Saturday, 24 March 2018
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Scores of Russian diplomats set to be expelled after EU leaders agree Russia 'highly likely' to have carried out Salisbury attack

Added: 24.03.2018 10:05 | 0 views | 0 comments

Scores of Russian diplomats look set to be expelled from European capitals as ten EU countries indicated they were preparing to follow Theresa May's lead in the wake of the Salisbury attacks. France, Poland, Ireland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Estonia and the Netherlands are all in discussions about deporting suspected spies after Theresa May shared intelligence about the nerve agent attack at a meeting of the European Council. Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has also hinted that she may be prepared to go beyond merely rebuking Vladimir Putin, and the EU recalled its ambassador to Moscow overnight in a show of solidarity with Mrs May. Throwing their weight behind the Prime Minister, the 27 leaders of the European Council said it was “highly likely” that the Kremlin was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Responding to the announcement on Friday, Moscow accused the UK of leading the European Union towards an "anti-Russia campaign".  In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said the only explanation was that European leaders "wanted to help the British Prime Minister out of a difficult situation". It came as Markus Ederer, the EU ambassador, was recalled from Moscow on Thursday night to consult with Brussels over the EU’s response to the attack, while a number of EU member states said they were poised to announce expulsions of Russian diplomats. While Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the move was a "measure" rather a "sanction" against Russia, the decision paves the way for further retaliatory action against the Kremlin which could see its European spy network dismantled within a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, a convoy of vehicles left the British Embassy in Moscow on Friday morning ahead of a Russian deadline for 23 diplomats to leave the country. A convoy of vehicles leaves the British embassy in Moscow on Friday morning Credit: Pavel Golovkin /AP Russia said it was expelling the diplomats last Saturday in a carefully-calibrated retaliatory move against London, which has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating the nerve toxin attack. On Friday morning, staff were seen embracing colleagues as vehicles were being readied on the grounds of the British embassy. Members of the British embassy staff gather at its compound in Moscow on Friday morning Credit: TATYANA MAKEYEVA /Reuters Leaving a dinner with European leaders on Thursday night, Mrs May said the Council was “standing together” against the growing threat posed by the Putin regime. "I welcome the fact that the EU Council has agreed with the United Kingdom Government's assessment that it is highly likely that Russia is responsible for the attempted murder that took place on the streets of Salisbury and that there is no plausible alternative explanation,” she added. "The threat that Russia poses respects no borders and it is a threat to our values and it is right that here in the EU Council we are standing together to uphold those values." On Friday morning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on a visit to Hanoi that the UK is "feverishly trying to force allies to take confrontational steps". Theresa May left a dinner with European leaders late on Thursday night  It came after five EU countries indicated they are prepared to follow Theresa May’s lead by expelling diplomats suspected of espionage. France, Poland, Lithuania and at least two other countries are understood to be in discussions about co-ordinated expulsions of Russian Embassy officials in the wake of the Salisbury poisonings. On Friday, Latvia said it would expel "one or several" Russian diplomats. The Czech prime minister Andrej Babis said it was "probable" his country would follow suit, with a decision to be made on Monday. Estonia is understood to be taking action. Irish PM Leo Varadkar said Ireland would conduct a security assessment of Russian diplomats, which could lead to expulsions.  It comes as Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said leaders of the 28 EU states agreed that Russia is likely behind the attack.  At a dinner with other EU leaders in Brussels, Mrs May warned her allies that Russia represents a “long term” threat to each of them and urged them to consider taking action either individually or as a bloc. #EUCO agrees with UK government that highly likely Russia is responsible for #SalisburyAttack and that there is no other plausible explanation.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 22, 2018 Following a meeting between Mrs May, the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French officials hinted that the country was prepared to act. Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel agreed on the importance of sending "a strong European message" to Russia. Dalia Grybauskaite, president of Lithuania, confirmed she was contemplating the deportation of Russians, and Poland’s deputy foreign minister Bartosz Cichocki told The Telegraph his country was prepared to act unilaterally in expelling Russians if it encouraged others to take steps against Moscow. The development is a huge victory for Theresa May Credit: WOLFGANG RATTAY/REUTERS EU leaders made a joint statement on Thursday night agreeing they stood in "unqualified solidarity" with the UK in a big victory for Mrs May. In a joint statement, they said: "The European Council condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent attack in Salisbury, expresses its deepest sympathies to all whose lives have been threatened and lends its support to the ongoing investigation. "It agrees with the United Kingdom Government's assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. We stand in unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this grave challenge to our shared security. "The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons under any circumstances, is completely unacceptable, must be systematically and rigorously condemned and constitutes a security threat to us all. "Member states will co-ordinate on the consequences to be drawn in the light of the answers provided by the Russian authorities. The European Union will remain closely focused on this issue and its implications. "Against this background, the European Union must strengthen its resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks, including through closer cooperation between the European Union and its member states as well as Nato. "The European Union and its member states should also continue to bolster their capabilities to address hybrid threats, including in the areas of cyber, strategic communication and counter-intelligence. The European Council invites the European Commission and the High Representative to take this work forward and report on progress by the June European Council."

Fashion Designer New York

Added: 24.03.2018 10:01 | 0 views | 0 comments After your last success at the Paris Fashion Show, you were recommended by the top European designers to work here in New York! Pick the design studio you would like to work for and put together three complete outfits for the fashion show.


Readers write: Winning recipe, Kindle for a train ride, prepping for the State of the Union, measuring progress

Added: 24.03.2018 10:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

Regarding the Jan. 22 Home Forum essay, “Stealth parenting”: I tried writer Teresa Exner’s cranberry-almond muffin recipe, and it is wonderful and easy. Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test? Regarding the Feb. 19 books article “Europe, what are you reading?”: I’ve spent many happy hours reading on European trains, and in the past 10 years, I have used a Kindle.

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Turkey slams EU statement on Greece, Cyprus before key summit

Added: 24.03.2018 9:59 | 0 views | 0 comments

Ankara slams European Council for backing Athens and Nicosia over Turkish arrest of Greek troops and Cyprus gas dispute.

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From Final Fantasy 12 to Uncharted 3: exploring gaming's Orientalist fantasies

Added: 24.03.2018 8:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

Over the last couple of months I've been falling in love all over again with Final Fantasy XII. I know I'm late to the Zodiac Age party, but I've been marvelling at how much this game has come into its own since its original release back in 2006. Certainly the remaster's smoothing-off of the original's (literal) rough edges helps, but I'm not the first to observe that it feels a bit like gaming has caught up with some of its ideas that weren't fully appreciated at the time like its distinctive automated battles. Or maybe it's just that I'm in a different place in my life, and FF12's peculiarly hands-off approach to monster hunting fits so much better into what a 30-something wants after a day at work than it did the long holidays of a student with time on his hands.
Its idiosyncratic systems are what FF12 is best known for, but they're not the only thing that's distinctive about it. Let's talk about that setting and art direction. Where most other fantasy RPGs go for worlds drawn from the European middle ages and Tolkienesque clichés of elves, dwarves and orcs, FF12 instead bases its convoluted adventure in a land inspired by the Near and Middle East. It doesn't map straightforwardly on to any particular real-world counterpart, but all the tropes and stereotypes of a magical, fantastical East are there, particularly in its early portions. It's filled with bazaars and deserts, nomads and wadis, billowing silk trousers and men smoking hookahs.
The developers visited the east Mediterranean to gather inspiration - especially Turkey - and have also mentioned India as a source of ideas. So we have the starting kingdom of Dalmasca and its echoes of Damascus, while the dialogue in the floating city of Bhujerba is seasoned with a liberal helping of Sanskrit.

EU backs Britain as it prepares steps against Russia in spy attack

Added: 24.03.2018 5:06 | 0 views | 0 comments

European Union member states have agreed to take further measures against Russia after saying it was 'highly likely' Moscow was behind a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

EU leaders blast Turkey's actions in Mediterranean

Added: 24.03.2018 5:06 | 0 views | 0 comments

European leaders are on Thursday set to strongly condemn Turkey's "illegal actions" toward Greece and Cyprus in a blistering denunciation that could upend an EU-Turkish summit in Bulgaria next week. The statement by the 28 European Union member states meeting in Brussels comes after Turkey's arrest of two Greek soldiers, and its promise to prevent the internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government from exploring for oil and gas. "The European Council strongly condemns Turkey's continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and underlines its full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece," the draft conclusions said.

Rebel watchmakers shake up Swiss tradition

Added: 24.03.2018 3:03 | 0 views | 0 comments

As a 101-year-old watch fair in a historic European city, it's little surprise that Baselworld is defined by a sense of heritage. But as the world's celebrated watchmakers show off their centuries-old legacies, a cohort of independent Swiss brands is using the fair to attract a new generation of customers.

Tags: Europes, Swiss
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Ronaldo is a goal – Santos hails Portugal star

Added: 24.03.2018 1:50 | 0 views | 0 comments

Portugal coach Fernando Santos praised Cristiano Ronaldo and his team's determination after its dramatic friendly win over Egypt. Ronaldo scored twice in additional time after Mohamed Salah's second-half opener for Egypt to lead the European champions to a 2-1 victory in Zurich Friday. The brace took Ronaldo onto 81 international goals, trailing only Ali Daei (109 for [...]


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