From Around the World

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - 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.

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