katerinasokou.2016Greece currently hosts some 60,000 asylum-seekers – 10,000 on just three islands: Lesbos, Chios and Kos. Most will have to spend the winter in Greece, as asylum to their desired, northern European destinations is slow to be granted. To be sure, the number of new arrivals has dropped significantly after the EU-Turkey agreement, with more migrants diverting to the precarious mid-Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy. Yannis Mouzalas, the Greek Deputy Minister for Migration Policy, says that since the signing on March 19, new arrivals average 70-100 daily, which “proves the importance of the agreement with Turkey.” Without the agreement, he estimated that there would have been as many as 180,000 people arriving in the Greek islands during the same period. Lately, however, Greek officials are watching nervously as the number of asylum-seekers in the Aegean islands is rising once again—up by 76% since the July 15 failed coup in Turkey.

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BrianBeary.new1
The decision by the European Commission to order tech giant Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland has brought unwanted attention to the country. It also closes the circle on a summer that began on a similarly unsettling note with the shock Brexit vote.

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BrianBeary.new1For his first overseas trip since the failed coup of July 15 that killed 246 people, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tellingly, chose Russia as his destination. Seated next to Erdogan in St. Petersburg on August 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin reassured him: “I was one of the first people who called you on the phone [after hearing of the coup attempt] and expressed my support.”

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bod.hunter2The Turkish military incursion into Syria is yet another chapter in the continuing tragedy for that country, for Syrians of all confessions and ethnicities, and indeed for most of the Middle East. Ankara is acting, it says, because of a threat from Kurdish fighters (which has a long history) and forces of the so-called Islamic State (a relatively new phenomenon). “Enough is enough,” Turkey seems to be saying. Unfortunately for just about everyone of good will, ample evidence of “enough” has not produced means for ending the Syrian bloodbath, finding a way out of the mess in the region and, in the process, preventing more damage farther afield.

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MichaelWhite2016A month after Britons surprised themselves and the world by narrowly voting - 52% to 48% - to abandon their safe harbor inside the European Union, the initially pyrotechnic response in all quarters has given way to a wary lull, as the protagonists in London and Brussels, Paris and Berlin, wait for someone else to make a significant first move to achieve Brexit - the promised UK departure after 43 years.

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