaks and all his supporters, starting with his partner, Stella Moris, will be the subject “very soon” of an appeal by his lawyers. This was announced outside the courtroom by Moris herself, who called the sentence “dangerous and wrong” and “a great injustice”.
Amnesty International Director for Europe Nils Muiznieks branded the decision as a “parody of justice”.
For Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), “this is an absolutely shameful development for journalism and press freedom around the world”.
Harsh criticism also came from Russia which called the decision of the London High Court “shameful”.
US inflation at 6.8%
President Biden has acknowledged that inflation was affecting people’s lives in the US at an annual rate the highest in a decade. The Consumer Price Index for November rose to 6.8%, overtaking a 6.2% increase in October, which was the fastest gain in 31 years. Biden sought to reassure Americans that rises in energy costs and other key goods were starting to ease.
US Capitol rioter flees to Belarus
A California man charged with assaulting police in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol and using a metal barricade as a battering ram has fled the United States and is believed to have taken refuge in Belarus, federal prosecutors said yesterday. Evan Neumann, 49, was indicted yesterday on 14 criminal counts stemming from the deadly Capitol siege by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. According to an account published by The Daily Beast, Neumann told Belarusian state television he was seeking political asylum in Belarus because the United States, in his opinion, was no longer a country of law and order.
Monkees singer and guitarist dead at 78
The Monkees singer and guitarist Michael Nesmith has died of “natural causes”. He was 78. He wrote many of the band’s most popular tunes, including ‘Mary, Mary’, ‘Listen to the Band’ and ‘The Girl I Knew Somewhere’. Along with vocalist Davy Jones, drummer Micky Dolenz and bassist Peter Tork, Nesmith recorded some of the decade’s most enduring songs, including “I’m A Believer”, “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train To Clarksville”.
Chess: Magnus Carlsen still king
The Norwegian Grand Master Magnus Carlsen confirmed himself as the undisputed king of chess, after he won his fifth consecutive world title by registering a fourth victory over the Russian challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi at the world tournament held in Dubai. Carlsen reached the title by winning the eleventh in a series of 14 games that began on November 24 in the Dubai Exhibition Centre of Expo. The tournament began with five draws, before the Norwegian won the longest match ever in a world championship, lasting nearly eight hours. Referred to as the “Mozart of chess”, Carlsen achieved the game’s highest rank, Grand Master, at the age of 13 in 2004 in Dubai. World number 1 in the points standings since 2010, the Norwegian won his first world title in 2013, and has held it ever since.