Author: Nick Robins-Early

Italy’s Prime Minister Renzi To Resign On Friday

ROME, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will hand in his resignation on Friday, a parliamentary source said, as President Sergio Mattarella seeks to slow the pace of an unfolding political crisis. Renzi vowed to resign in the early hours of Monday after a bruising referendum loss, but Mattarella, whose powers include naming prime ministers and dissolving parliament, asked him to stay on until the 2017 budget passes. On Wednesday parliament approved the spending package in a confidence vote, clearing the way for the premier to step down. The reason Renzi’s resignation has been pushed back until Friday was unclear. Mattarella wants parliament to draft a new electoral law before any ballot is held, a source close to the president said on Tuesday, a move likely to delay any vote until spring. Italy is not due to hold a parliamentary election before 2018 but there is growing consensus among party leaders to go to the polls a year early. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, head of a small center-right group, said the vote should take place in February. Meanwhile, Italy is still looking for a way to prop up its debt-laden banks, especially struggling Monte dei Paschi di Siena, its third-biggest lender, which may require government involvement. Two sources told Reuters on Tuesday that the government was preparing to take a 2-billion-euro ($2.15-billion) controlling stake in Monte...

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How To Recognize A Fake News Story

If you’ve been looking at Facebook lately, you may have seen that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump, a town in Texas was quarantined due to a deadly disease and Germany just approved child marriage. To be clear, none of these events really happened ― but that didn’t stop news of them from spreading like a virus. Fake news articles ― especially throughout this election year ― have increasingly become a fixture on social media. These posts, designed to deceive, run rampant across the internet. Only later, if ever, do readers discover that the stories they shared may have been false. The publication of blatantly inaccurate stories is certainly not new to the digital age, or even the analog era ― just check your local supermarket aisle for tabloids ― but what is new is how easy it is for a reader to scan a headline on Facebook, hit share and watch his 500 followers do the same. In the final three months before the election, 20 top-performing fake news stories on Facebook outperformed 20 top-performing factual stories from 19 major media outlets in terms of engagement, according to a BuzzFeed study published last week. As it stands, there are few checks and balances to prevent any outlet from posting an article that is made up of false facts. In the coming months social media platforms will need to address many broader questions, including...

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Angela Merkel Will Seek Fourth Term As German Chancellor

BERLIN, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Angela Merkel announced on Sunday she wants to run for a fourth term as German chancellor in next year’s election, a sign of stability after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president. Despite a voter backlash over her open-door migrant policy, the 62-year old conservative said she would stand again in the September election, ending months of speculation over her decision. “I thought about this for an endlessly long time. The decision (to run) for a fourth term is – after 11 years in office – anything but trivial,” Merkel told a news conference after a meeting of senior members of her conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) party convened to prepare for the election. Some 55 percent of Germans want Merkel, Germany’s eighth chancellor since World War Two, to serve a fourth term, with 39 percent against, an Emnid poll showed on Sunday, highlighting that despite setbacks, she is still an electoral asset. Merkel has steered Europe’s biggest economy through the financial crisis and euro zone debt crisis and has won respect internationally, for example with her efforts to help solve the conflict in Ukraine. U.S. President Barack Obama last week described her as an “outstanding” ally. With Trump’s victory in the United States and the rise in support for right-wing parties in several...

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Syrian Regime Forces And Allies Advance Towards Aleppo

BEIRUT, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Syrian government and allied forces have advanced towards Aleppo, pursuing their week-old offensive to take the rebel-held part of the city after dozens of overnight air strikes. The Syrian army told the insurgents to leave their positions, offering safe passage and aid supplies. Syrian forces supported by Iranian-backed militias and Russian air power began their push to take the whole of the divided city after a ceasefire collapsed last month. An air campaign by the Syrian government and its allies has been reinforced by a ground offensive against the besieged eastern half of Aleppo, where insurgents have been holding out. Hospitals have been badly hit in the assault, medics say. While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone to discuss normalization of the situation, Britain said the bombing of hospitals by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad made it impossible talk about peace. “It is the continuing savagery of the Assad regime against the people of Aleppo and the complicity of the Russians in committing what are patently war crimes – bombing hospitals, when they know they are hospitals and nothing but hospitals – that is making it impossible for peace negotiations to resume,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian military said on Sunday that...

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Turkey Pushes Farther Into Syria As Monitor Says Villagers Killed

Turkish armoured personnel carriers drive towards the border in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas KARKAMIS, Turkey, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Turkey’s army and its allies thrust deeper into Syria on Sunday, seizing territory controlled by Kurdish-aligned forces on the fifth day of a cross-border campaign that a monitoring group said had killed at least 35 villagers. Turkish warplanes roared into northern Syria at daybreak and its artillery pounded what security sources said were sites held by Kurdish YPG militia, after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fierce overnight fighting around two villages. Turkey’s military said 25 Kurdish militants were killed in its air strikes. There was no immediate comment from the YPG, but forces aligned with the Kurdish militia have said it withdrew from the area targeted by Turkey before the offensive. Turkey, which is also battling Kurdish insurgents on its own soil, sent tanks and troops into Syria on Wednesday to support its Syrian rebel allies. The Turkish-backed forces first seized the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants before pushing south into areas held by Kurdish-aligned militias. They have also moved west towards Islamic State areas. Turkish officials have openly stated that their goal in Syria is as much about ensuring Kurdish forces do not expand the territory they already control along Turkey’s...

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Recent ISIS Killings Spur Security Fears Of More Attacks To Come

LENNART PREISS VIA GETTY IMAGES The entrance of a music festival where a suicide bomber blew himself up on Sunday in Ansbach, Germany. As Islamic State militants continue to lose seized territory in Syria and Iraq, the group has claimed a number of deadly terror attacks in countries around the world over the past two months. There have been at least 14 attacks outside of Syria and Iraq since early June, when ISIS ramped up its campaign of killings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The nature of recent ISIS attacks has varied greatly. Some have been carried out with extensive planning and have a degree of connection to the group’s central operations structure. Other attackers have been inspired rather than directed by ISIS, sharing hastily filmed pledges of allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and giving the group the opportunity to claim their violence for its own propaganda purposes. But whether the killings have been directed (like the Paris attacks) or largely solitary acts (including the killing of 49 people at gay nightclub in Orlando), ISIS touts them as evidence of its ability to carry out global attacks. The rising frequency of these plots has led to security fears in a number of countries, as some analysts point toward a trend of ISIS increasingly attempting attacks abroad to compensate for its losses closer to home. “They’re...

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Turkey Reopening Incirlik Air Base To U.S. Planes After Coup Attempt

POOL NEW / REUTERS A service vehicle with a sign reading ‘Welcome to Incirlik’ is pictured at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, January 21, 2016. WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) – Turkey will reopen its Incirlik air base to U.S. planes, used to attack Islamic State, following an attempted coup, the Pentagon said on Sunday. “After close coordination with our Turkish allies, they have reopened their airspace to military aircraft. As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed,” a Pentagon statement said. Turkey, a major U.S. ally, has allowed the United States to use the air base in Incirlik to launch attacks against the militant group. Those air operations were temporarily halted following the coup attempt on Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he had spoken with Turkey’s foreign minister three times on Saturday. “They assure me that there will be no interruption of our counter-ISIL efforts,” Kerry said, using an acronym to refer to the Islamic State. Kerry said that the difficulty for U.S. planes accessing Incirlik may have been a result of planes flown in support of the coup using the air base to refuel. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Kerry was asked if Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan would use the coup attempt to seize more power. Kerry said such...

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Britain’s Major Political Parties Are In Disarray After Brexit

David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) – Britain’s two main parties were in open conflict on Sunday after a vote to leave the EU triggered an attempted “coup” in the main opposition Labour Party and a bitter leadership contest in the ruling Conservatives. Both parties are reeling from the referendum result, when British voters rejected the arguments of their leaders and decided to leave the European Union in a vote which underscored the deep divisions in the country. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will resign — prompting a fierce battle to replace him — and several Labour lawmakers quit the party’s top policy team to try to force their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, from office. It fell to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to describe events as “a vacuum of leadership.” “I look on at what’s happening in Westminster just now with a sense of utter despair on behalf of people across England and other parts of the UK as that vacuum of leadership both in the Tories and Labour develops,” Sturgeon told the BBC. She also suggested the Brexit vote could see the departure of Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU, in a second independence referendum which could lead to the collapse...

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