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Vladimir Putin Decrees That Russian Military Deaths Are Now A State Secret

Putin Smirk

If a Russian solider dies, it’s now a secret thanks to a new decree signed by the Russian President.

Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Vote In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

Ireland Marriage Referendum

Voters in Ireland have overwhelmingly approved a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ukraine Heads Down The Authoritarian Road With New Restrictions On Speech

Ukraine Flag

Disturbing developments on the part of the Ukrainian government.

What Went Wrong With The Polls In The British Election?

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Pollsters on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to figure out why the polls released right up until the eve of the British General Election were so wrong. Here’s one theory, and it’s very compelling.

David Cameron To Propose Broad Expansion Of Powers To Crackdown On ‘Extremism’

David Cameron

Fresh off an election victory, British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to propose a series of new measures to crackdown on extremism that raise serious civil liberties concerns.

Irish Voters To Vote On Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage On May 22nd

Gay Marriage Wedding Cake Two Women

In just over a week, Ireland seems set to become the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage via referendum: DUBLIN — In less than two weeks, the Republic of Ireland could become the first country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry thanks to a popular vote, boosting the marriage-equality […]

The British General Election And The Future Of The United Kingdom

British Houses Of Parliament

With the election behind him, David Cameron’s biggest problems may be yet to come.

European Commission Plan Would Require All E.U. Members To Accept Migrants

European Union Flag

A plan to distribute migrants from the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa across the entire European Union seems destined to cause political conflict.

Jim Messina Beats David Axelrod In British Election Battle

David Axelrod Jim Messina

The just-concluded British General Election was also a clash between two former top advisers to President Obama.

David Cameron And Britain’s Conservative Party Score A Surprising Win

David Cameron

After weeks of polls predicting a political stalemate or worse, British voters delivered a strong win for David Cameron and the Tories.

Germans Restrict Cooperation With The U.S. On Intelligence

Obama Merkel

Largely in reaction to revelations about N,S.A. surveillance, Germany has cut back on its intelligence cooperation with the United States.

As Great Britain Heads To The Polls, Uncertainty Reigns

British Flag

The political outlook in the United Kingdom is as uncertain as it has ever been.

The Most Important Person In British Politics May Be Someone Who Isn’t On The Ballot

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, could hold the key to the future of Britain in her hands after the election ends on May 7th.

Headline of the Day (UK Elections Edition)

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Via The Telegraph:  Student loses trousers while taking selfie with Nick Clegg. Video at the link.

UK Poll Tracker

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House of Commons elections are set for May 7th.  Here is the Economist‘s poll tracker:  click.

Denmark Terror Attacks and Machine-Gun Censorship

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Yet another attack on religious freedom in Europe.

Minsk Talks Result In Ukrainian Cease Fire Agreement

Minsk Leaders Photo

A cease fire deal in Ukraine, but a long term settlement will require compromises from both Moscow and Kiev.

Syriza Wins Greek Elections

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The anti-“austerity” party Syriza has won a commanding victory in Greece’s parliamentary elections: Greece’s far-left Syriza party, which seeks to renegotiate Greece’s loan deals with Europe’s central authorities, won the largest share of seats in the Hellenic Parliament in historic elections Sunday, capturing 35.5 percent to 39.5 percent share according to exit polling. Syriza’s victory […]

John Kerry Outsources American Foreign Policy To James Taylor

John Kerry JJames Taylor

With some still criticizing the Administration for not sending a higher-ranking officials to Sunday’s unity rally in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry decided it might be a good idea to stop by Paris on the way home from India. And, to show our French friends that America stands beside them in the fight against […]

Terror Attack Kills 11 at French Satirical Newspaper Charlie Hebdo

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At least 11 are dead and 10 wounded in an attack on free expression.

Chart of the Day

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This is from the iPhone story, but it deserves its own post:

Rubles and iPhones

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Via the BBC:  Rouble turmoil leads to Apple halting online sales in Russia Technology giant Apple says it cannot sell products online in Russia because the rouble’s value is too volatile for it to set prices. The company stopped sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in the country after a day in which […]

Russia’s Economic Problems Just Getting More Grim By The Day

Putin Smirk

For a year that started out with regaining long-lost territory in Ukraine, 2014 is not ending so well for Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Russian Government Projects Sanctions, Declining Oil Prices, Will Lead To Recession In 2015

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin travels in Russia's first high speed train Sapsan in Leningrad Region

Russia’s own government is projecting that its economy will slip into recession next year. How that will impact Putin’s current belligerence remains to be seen.

German Public Backs Sanctions Against Russia Even If They Hurt Germany

German Russian Flags

A new poll finds that a majority of Germans support sanctions against Russia, even if those sanctions end up hurting the German economy.

Black Friday Hits Britain And Other Parts Of Europe

Black Friday Britain

Black Friday chaos has crossed the pond.

Merkel Lashes Out Against Russia In Post G-20 Remarks

Angela Merkel Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin’s latest actions seems to have exhausted Germany’s patience.

Russian Troops Have Entered Ukraine Again, NATO Says

Russia Ukraine Flags

The Ukraine crisis, which never really went away, is back,

Darth Vader Running For Parliament In Ukraine

Darth Vader Ukraine

Among the candidates in today’s parliamentary elections in Ukraine is a Dark Lord of the Sith: One candidate in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections hopes to bring voters to the dark side: Darth Alekseyevich Vader. Dressed in full Star Wars regalia, Vader prowls the streets of Kiev atop his black campaign van wooing voters with promises to […]

More Good Ebola News

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Via the BBC we find that : 1)  Nigeria has been declared Ebola free Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a "spectacular success story". Nigeria won praise […]

Germany Promises Expanded Military Role But Its Military Isn’t Ready

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Germany’s new defense minister has promised a more robust role but lacks the ability to back her words with action.

After all, the Queen is a Dog Person

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Via the BBC:  David Cameron to apologise to Queen over ‘purred’ remark Speaking in New York, Mr Cameron told Mr Bloomberg he had phoned the Queen to tell her the result. “She purred down the line,” he said. “I’ve never heard someone so happy.”

Let the Games Begin! (Institutional Reform Edition)

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Now on to solving the complex puzzle of the post-referendum UK.

Catalonia Secession Movement Moves Forward

People hold "estelada" flags, Catalan separatist flags, during a gathering to mark the Calatalonia day "Diada" in central Barcelona

Despite seeing the effort fail in Scotland, Catalans say they intend to move forward with their own independence effort.

Scots Reject Independence, But The United Kingdom May Never Be The Same

Scotland and UK flags

The United Kingdom will stay united, but it may never be the same again.

Today in Comparative Ballots (“Independence or not” Edition)

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One of these ballots is legit. The others, not so much.

Final Election Eve Poll In Scotland Finds ‘No’ Leading By Six Points

UK and Scottish flags

As this post is being written, voters in Scotland have been heading to the polls for roughly seven hours, and polls will remain open until 10pm local time, or 5pm U.S. Eastern time. By all accounts, turnout is expected to be quite high, and neither side is claiming that they are assured of victory. However, […]

Why Did England Allow This Vote?

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The thought they’d win big and silence the Scottish separatists. They were wrong.

On Eve Of Vote, Anti-Independence Forces Have Slight Lead In Scotland

Scotland and UK flags

It’s all over but the voting in Scotland.

Some Observations on the Scotland Independence Referendum

UK and Scottish flags

Thoughts on the Scottish referendum (and on the issue of thresholds and decision-making).

Obama’s Anti-ISIS Coalition Seems To Exist Only In His Mind

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Despite the President’s assurances of an international coalition, the rest of the world doesn’t seem all that interested in joining the fight.

Scottish Independence Becoming More Likely?

Scotland and UK flags

With just nine days to go, it’s anyone’s guess how the Scottish Independence vote will turn out.

Denmark’s Bestiality Brothels?!

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Bestiality and prostitution are legal in Denmark. And not just separately.

Russia Has Invaded Ukraine

Russia Ukraine Flags

A major escalation.

UK Poorer Than All US States Except Mississippi

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Alabamians like to exclaim, “Thank God for Mississippi.” Perhaps it’s time for that slogan to cross the Pond.

Well, Everybody Makes Mistakes…

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Via the BBC:  Captured Russian troops ‘in Ukraine by accident’

Russia’s Sanctions Against The West Are Hurting Russians More Than The West

Vladimir Putin Russian Flag

Russia’s retaliatory sanctions against the West are  is having an impact on the average Russian’s food budget: Russia’s embargo on imported Western food is hitting its own people, as food prices in Moscow shops have jumped by up to 6% in just a week. Moscow officials say frozen fish prices in the capital’s major supermarkets have […]

Germany Ready To Take A Harder Line Toward Russia Over Ukraine?

German Russian Flags

The New York Times’ Alison Smale notes that the Ukraine crisis seems to be finally causing the Germans to reconsider their country’s relationship with Russia: BERLIN — Over recent months, something significant has happened in Europe: In the crisis over Ukraine, Germany has assumed leadership not just in its familiar fashion of trying to coax Russia […]

Scottish Independence Losing In The Polls

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If recent polling is to be believed, the bid for Scottish independence is going to go down in flames.

NATO: “High Probability” Russia Will Invade Ukraine

Russia Ukraine Flags

The rebels in eastern Ukraine continue to suffer setbacks, and Russia is massing troops on the border again.

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