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As traditional parties stumble, Europe’s top job is up for grabs – Politico

 

As we entered the holiday period, the front-runners in the race for the European Commission presidency were France’s Michel Barnier and Finland’s Alexander Stubb — both high-profile members of the powerful European People’s Party (EPP).  But as the EPP nominations officially open this week, it’s the party’s leader in the European Parliament, Bavaria’s Manfred Weber, who is in pole position. With declarations of support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Weber has shaken up the race to replace Jean-Claude Juncker. There’s one big difference, however, between next year’s election and the last go-around. In 2014, the EPP and the Socialists entered a grand coalition and divvied up the top jobs between them. This time, not only is no party is expected to win more than 30 percent of the vote: no two parties are likely to win a combined 50 percent.

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EU’s autumn obstacle course – Politico

In European politics, it’s going to be a tough autumn. Sweden holds a national election Sunday in which the populist, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats have surged — a reminder for the EU establishment that far-right extremism is still gaining traction across the Continent. Just 10 days later, EU leaders will convene at a summit in Salzburg, Austria, to tackle the divisive issue of migration, just one of many possible train wrecks lying in wait for the bloc ahead of a European parliamentary election in May.

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I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration – New York Times

 

The New York Times took  the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. They said they have done so at the request of the author, who is a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to the paper and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. The New York Times published the essay anonymously because it felt it is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. This essay created serious discomfort to Trump, in a week which also saw excerpts from the book Fear leaked to the media.

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The internal resistance in the White House – Financial Times

The resistance to President Donald Trump began on the streets and now thrives in his office. “Adults in the room” stymie the president’s worst urges, a nameless official has written in the New York Times. In a book to be published next week, the reporter Bob Woodward describes a White House where aides snatch papers from their commander’s desk, lest he sign their reckless contents. Individuals as senior as John Kelly, the chief of staff, and Jim Mattis, the defence secretary, are said to hold the president in contempt.

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Could Idlib be the final battle of Syria’s 7-year war? – Euronews

Anticipation is mounting over Syria’s looming assault on the province of Idlib — the war-torn country’s last rebel stronghold. But why is the fight for Idlib so significant, what are the likely outcomes, and could it really be the last battle of Syria’s seven-year war? Euronews spoke to experts to find out.

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What to Know About the Russian Nationals Named in the Salisbury Novichok Poison Attack – TIME

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