to deter the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime . Over the next three days, Kerry will meet with European Union and Arab leaders in Lithuania, France and the United Kingdom. Military planning is already underway to define the type of armed support provided by other countries in a proposed joint U.S.-France operation, according to a senior State Department official traveling with Kerry. Congressional leaders quiet on looming Syria vote The secretary of state, who has been the Obama administration’s most visible and vocal supporter of intervention , will detail the military options and U.S. aid for some moderate rebels who are fighting on the ground. Kerry faces the diplomatic challenge of persuading some of the 28 member states of the E.U. and some reluctant Arab ministers to do more than publicly condemn Assad and the “friends” who provide military aid, which include Russia, Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah. Kerry is in Lithuania to meet with a group of E.U. defense and foreign ministers as the country currently holds the presidency of the European Union. Coverage of the Syria crisis While Kerry campaigns abroad, the administration will try to court congressional votes to approve a limited military strike to degrade Assad’s ability to launch another chemical attack. The August 21 sarin gas assault on the Damascus suburbs killed between 1,400-1,500 people per American and French intelligence reports. In a series of hearings this week, three of the president’s top national security advisers explained that unlike the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, this narrowly defined action would not commit the U.S. to a war nor commits American troops.
Sweden lashes out at Russian “economic warfare” in east Europe
Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Best of Europe: Top countries for driving, biking, more Chelsea Bengier, Jetsetter.com 8:03 a.m. EDT September 4, 2013 With its modern highways and spectacular shoreline, Spain is Europe’s best country for road travel. (Photo: Courtesy Jetsetter) SHARE 47 CONNECT 51 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE From cruising the Cantabrian corniche to biking Bordeaux vineyards, here’s a rundown of Europe’s best countries by transportation type: Best by road: Spain Home to the fifth largest highway network in the world (and plenty of pit stops to stock up on picnic produce like Jamon Iberico, tortilla and manchego cheese), Spain is a top choice for a European road trip. From the Bay of Biscay, take the Basque circuit and wind through craggy mountain passes, rolling foothills and sandy coastline. The loop begins in Bilbao, home to the Frank Gehrydesigned Guggenheim Museum, and heads south towards Vitoria and Pamplona. Drive through foodie hot spot San Sebastian and finish the five-hour jaunt by cruising west along the Cantabrian corniche back to Bilbao. To spin through the lush countryside, the route from Santander to Costa del Sol is a peaceful drive across rolling golden hills. Madrid is an ideal halfway point before continuing down to Granada (or avoid the capital and head west through Salamanca and Seville). Most of the roads along the 10-hour trip are toll-free motorways, which makes for a cheap joyride. Best by rail: Switzerland Switzerland is tops for rail travel. (Photo: Courtesy Jetsetter) Switzerland’s efficient rail network cuts through rugged Alpine landscapes, steep gorges and misty waterfalls. It also happens to be one of the easiest public transport systems to use: Signage and announcements are in English and the range of good value Swiss travel passes eliminates the need to fuss around with individual tickets (most passes offer free admission to museums too). The Golden Pass line from Lucerne to Interlaken chugs around emerald lakes and charming Swiss chalets; board the glass-topped panoramic train for the best views.
Europe drafts law to ban mobile roaming charges
Europe manufacturing activity expands faster Well-recognized by analysts as an indicator of manufacturing activity, Markitas final Eurozone manufacturing PMI (purchasing managersa index) rose from 50.30 in July to 51.50 in August. The consecutive increase at levels above 50 suggests Europe is in the midst of a sustainable recovery that begun last year.AFigures above 50 signal expansion, while those below 50 suggest contraction. The further away the index is from 50, the stronger the expansion or contraction. Among the three large European economies (Germany, Italy, and France), Germany and Italy registered higher PMI figures in August from July. France, on the other hand, stood unchanged and below 50, suggesting country-specific factors were hammering recovery. New orders, export business, and production all accelerated to the fastest pace since May 2011, Markit commented. A weak and uneven recovery Since recovering from 44 in July of 2012, as money printing alleviated the risk of a Euro collapse, EU nations have had a wobbly recovery. It wasnat like the recovery people saw back in 2009, when governments worldwide announced stimulus programs and eased monetary policy. A higher euro, due to the diminishing probability that the euro will collapse, had made European products more expensive, and austerity measures (dragged by fiscal deficits and debts) slowed the recovery process. Positive influence on dry bulk shippers The recent trend in PMI for Europe has been encouraging and should have a positive effect on Chinaas trade. Indeed, Chinaas August new export PMI rose from 49.0 in July to 50.2 in August. Investors should know that the majority of dry bulk demand growth is driven by China.
Obama, In Europe, Still Pursuing Syria Support
“What we have seen during the past few weeks is brutal Russian pressure against the partnership countries of a sort that we haven’t seen in Europe for a very long time,” Bildt told reporters. He was referring to an EU policy of establishing closer links with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and supporting democratic reforms in the east, called the “Eastern Partnership”. There was no immediate Russian comment. But Moscow sees former Soviet states as part of its own strategic sphere of influence, and has set up a customs union and urged them to join it. Europe views countries in the east as an important energy conduit and wants to see democratic reforms take root in the region. It has never promised EU membership for countries in the region, but spends hundreds of millions of euros on aid. TARGETING NEIGHBOURS Bildt said Russia had exerted “extremely heavy pressure” on Armenia to persuade the government in Yerevan to join the customs union led by its old Soviet master, and that Moscow had also tried to intimidate Moldova. “I see they have been threatening Moldova with a cut-off in gas supplies as well as a cut-off in wine exports. This is economic warfare they are threatening against these countries.” Moldova’s leaders hit back this week after a Russian envoy warned the tiny former Soviet republic that its pro-Europe policy could bring retaliatory action from Moscow, saying they would not change course. The Black Sea state of 3.5 million people is heavily in debt to Moscow for cheap gas imports that help keep its economy afloat. The EU made no joint statements on the issue during the first day of the two-day foreign ministers’ meeting in Vilnius, where the agenda included Europe’s response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria as well as policy towards the east. But several ministers other than Bildt expressed similar concerns, saying Russia should not view EU policies on its eastern borders as a threat. “You can have good relations with Russia and still be part of the European family …
Best of Europe: Top countries for driving, biking, more
The alliances will have to cover at least 85 per cent of the European population and 21 member states. Kroes has described roaming charges as a acash cowa for operators and aa disproportionate irritant for travellersa. She aims to boost Europeas digital competitiveness with proposals for a single telecoms market which are scheduled to be endorsed by the commission on Sept 11. Member states will meet next month to discuss the plan, which will also need approval by the European parliament. A recent draft of the 93-page document promises to aguarantee common high levels of consumer protection across the union, including measures to gradually end mobile roaming surchargesa. As well as tackling call costs, the commission will use a swath of measures to create a single telecoms market. There had been suggestions that powers could be taken away from national watchdogs such as Ofcom and handed to Brussels. Other new measures include open internet safeguards to stop broadband companies blocking legal but competing websites and services such as Skype, and plans to harmonise mobile spectrum sales across the region. This is intended to avoid a repeat of the piecemeal 4G allocation. The commission began forcing operators to cut roaming costs last year. Many charge customers extra even when they are making calls on a local network owned by the same company as their domestic network. While Europeans cannot unknowingly run up a bill larger than EUR50 (GBP42) while abroad, roaming charges are still many times higher than domestic call costs and will remain so without further legislation. Kroes is proposing that companies which phase out roaming from July 2014 will face lighter-touch regulation.
People who are innocent are employed in conflict. It is of a greater magnitude because if terrorists get ahold of those weapons, if other dictators get ahold of those weapons, they can be used on a massive scale.” John Boehner “We have enemies around the world that need to understand that we’re not going to tolerate this type of behavior.” John McCain “I am against delaying reaction to what is a massacre of a thousand people,” McCain said. “You saw these pictures of these dead children. Come on. This is horrific. We can’t stand by and watch this happen.” John Kerry “This is what Assad did to his own people,” Kerry said. If the U.S. allowed “a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad” to get away with gassing his own people, he added, “there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will.” Rand Paul “I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians, and all of a sudden we’ll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted,” Paul said. Sarah Palin “As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who cant recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ at each other, then let Allah sort it out,” Palin continued. Ted Cruz We should be focused on defending the United States of America. Thats why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as Al Qaedas air force. Barack Obama “This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.