“Conditions today are not met to deliver the Mistral,” the French finance minister has announced.
Michel Sapin’s comment echoes earlier statements from Paris concerning the sale to Russia of the two controversial warships.
On October 28, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian implied that a decision had yet to be made.
“If the political conditions do not change I can’t imagine the delivery being authorised. The French president will make his decision at the moment of delivery,” he said.
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A detailed analysis conducted by Germany’s federal intelligence service (BND) concluded that separatists near Donetsk were responsible for bringing down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the news magazine Spiegel reported on Sunday.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 while on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 passengers on board were killed, most of them Dutch nationals.
BND President Gerhard Schindler presented the agency’s findings, including satellite images and diverse photo evidence, to members of the parliamentary control committee responsible for monitoring the work of German intelligence on October 8.
According to Spiegel, the BND has intelligence suggesting that pro-Russian separatists captured a BUK air-defense missile system at a Ukrainian military base, and fired a missile on July 17 that exploded in the vicinity of the Malaysian aircraft.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops to withdraw to their permanent bases after military exercises in Rostov region near the border with Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported late on Saturday, citing Kremlin spokesman.
The troops pullout came before an expected meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Milan next week.
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Russian president had met his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.
Andrei Nechayev Interview: The Russian Economy Is in Big Trouble, and It’s Not Because of Western Sanctions.
You wouldn’t know it from the Chanel boutiques and Maserati dealerships lining the boulevards inside Moscow’s Garden Ring, but economic conditions in Russia are becoming dire. The ruble has weakened to record lows not seen since the 1990s, capital is bleeding out of the country for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, and the economy is projected to grow a piddling 0.5 percent this year.
You wouldn’t realize any of this from the statements of Russia’s president. At a forum last week, Vladimir Putin ensured investors that the country has enough reserves to implement all of its budget proposals, including an $80 billion increase in military spending next year. The president certainly seemed confident, telling investors that Russia’s “strategic course remains unchanged” and that he foresees “a country that is strong, flourishing, free, and open to the world.”
A much-anticipated facelift of the Eiffel Tower will be unveiled Monday with a new glass floor to dizzy the millions of tourists who flock to Paris’s best-known landmark every year.
Its owners hope the formerly dowdy and draughty first floor will become as big an attraction as the viewing platform on top of the 325-metre (1,070-foot) tower — the most visited paying monument in the world.
Visitors will be able to look down through a solid glass floor to the 57 square metres below, with transparent and eco-friendly pavilions built around the tower’s enormous central void.
To heighten the frisson of walking on air still further, the glass safety barriers around the edge have been inclined outwards.
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine advanced Wednesday on the government-held airport in Donetsk, pressing to seize the key transportation hub even as the two sides bargained over a troop pullout under a much-violated truce.
Fighting for the airport has raged for months as the insurgents have tried to dislodge the government forces using it to shell rebel positions in Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city. At least nine people were killed in the crossfire Wednesday in residential areas near the airport.
Civilian and military casualties have continued to rise in eastern Ukraine despite a cease-fire Sept. 5 and a second agreement Sept. 20 that spelled out how to create a buffer zone. While that helped to enforce the cease-fire in areas where Ukrainians troops and rebels chose to retreat, non-stop fighting has continued at the airport and other strategic locations.
U.S. troops and tanks will deploy across the three Baltic states and Poland in the next two weeks on a mission designed to deliver an unmistakeable message of NATO resolve to Moscow.
The “Ironhorse” armored cavalry unit, with around 700 soldiers, some 20 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks with Bradley and Stryker armored fighting vehicles, is one of the most formidable U.S. military forces to be sent onto former Soviet soil. Several of the bases and training areas it will operate from were built for the old Soviet Red Army.
The aim is to convince Moscow that - unlike in non-NATO Ukraine - any Russian interference in Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia would put it at war with the Western alliance.
Ethnic Serbs who claim a military consultant based in the United States trained and equipped Croatian forces to commit genocide during the breakup of Yugoslavia cannot sue in U.S. courts, a federal judge ruled.
In 2010, ethnic Serbians filed a class action in the federal court in Chicago on behalf of all Serbs residing in the Krajina region of Croatia in 1995.
MPRI, a military consulting firm run by former U.S. military officers, allegedly devised the battle plan, and trained and equipped Croatian forces for “Operation Storm,” the last major battle of the Croatian War of Independence.
More: Courthouse News Service
SARCELLES, France — From the immigrant enclaves of the Parisian suburbs to the drizzly bureaucratic city of Brussels to the industrial heartland of Germany, Europe’s old demon returned this summer. “Death to the Jews!” shouted protesters at pro-Palestinian rallies in Belgium and France. “Gas the Jews!” yelled marchers at a similar protest in Germany.
The ugly threats were surpassed by uglier violence. Four people were fatally shot in May at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. A Jewish-owned pharmacy in this Paris suburb was destroyed in July by youths protesting Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. A synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany, was attacked with firebombs. A Swedish Jew was beaten with iron pipes. The list goes on.
The scattered attacks have raised alarm about how Europe is changing and whether it remains a safe place for Jews. An increasing number of Jews, if still relatively modest in total, are now migrating to Israel. Others describe “no go” zones in Muslim districts of many European cities where Jews dare not travel.
But there is also concern about what some see as an insidious “softer” anti-Jewish bias, which they fear is creeping into the European mainstream and undermining the postwar consensus to root out anti-Semitism. Now the question is whether a subtle societal shift is occurring that has made anti-Jewish remarks or behavior more acceptable.
“The fear is that now things are blatantly being said openly, and no one is batting an eyelid,” said Jessica Frommer, 36, a secular Jew who works for a nonprofit organization in Brussels. “Modern Europe is based on stopping what happened in the Second World War. And now 70 years later, people standing near the European Parliament are shouting, ‘Death to Jews!’ “
This is not the Europe of 1938. French leaders have strongly condemned the violence. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany this month led a rally against anti-Semitism in Berlin at which she told Germans, “It is our national and civic duty to fight anti-Semitism.”
Europe has seen protests and outbursts of anti-Semitism whenever the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has erupted, and some analysts say this summer’s anger is a cyclical episode that like others will fade away. Some note that the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents this year in France, for instance, is well below some years in the 2000s.
Yet as European support for the Palestinian cause and criticism of Israel have hardened, many Jews describe a blurring of distinctions between being anti-Israel and being anti-Jew.
A bad year for nuclear power producers has Belgians and Britons shivering more vigorously as summer heat fades into fall. Multiple reactor shutdowns in both countries have heightened concern about the security of power supplies when demand spikes this winter.
In Belgium, rolling blackouts are already part of this winter’s forecast because three of the country’s largest reactors—reactors that normally provide one-quarter of Belgian electricity—are shut down.
Belgium’s troubles started brewing two years ago during inspections at the country’s seven nuclear reactors, all operated by Belgian utility Electrabel. Ultrasound inspection of the reactor pressure vessels at the utility’s Doel power station near Antwerp revealed previously unrecognized defects at its 1,000-megawatt reactor #3.