Archive for the ‘Eurasia’ Category

EU-Turkey relations [What Think Tanks are thinking]

June 17, 2015 Comments off

EU-Turkey relations [What Think Tanks are thinking]
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

Turkey’s ruling AKP party won the 7 June parliamentary election, but lost its majority in the house, opening the way for talks on a coalition government and plunging the country into uncertainty. The vote ended more than a decade of single-party rule in the EU candidate country and dealt a blow to President Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions for a more powerful executive role. It is expected to have many implications, including on EU-Turkey relations. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on recent developments in Turkey, and the relations between the EU and Turkey.

NATO Publics Blame Russia for Ukrainian Crisis, but Reluctant to Provide Military Aid

June 15, 2015 Comments off

NATO Publics Blame Russia for Ukrainian Crisis, but Reluctant to Provide Military Aid
Source: Pew Research Center

Publics of key member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) blame Russia for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Many also see Russia as a military threat to other neighboring states. But few support sending arms to Ukraine. Moreover, at least half of Germans, French and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia.

A median of 39% among NATO publics say Russia is the main culprit in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The pro-Russian separatists in Luhans’k and Donets’k (18%) are a distant second. Half say Russia is a major military threat to other neighboring nations. In response to the crisis, 70% among allied countries say Western countries should send economic aid to Ukraine. A majority (57%) also supports Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.

Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries and the European Union

June 3, 2015 Comments off

Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries and the European Union
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

An estimated 11.6% of the world cigarette market is illicit, representing more than 650 billion cigarettes a year and $40.5 billion in lost revenue (1). Illicit tobacco trade refers to any practice related to distributing, selling, or buying tobacco products that is prohibited by law, including tax evasion (sale of tobacco products without payment of applicable taxes), counterfeiting, disguising the origin of products, and smuggling (2). Illicit trade undermines tobacco prevention and control initiatives by increasing the accessibility and affordability of tobacco products, and reduces government tax revenue streams (2). The World Health Organization (WHO) Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, signed by 54 countries, provides tools for addressing illicit trade through a package of regulatory and governing principles (2). As of May 2015, only eight countries had ratified or acceded to the illicit trade protocol, with an additional 32 needed for it to become international law (i.e., legally binding) (3). Data from multiple international sources were analyzed to evaluate the 10 most commonly used approaches for addressing illicit trade and to summarize differences in implementation across select countries and the European Union (EU). Although the WHO illicit trade protocol defines shared global standards for addressing illicit trade, countries are guided by their own legal and enforcement frameworks, leading to a diversity of approaches employed across countries. Continued adoption of the methods outlined in the WHO illicit trade protocol might improve the global capacity to reduce illicit trade in tobacco products.

See also: Use of Tobacco Tax Stamps to Prevent and Reduce Illicit Tobacco Trade — United States, 2014

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About the Middle East and the Arab World

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About the Middle East and the Arab World (PDFs)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)


Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies
Source: Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

This project examines the rapidly changing landscape of online intermediary liability at the intersection of law, technology, norms, and markets, and is aimed at informing and improving Internet policy-making globally. It is a first output of a larger initiative on the governance of online intermediaries and represents a globally coordinated, independent academic research project by the Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers (NoC) consisting of a case study series exploring online intermediary liability frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and a synthesis paper.

EU — Technology And Education: Opportunities And Side-Effects

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Technology And Education: Opportunities And Side-Effects
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Technology arouses great expectations as far as its impact on learning and teaching is concerned; yet to date these are only partially satisfied. Although there has been huge public investment and progress has been made, the pace of integration of technology in education is slower than expected. This may be due to the fact that evidence of its benefits remains elusive. The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) study on Teaching and learning technology options, spotlights technology options for education in Europe, presenting both the opportunities and the risks involved. Lead Panel Member for the study is Paul RÜBIG, Chair of the STOA Panel.

Education technology encompasses a wide range of tools, services and methodologies that, when used correctly and in combination, help develop the potential of the education environment. The study identifies four underlying trends affecting this environment. Firstly, enabling technologies improve broadband internet access for European households and schools, thus promoting full and fair access to online educational resources. Secondly, cloud technologies, allow delivery of on-demand services through the network by third parties, encouraging information and content sharing, and collaborative working environments. Thirdly, mobile devices facilitate a more dynamic and user-friendly use of technology by shifting the focus from fixed connectivity, based on shared personal computers, towards mobile and multimedia personal connectivity. Lastly, technical support is a core issue for the long-term availability of technological improvements, which require constant maintenance.

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army

April 13, 2015 Comments off

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army
Source: RAND Corporation

Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine have sparked widespread concern among Western policymakers that Russia has embarked on a confrontational national security policy that could have far-reaching implications for Russia’s relations with the United States and for European stability. The annexation of Crimea challenges two basic assumptions underlying U.S. policy toward Europe in the post–Cold War era: (1) that Europe is essentially stable and secure, thereby freeing the United States to focus greater attention on other areas, particularly Asia and the Middle East, and (2) that Russia had become more of a partner than an adversary. The annexation of Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine suggests that both these assumptions need to be revisited because Russia can hardly be viewed as a partner. The requirement that NATO may now have to build a much more robust deterrence and defense posture in Eastern Europe would require the Army and the Air Force to revisit their planning assumptions that have minimized U.S. military commitments to the region since the end of the Cold War.


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