NEWS OF THE DAY
From Around the World
Ukraine tensions: Russia is building up its land forces and weapons along the border, Ukraine’s president said Saturday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia not to block Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine were still escalating a week after a naval clash in the Black Sea on Nov. 25 in which Russia fired on three Ukrainian naval ships then seized them and their 24 crew members. In response to the seizure, President Poroshenko persuaded the Ukrainian parliament to implement martial law in ten border regions. Speaking at a Ukrainian military event Saturday, Poroshenko said Russia has deployed “more than 80,000 troops” and equipment along their common border.
Romania celebration: Thousands turned out Saturday to celebrate 100 years since Romania became a modern-day state, amid concerns about the rule of law and the state of democracy. Romanians attended military parades in Bucharest and Alba Iulia, the Transylvanian city that symbolizes Romania’s 1918 reunification. The U.S. and the European Union are among those criticizing a judicial overhaul initiated by the ruling Social Democratic Party that they claim will undermine the fight against government corruption.
Spain emissions: Madrid has activated an antipollution order that significantly restricts private vehicles in the city center. The much-debated plan establishes a low-emission zone in the heart of the Spanish capital. Vehicles manufactured before 2000 and diesel ones registered prior to 2006 are banned from the area. Only public buses, taxis, residents and some professional vehicles are exempt. Electric, zero-emission cars are allowed in.
Mafia sweep: Italian police have launched an operation targeting the country’s “fourth Mafia,” arresting 30 suspects. The national organized crime prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, said the Foggia-based figures operated extortion rackets and used violence to control their territory in southeastern Italy. He added that, unlike Italy’s three wellknown crime syndicates — Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, the Naples-area Camorra and the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta — which in recent years have cut back on killings to gain power, the Foggia mafiosi are resorting to violence to bolster their influence.
Germany protest: Thousands marched in Berlin on Saturday to demand that Germany stop using coal-fired energy, a day before a U.N. climate summit opens in neighboring Poland. The march in Berlin and a simultaneous event in Cologne were organized by environmental groups. The summit opening Sunday in the Polish city of Katowice seeks to build on the landmark 2015 Paris accord, when countries agreed to try to limit global warming. German officials had hoped to present a blueprint for phasing out Germany’s use of coal over the coming decades. But an expert committee postponed its report until after the U.N. conference.
Brexit politics: The latest minister to quit British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government because of Brexit said Saturday that her compromise agreement would leave Britain outnumbered and outmaneuvered in future negotiations with the European Union. Ex-Universities and Science Minister Sam Gyimah likened the agreement to playing soccer against opponents who “are the referee and they make the rules as well.” May is battling to persuade British lawmakers to back the agreement when Parliament votes on it Dec. 11. But many oppose the pact.