Saturday, March 25, 2017

Troubled EU Seeks Unity On 60th Birthday, Sign Rome Declaration, French City Lille On Lockdown, Senior Hamas Militant Assassinated In Gaza

Troubled EU seeks unity on 60th birthday

European Union leaders renewed their vows at a special summit in Rome on Saturday, celebrating the bloc’s 60th anniversary with a commitment to a common future without Britain.

With the EU facing crises including migration, a moribund economy, terrorism and populism, as well as Brexit, EU President Donald Tusk called for leadership to shore up the bloc.

“Prove today that you are the leaders of Europe, that you can care for this great legacy we inherited from the heroes of European integration 60 years ago,” Tusk said in a speech.

The Rome Declaration that the leaders signed proclaims that “Europe is our common future”, and sets out the path for the next decade in a rapidly changing world.

“It is it a bit of a tighter squeeze in the room today” than when the original six states signed up, joked Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni after welcoming the leaders to the Renaissance-era Palazzo dei Conservatori for a ceremony long on pomp and short on real politics.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker also insisted the EU could ride out recent storms.
“Daunting as they are, the challenges we face today are in no way comparable to those faced by the founding fathers,” he said, recalling how the new Europe was built from the ashes of World War II.
“We are standing on the shoulders of giants,” Juncker said, voicing confidence that the EU would still be around to celebrate its 100th birthday.

The leaders of the 27 EU member states that will remain in the bloc after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, signed on Saturday the Rome Declaration on the achievements, challenges and priorities of the post-Brexit European Union.

The declaration is the main outcome of the Rome Summit, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations of the European Union back in 1957. The leaders express their desire to respond to the challenges together and also set priorities for the future: security and safety, prosperity and economic growth, social policy and strong positions on the global scene.

The leaders of the 27 EU member states claimed to seek even greater unity and solidarity as the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges, in the Rome Declaration signed on Saturday.

"The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges, both global and domestic: regional conflicts, terrorism, growing migratory pressures, protectionism and social and economic inequalities… We will make the European Union stronger and more resilient, through even greater unity and solidarity amongst us and the respect of common rules," the declaration read.

The European Union plans to strengthen its positions on the international arena, creating new ties and promoting stability in the neighboring regions "to the east and south," EU leaders said in the Rome Declaration signed on Saturday.

"We commit to the Rome Agenda, and pledge to work towards… a Union further developing existing partnerships, building new ones and promoting stability and prosperity in its immediate neighbourhood to the east and south, but also in the Middle East and across Africa and globally," the declaration read.

The European Union vows to stay committed to strengthening its common security and defense, including in collaboration with NATO, EU leaders said in the Rome Declaration signed on Saturday.
"[The European] Union committed to strengthening its common security and defence, also in cooperation and complementarity with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, taking into account national circumstances and legal commitments," the declaration read.
The declaration is the main outcome of the Rome Summit, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations of the European Union back in 1957.

The French city of Lille is on lockdown after three people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been shot and injured near the Porte’d’Arras metro station in the southern part of the city.

According to local media, one of the injuries is life-threatening, while the other two are not. Armed police have now sealed the area and are surveilling the city.
Whether the attack is terror related is currently unknown, although local police have claimed it was gang related.
“The attack was in place Jacques Febvrier, next to the Porte d’Arras metro station. Officers remain at the scene,” a police spokesperson said. “Those hurt have been taken to the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul hospital. None of the injuries are life threatening.”
“A car pulled up outside the station and targeted the three youths hurt. It appears this was a settling of scores,” he continued.
The incident comes at a time when Europe is on high alert, after an Islamist attack in London killed four innocent people and injured 50, with two people still in critical condition.

A DRIVE-BY shooting in central Lille has left three wounded after a hooded gunman opened fire outside a train station.
The shooter has reportedly fled the scene leaving several victims – including a schoolboy – with gunshot wounds.

Armed police have now sealed off all roads leading into the city centre as they try to contain the situation and catch the gunman.
French reports say there were several shots fired near the Porte d’Arras metro station at around 9.50pm.
It’s said a 14-year-old boy had been shot in leg and at least two others youths had been injured.
Two of the wounded were found at the scene, while the third made their way to a nearby hospital.
Those injured are said to have been shot several times, reports respected French news site La Voix Du Nord.

Senior Hamas militant Mazen Fukaha was assassinated in the Gaza Strip on Friday, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in the small coastal enclave said. 

“The martyr Mazen Fukaha was shot in the head, leading to his death,” Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Twitter.

The deadly incident took place in front of Fukaha’s home in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in the southern half of Gaza City. 

The parties behind the assassination are unknown, the Hamas-backed Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that the local security services opened an investigation. 

Hamas, however, officially accused Israel of carrying out the assassination. 

“Hamas and its fighting brigades place the full responsibility for this reprehensible crime on the Israeli occupation and its collaborators,” Hamas said in an official statement. 

Hamas also threatened possible retaliation for Fukaha’s assassination. 

“The occupation knows that the blood of those struggling in the way of God will not be wasted,” Hamas stated. “Hamas knows how to deal with these crimes.”

The Ezzeldin Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, said it will exact revenge for Fukaha’s assassination. 

“We will make the enemy regret the day that he thought it could begin [to carry out assassinations],” the Qassam Brigades said in an official statement. “We swear to God, our Muslim nation, and our people that the enemy will pay a price for this crime that is equal in size to the assassination of our martyr leader [Mazin Fukaha]. He who plays with fire will be burned by it.”

Israeli officials did not immediately comment on the deadly incident.  

Fukaha, who was born and raised in Tubas, was a senior militant in Qassam Brigades in the West Bank, which carried out a number of suicide bombing attacks against Israel during the second intifada. 

China warned the United States Thursday that a bomber aircraft illegally flew in Chinese airspace in the East China Sea. The pilots and the Pentagon rejected China’s message, insisting that they were conducting routine operations in international airspace.
The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft had entered the controversial Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which covers disputed waters between Japan and South Korea, and was not recognized by the U.S. and Japan when it was declared by China in November 2013. At the time, then-Secretary of State John Kerry said that it was an “escalatory action,” which “will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident.”
The pilots Thursday responded to the call from Chinese air traffic controllers by saying they had not deviated from their original flight path, U.S. Pacific Air Forces spokesman Maj. Phil Ventura told CNN. Ventura added that the U.S. had not changed its position on the status of the air defense zone.


Gary said...

Hi Scott:
I noticed that Michael Mickey gave a comment in the very first blog in 2008. You probably know that he use to have "Rapture Alert." Like your blog, I read it religiously, and looked forward to it everyday. And then one day there weren't any new updates. I hope that he is well.

Scott said...

Mike is a great guy and i loved his site. He relocated and maybe retired - but i had the pleasure of meeting him and he's the real deal