June 22nd – 26th

Monday, 22nd June 2015

GERMANY – Prominent Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour walked free from a Berlin prison on Monday, drawing a line under an awkward diplomatic incident for Germany two days after he was detained at Egypt’s request. Ahmed Mansour, one of Jazeera’s best-known journalists, was released after Egypt was unable to dispel concerns about the extradition process. (Reuters)

GREECE – The Greek prime minister will attempt today to drive a wedge between Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and her finance minister at a summit to decide whether Greece will be allowed to remain in the euro. Eurozone leaders meet after a weekend of diplomacy aimed at averting the collapse of Greek banks, default and the country’s exit from the euro amid divisions over how far to push Greece. (The Times)

SAUDI ARABIA – Revelations have been released on Friday by the group WikiLeaks. They contain enough detail to shed light on the diplomacy of a deeply private country and to embarrass Saudi officials and those who lobby them for financial aid. (The New York Times)

Tuesday, 23rd June 2015

ALGERIA – France, Spain and Portugal will seal an elusive political agreement early next week that is intended to increase exports of Algerian gas into Europe and further challenge Russia’s market dominance. The deal has been billed as a resolution to a long-running impasse around one of the EU’s most intractable energy bottlenecks: the Pyrenees. (Financial Times)

GREECE – Greece’s parliament will have only a few days to pass all the economic reforms pledged by Athens to unlock desperately needed bailout aid, putting intense pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to build domestic political support for the concessions. Berlin has insisted on full and immediate legislative approval of measures that may be agreed at a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday evening, even though officials now concede a deal may come too late for Athens to meet a €1.5bn debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund due on June 30. (Financial Times)

MEDITERRANEAN MIGRANTS CRISIS – The European Union launched a naval operation to deter people smugglers working off the coast of Libya, although the mission will be restricted to intelligence gathering and surveillance for now because of political constraints. (The Wall Street Journal)

PALESTINE – A United Nations Commission of Inquiry on last summer’s war in theGaza Strip – taking pains to be evenhanded – found that both Israel and Palestinian militants were responsible for violations of international law that could amount to war crimes. (The New York Times)

RUSSIAN CRISIS – Kremlin officials reacted furiously Monday to the European Union’s extension of sanctions on Russia through January, calling the measure self-defeating and accusing the West of crass anti-Russian bias by timing the decision to the nation’s commemoration of the Soviet victims of World War II. (The New York Times)


Wednesday, 24th June 2015

FRANCE – The French president, François Hollande, has describedrevelations that the U.S. spied on three successive French presidents as unacceptable and said Paris would not tolerate actions that threaten its security. The U.S. ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry for an explanation after WikiLeaks documents published late on Tuesday showed that the U.S. had bugged French leaders’ telephones. (The Guardian)

MEDITERRANEAN MIGRANTS CRISIS – Ships patrolling the Mediterranean have plucked more than 3,700 migrants from overcrowded and unsafe boats in the past two days, Italy’s Coast Guard said Tuesday. (The New York Times)

RUSSIAN CRISIS – The Pentagon is committing new military capabilities to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization task force that would stand up to Russian aggression, including surveillance functions, special-operations forces, artillery and air- and sea-based weaponry. (The Wall Street Journal)


Thursday, 25th June 2015

EUROPEAN UNION – The European Union said it would create a dedicated task force to handle “strategic issues” around Britain’s upcoming referendum on leaving the bloc, signaling the EU’s willingness to work with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron as he prepares to detail his plans for recovering legal powers from Brussels. (The Wall Street Journal)

GREECE – Alexis Tsipras will need to reshuffle his governing coalition if he suffers significant defections over a new bailout agreement, the head of Greece’s largest pro-EU protest party has warned. Stavros Theodorakis, leader of center-left To Potami, said he discussed the possibility of such a reshuffle with Mr. Tsipras during meetings last week, and predicted there would be “a lot of objections” from the prime minister’s far-left SYRIZA party when the measures are put to a vote. (Financial Times)

ISLAMIC STATE CRISIS – Islamic State fighters have launched simultaneous attacks against Syrian government and Kurdish militia forces, moving back onto the offensive after losing ground in recent days to Kurdish-led forces near the capital of their “caliphate”. (Reuters)

MEDITERRANEAN MIGRANTS CRISIS – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi rebuked fellow EU leaders on Thursday for failing to agree a plan to take in 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, saying they were not worthy of calling themselves Europeans. (Reuters)


Friday, 26th June 2015

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA – Islamic State has expanded its efforts to recruit fighters in Bosnia and incite terrorist attacks there, taking advantage of the world’s highest youth unemployment rate and chronic political paralysis. (The Guardian)

FRANCE – A man has reportedly been decapitated by suspected Isis supporters at a factory in France. The murdered man’s head was found attached to a wire mesh fence surrounded by two black flags linked to the terrorist group near the entrance to the factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, police said. (The Independent)

ISLAMIC STATE CRISIS – Jihadi militants launched an attack on Syria’s Kurdish border city of Kobani on Thursday, after Kurdish forces pushed into Syrian territory held by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or Isis, in recent days. Kurdish activists accused neighboring Turkey of facilitating the fighters’ entrance to the area after car bombs shook the frontier on Thursday. Turkish officials deny the claims. (Financial Times)

TUNISIA – At least 27 people have been killed after a hotel in the Tunisian coastal city of Sousse came under attack by unidentified gunmen. An interior ministry official said that tourists were among those who had been killed in Friday’s attack. (Al Jazeera)

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