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Massive US military strike on Syrian air base from which chemical weapons attack was launched

Russia 'furious' as US fires missiles on Syria

USS Porter Palm Beach/Moscow/Beirut, Apr. 7.─ Guided-missile destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross launched a massive strike operation agains Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean where the US Navy's Sixth Fleet is deployed.

The Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched on April 6 against a Syrian airbase from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched. This is the first direct US assault on the government of Bashar Al-Assad in six years of civil war. Trump ordered the step his predecessor Barack Obama never took: directly targeting the Syrian military for its suspected role in a posion gas attack that killed at leas 70 people.

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Can Europe be saved?

If it is to survive, the European Union must become a lot more flexible

Brussels, Mar.26.─ On March 25th 1957, with the shadow of the second world war still hanging over them, six European countries signed the founding treaty of a new sort of international club. The European Union, as the club came to be called, achieved success on a scale its founders could barely have imagined, not only underpinning peace on the continent but creating a single market as well as a single currency, and bringing into its fold ex-dictatorships to the south and ex-communist countries to the east, as it expanded from six members to 28. Yet even as today’s European leaders gather in Rome this weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary, they know their project is in big trouble.

The threats are both external and internal. Internally, the flaws that became glaringly evident in the euro crisis have yet to be fixed. Prolonged economic pain has contributed to a plunge in support for the EU. Populist, anti-European parties are attacking the EU’s very existence—not least in France, where Marine Le Pen is doing uncomfortably well in the presidential campaign, even if the National Front leader is unlikely to win in May. 

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Argentina ex-leader Cristina Fernandez to go on trial

A judge in Argentina has ruled that the former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, should stand trial on charges of financial mismanagement.  Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez

Buenos Aires, Marzo 23.─ Ms Fernandez, 64, is accused of fraudulently administering state funds in 2015.

The former economy minister, Axel Kiciloff, and the former head of the central bank have also been charged.

Ms Fernandez, who governed from 2007 to 2015, said the case was politically motivated.

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North Korea doubles nuclear capability

  • A site in the mountains near Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, is thought to be the North's main nuclear facility 
  • While there's some debate about North Korea's stockpile of nuclear materials, "you're looking at a few tens of warheads, but that number's going to keep going up every year," according to Jeffrey Lewis, the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk

March 22.─ North Korea has doubled the size of its facility for enriching uranium in recent years, says the UN’s top nuclear inspector, who voiced doubt that a diplomatic agreement can end leader Kim Jong-un’s weapons programs.

International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano described North Korea as rapidly advancing its capacity to produce nuclear weapons on two fronts: the production of plutonium at its Yongbyon nuclear facility and the enrichment of uranium.

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Poland fails by 27-1 to oust Donald Tusk as president of the European Council

The new government’s obsession with punishing the former Polish prime minister leaves it isolated in Europe  Donald Tusk

Warsaw, March 10.─ Donald Tusk appointment as president of the European Council in 2014 seemed to cap Poland’s journey to the heart of the European Union. Twenty-five years after the collapse of communism and a decade after Poland led the accession of eight former Soviet-bloc countries to the EU, its prime minister was elevated by his peers to one of the most senior posts in Brussels. It was hard to imagine a more potent sign of the healing of Europe’s post-war scars.

The job of council president, which involves chairing summits of European leaders and channelling their tempestuous debates into compromise, is a profound test of political nous. Not everyone was happy with Mr Tusk’s early performance; some thought he was operating more like the Polish prime minister he was from 2007-14 than the consensus-seeking European they sought. But most came around as Mr Tusk coolly shepherded the EU through a series of sticky situations, from a Greek bail-out to the refugee crisis to Brexit. His election to a second two-and-a-half-year term, due at an EU summit on March 9th, looked like a formality.

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