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Daily Brief: EU Summit Begins as Tensions Flare Over Brexit, Migration


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. December 14, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA EU Summit Begins as Tensions Flare Over Brexit, Migration European leaders are gathering in Brussels on Thursday (DW) for the final EU summit of 2017, with migration, defense, and Britain's exit from the bloc set to dominate the agenda. The UK parliament delivered an unexpected blow to Prime Minister Theresa May (NYT) shortly before the summit, voting to require that any final Brexit deal she negotiates be submitted to lawmakers for approval. European Council President Donald Tusk said a divorce agreement for Britain will be ratified at the summit on Friday (FT). Tusk also said a quota scheme introduced in 2015 to resettle migrants across Europe (DW) has been "highly divisive," a position the EU migration commissioner called "anti-European."  ANALYSIS "It is looking like a 'soft Brexit'. No other final position sits comfortably within the three points of an EU27-UK agreed text, the European Parliament, and the UK parliament," David Allen Green writes for the Financial Times. "In a Europe used to divisions along political, geographic, and economic lines, [Brexit negotiations have] been a rare show of togetherness. But they may soon start reverting to type as governments express differences of opinion over what type of trade deal to grant the UK," Ian Wishart, Lyubov Pronina, and Andra Timu write for Bloomberg. "Confronting the intra-societal challenge to the European project will not be easy. It is a deep, generational problem that goes to the heart of national identity, history, and geography," Mark Leonard writes for Project Syndicate. PACIFIC RIM Thousands Killed in First Month of Myanmar Crackdown, Aid Group Says More than 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in the first month of a government crackdown (Al Jazeera) in Rakhine State that started in late August, according to the medical charity Doctors Without Borders. The total greatly exceeds an earlier death toll (Guardian) of six hundred for that period. CFR's Alyssa Ayres looks at the world's fastest-growing humanitarian crisis. JAPAN: An alcohol ban and curfew imposed last month on U.S. troops (Military Times) in Japan was lifted on Wednesday. The measures came after a man in Okinawa was killed in a car accident involving a U.S. marine Japanese police said was intoxicated. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Pakistan Expels Dozens of Foreign NGOs Pakistan has ordered twenty-nine foreign NGOs to leave the country within sixty days (FT); no official reason was given for the order. Islamabad expelled the aid organization Save the Children in 2012 after accusing it of being complicit in a 2011 U.S. operation that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil.  KAZAKHSTAN: The mining company ArcelorMittal Temirtau has filed a lawsuit against hundreds of striking workers (RFE/RL) who have refused to surface from its mines since Monday as they demand higher wages. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Pence Postpones Trip to Israel U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has postponed an upcoming visit to Israel amid growing protests over the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital (Haaretz). The Palestinian Authority said it is "no longer coordinating" with Pence and the city of Bethlehem announced it will not accept the vice president. This CFR Backgrounder looks at what's at stake with the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem. SYRIA: A significant portion of weapons supplied by Western and Gulf nations to rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad have instead ended up in the hands of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (VOA), according to a new study by a UK-based weapons-tracking organization. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Zimbabwe Orders Farm Occupiers to Vacate The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power after a military coup last month, has ordered illegal settlers on farms to vacate the land (Reuters). Mnangagwa has vowed to compensate white farmers whose land was seized under ousted President Robert Mugabe. ETHIOPIA: The U.S. State Department said it is "troubled" by recent reports that fifteen people believed to be protesters were killed by state security forces (Africa News) in the restive Oromia region. EUROPE Irish Lawmakers Seek to Repeal Abortion Ban A parliamentary committee in Ireland has recommended repealing the country's constitutional ban on abortion (NYT). Terminating a pregnancy is currently banned there even in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother's life is at risk. AMERICAS Ecuadorian VP Sentenced for Odebrecht Corruption Vice President Jorge Glas has received a six-year prison sentence for taking $13.5 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for government contracts. Glas is the highest-ranking political figure to be sentenced (BBC) in ongoing investigations of Odebrecht. VENEZUELA: A Utah man jailed in Venezuela since June of last year will stand trial on charges of illegally possessing firearms (Miami Herald). The man, a Mormon missionary, traveled to Caracas to marry his girlfriend, a Venezuelan. This CFR Backgrounder looks at Venezuela's humanitarian and political crisis. UNITED STATES Torture Goes On at Guantanamo, UN Expert Says The UN special rapporteur on torture has called on the United States to end the use of torture at the Guantanamo Bay military prison camp after saying one detainee was subjected to treatment banned under international law (Middle East Eye). The U.S. Defense Department denied the charge. U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has accused Turkey, a NATO ally, of spreading extremist ideology "everywhere from western Africa to Southeast Asia." Turkey's foreign ministry said the statement was "astonishing" (VOA) and called on the United States to cease support for Kurdish fighters it views as terrorists.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: December 14, 2017 at 11:03PM