Posts published in June 2019

NATO releases report on defence spending 2012-2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

NATO has released its defence spending figures for the period between 2012 and 2019 and it will make unhappy reading for some, including the Trump Administration. In 2019 only seven members of the alliance are estimated to have met the NATO objective of spending two percent of GDP on defence. These include the US, Greece, Estonia, the UK, Romania, Poland and Latvia. Although there has been an effort by other…

Seven countries’ defense ministers, chiefs to mark JEF anniversary in Klaipeda

Friday, June 28, 2019

Defense ministers and chiefs of defense of seven NATO member states are meeting in Klaipeda on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). The force is led by the United Kingdom and its partner nations are Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Sweden. The meeting will take place aboard the HMS Albion, the British Royal Navy flagship that is currently leading the…

Estonia would back US leaving Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Friday, June 28, 2019

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa) has confirmed that the allies in NATO will back the United States’ leaving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty should Russia not change its course before Aug. 2. The United States find that Russia has violated the INF treaty by introducing an updated version of its RK-55 missile, given the NATO reporting name SSC-8. This missile, according to NATO, violates range restrictions set out…

Trump to Putin: ‘Don’t meddle in the election’

Friday, June 28, 2019

With a smirk and a finger point, President Donald Trump dryly told Russia’s Vladimir Putin “Don’t meddle in the election” in their first meeting since the special counsel concluded that Russia extensively interfered with the 2016 campaign. The tone of the president’s comment, which came after a reporter asked if he would warn Putin, was immediately open to interpretation. But it would seem to do little to silence questions about…

Latvian Saeima’s committee refuses to reduce excise tax for beer

Thursday, June 27, 2019

On Thursday, 27 June, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee decided to not support the proposal to reduce excise tax for beer. With the expected reduction of excise tax for strong alcohol, the proposal to reduce excise tax for beer was submitted separately by three sides – Latvia’s Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards, Saeima deputy Armands Krauze and non-party deputies Aldis Gobzems, Didzis Šmits, Jūlija Stepaņenko, Linda Liepiņa and Karina Sprūde. Politicians…

Iran and climate change – top international issues on U.S. Democratic debate

Thursday, June 27, 2019

As the U.S. Democratic Party seeks to nominate its presidential candidate, the first televised debate has been held, where Iran and action again climate change have been the top foreign policy issues. The debate of Wednesday, June 26, included New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and popular female candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is leading the polls at the moment. Iran nuclear deal German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that only…

Lawyer says Lithuanian woman stole steak from Aldi ‘because of Brexit’

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A LAWYER representing a Lithuanian woman who stole packets of steak from Aldi told a court that Brexit was indirectly responsible for her crimes. Blackburn Magistrates Court heard Olga Jankovskaja had repeatedly stolen from shops to fund her drugs habit. But defending his client, barrister Mark Williams said the mother-of-one was unable to claim benefits until she had secured UK citizenship ‘post Brexit’. He told a district judge that although…

Italy’s ‘cannabis light’ creates buzz even if the pot won’t

By Colleen Barry on Thursday, June 27, 2019

It’s been called the Italian “green gold rush.” Mild, barely there marijuana dubbed “cannabis light” has put Italy on the international weed map, producing hundreds of stores that sell pot by the pouch and attention from investors banking the legalization of stronger stuff will follow. The flourishing retail industry around cannabis light – weed so non-buzzy, it’s essentially the decaf coffee of marijuana – surfaced as an unintended by-product of…

Estonia should leave Council of Europe, says EKRE chairman

Thursday, June 27, 2019

After the decision of the council’s parliamentary assembly (PACE) on Tuesday to restore Russia’s voting rights, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) sees no reason why Estonia should spend taxpayer money on contributions to the Council of Europe. Helme, who is also chairman of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), told media on Thursday that the council has “clearly given defending the principles of the rule of law.”…

Heatwave in Central Europe breaks temperature records for June

Thursday, June 27, 2019

With heat rising this week in Central Europe, the June heat records have been broken in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic as with more records forecast to come in the coming days. British public broadcaster BBC reports that on Wednesday, June 26, Coschen in Brandenburg peaked at 38.6C, which is a new German record for June. Radzyn in Poland and Doksany in the Czech Republic also recorded new national…