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Donald Tusk Tells Migrants to Stay Away From Europe

Refugee crisis EuropeThe migrant crisis in Europe is heading towards disaster. With estimates of 16 million refugees fleeing the war in Syria and many hoping to make a new home in Europe, Donald Tusk has blatantly told economic migrants to stay away.

Do not come to Europe, Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country.

He made the statement at a news conference in Greece and shows how the systems that are in place to deal with refuges has been stretched to the limit. It would appear that the refugees have made reduced the tolerance for other migrants. The European Union in an effort to stem the tide of refugees have blocked passage from Greece. Thousands of refugees camped on the Greek/Macedonian border have been left with no chance of moving on into central Europe. This has lead to violent clashes in the camps.

Even though his speech was aimed at migrants rather than refugees It does signal a hardening of policy towards people moving out of the Middle East and Africa. Tusk also visited Turkey hoping to talk the authorities into doing more but with over 2 million refugees being accommodated in Turkey, there is little more Turkey can do. The Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu has reiterated the need to create a safe zone in Syria itself.

Greece is suffering from an economic meltdown and the added strain the refugee crisis is placing on the country could see it sink further into the quagmire. The Council of the European Union will be meeting on Monday to try and come up with solution to the crisis. Many Europe watches believe that at best they may deliver some stop gap measures to reduce the tide of refugees.

Spanish Taxi Drivers Block Central Madrid Protesting Uber

Taxi drivers protest against uber
Madrid cab driver protesting against Uber February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Over a thousand taxi drivers have blockaded the center of Madrid on Thursday. Letting off flares, firecrackers, smoke bombs and blowing horns.

They are protesting plans to allow companies like Uber and Cabify to compete in the market place.

Currently Uber is not allowed to operate in Spain but the Spanish authorities are considering opening up the taxi market to more competition. The legality of companies such as Uber are in question all around the world. One major hurdle being insurance for passengers within the car.

The regulatory body in Spain the CNMC is going to publish a non-binding recommendation sometime next week. They are expected to recommend that ride-handling apps be allowed to operate within Spain.

The taxi sector around the world tends to be a heavily regulated sector and in Spain it is no different . Which leaves Taxi drivers at a disadvantage. For apps like Uber to not completely destabilize the current status quo, a compromise will need to be made. In some parts of the world an “Uber tax” has been implemented to allow governments to grow a treasure chest that will help taxi drivers to transition into the new economy. Hopefully this will be part of the CNMC’s recommendations.

Russian Ruble falls to lowest rate for 2014 against the US Dollar

Russian Ruble drops against the US dollar
Image from Yahoo Finance

With the Annexation of The Crimea and with Russia taking an active role in the war in the Ukraine, world opinion of Putin’s Russia has rarely been lower. This was highlighted when the West came together in March to enforce sanctions on Russia. Since then there have been another two rounds which seem to be having a quicker than expected constrictive affect on the Russian economy.

Today the Ruble dropped by 13% against the greenback and the day hasn’t finished. It is in fact the lowest it has been in five years. Oil prices are dropping again and as the Russian economy is linked to energy prices this slump has magnified the power of the sanctions. The fear that Russia would shut off the gas supply to Europe this year hasn’t seemed to eventuate and the speculation is that Russia can’t afford to carry out the threat without a massively detrimental affect on it’s own economy.

The other rumor is that a shady deal between Russia’s state owned Rosneft and the central bank that was supposed to fool the smart money, didn’t. The deal would allow Rosneft to refinance itself out of foreign bank debt and into Russian banks but this now looks like it has backfired.

With oil prices looking like they will be trending down and OPEC saying they expect low prices for a while as well as that they’re not afraid of $40 a barrel oil. Russia could be in a spot of bother as the economy seems to be geared for approximately $80 a barrel. Russian’s must be looking at Putin and wondering is he really worth all the bother? It looks like 2015 is going to be an interesting year on the world stage.

Europe to sanction Sanction Rosneft, Gazprom Neft And Transneft.

Gazprom Rosneft TransneftFollowers of the Ukraine versus Russia war in Eastern Europe would be aware of the increase in rhetoric among NATO and other European nations, regarding the need for further sanctions against Russia. Europe watches will know that threats never extend to Russia’s big energy producing companies, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft And Transneft.  It appears this all about to change.

A marked escalation in the actions of Europe’s leaders is rumored to be unleashed this Friday the 12th of September 2014. You might want to mark this day in your diaries as it could end up being one of those days in history. If what Peter Spiegel tweeted is accurate then Europe and Russia are in for one very “interesting” winter. One that will be remembered for generations to come.

Peter Spiegel, the Brussels bureau chief of Financial Times has apparently seen a leaked copy of what is being proposed for the next round of sanctions for Russia over it’s involvement in the Ukraine war. Russia denies any involvement in the war but recent reports have Russian troops and combat vehicles actively participating in the fighting in Easter Ukraine. He tweeted:

 

This is an extremely bold move by the European heads. Winter is fast approaching and Russian gas has a major role to play in keeping Europe warm through those long cold European winter nights. It will also force Putin’s hand in having to announce retaliatory sanctions. This is not as easy at it seems, Russia relies on much of Europe’s food to keep it’s population fed during those even longer and colder Russian’ winter days and nights.

Ukraine War Map

Ukraine War Map

Map of the Ukraine War

Above is a map of the contested regions within Ukraine as of August 2014. This is the second in a series of maps about the war in the Ukraine. The first being about the downing of flight MH13 and where it happened. While we hope that all issues are worked and that the fighting stops, if it doesn’t we will continue to publish updated maps of where the war has spread to. If indeed it does spread.

The Ukraine is subdivided into 24 Oblasts (provinces), most of which have not seen any fighting or unrest. The Oblasts that have seen unrest are as follows :

  • The mauve province is the Crimea, which has already been annexed by Russia and is considered Russian territory, although this situation has not been recognized by most of the nations of the UN.
  • The green provinces have seen pro-Russian protests but relatively little or no fighting. These provinces are Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia.
  • The blue province is Kharkiv and this is a special region that has been occupied by the Regional State Administration or RSA. Effectively this equates to governor of Texas taking complete control of the state and not being beholden in anyway to Washington. This is a matter that still needs to be resolved.
  • The red provinces  of Donetsk and Luhansk are the ones that have seen the most intensive fighting. Thousands of people have been killed in these regions and there looks like no end to the hostilities, at least not in the near future. Donetsk is also the province that the ill-fated flight MH17 flying over when it was shot down by surface to air missiles.