european union

European Union court rules employers can ban Islamic headscarves in the workplace

  • A European Union court ruling on Tuesday is giving employers the green light to ban visible religious symbols in the workplace, including Islamic headscarves.
  • According to the Guardian, the ruling stipulates that in order to enforce such a policy, workplaces must have a blanket ban on religious symbols officially on the books — employers can’t simply tell an employee to remove their hijab, for example. Read more (3/14/17 7:21 AM)

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So far today:

- Austria’s far-right Freedom Party was defeated in the Presidential election.
- The Dakota Access Pipeline is dead in the water after being denied a crucial permit.
- Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s pro-EU neoliberal reforms are on course for a clear defeat at referendum.
- Birgitta Jónsdóttir, leader of the anarchist direct-democratic Pirate Party, has been asked to form a left-wing rainbow coalition to govern Iceland.

2016 is finally paying us back.

theguardian.com
Poland's political crisis: police use tear gas to clear parliament blockade
Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski left parliament in a convoy of cars after police forcefully removed protesters

Police is using force on protestors

https://twitter.com/Exen/status/809944416349724672

https://twitter.com/MichalSzczerba/status/809943059769200640

https://twitter.com/mycielski/status/809947070333382656

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February 7th 1992: Maastricht Treaty signed

On this day in 1992, the European Union was brought into being by the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. It was signed by the twelve member nations of the European Community -  a precursor to the EU. The treaty was named for the city in the Netherlands where it was drafted and signed. Maastricht became effective on November 1st 1993, and on that day the EU was formally established. It also provided for common security and foreign policy and gave the people of the signatory states European citizenship. Most importantly, Maastricht provided a blueprint for the later monetary union seen in the establishment of the common currency: the Euro. While the signing occurred without event, the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty was more contentious, with many states struggling to ratify it, including the British Parliament. Today, 25 years since the formation of the European Union, these contentions continue and its future is uncertain. The Euro is struggling financially, and, in 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

What the U.S. Gets for Defending Its Allies and Interests Abroad

By Max Fisher and Sergio Peçanha for The New York Times. January 16, 2017 [x]

President-elect Donald J. Trump has questioned the return that the United States gets for defending its allies. Here’s the current picture of what America puts in and gets out of global alliances.

Treaties with more than 30 countries help bring stability to the most economically and politically important regions for the United States.

Countries with mutual defense treaties with the United States, and trade in 2015 between the United States and major partners

More than 210,000 American military personnel are deployed overseas. Most are not in active conflict zones.

Countries with more than 1,000 American military personnel

EUROPE

The European Union is America’s top trading partner. Keeping Europe peaceful and unified has been a top United States priority since World War II.

What the United States puts in

→ Promise to defend NATO states

→ Deterrent against Russia

→ Sixth Fleet based in Naples, Italy

→ Military training and exercises

What the United States gets back

→ NATO states promise to defend the United States

→ $699 billion in trade with the European Union, America’s largest trade partner

→ Bases near Russia, the Middle East and Africa

→ Counterterrorism and intelligence sharing

→ Allies cover 34 percent of the United States’ basing costs, worth $2.5 billion annually

NORTHEAST ASIA

The United States keeps a large footprint in Asia to counter the influence of China and to support allies against North Korea.

What the United States puts in

→ Promise to defend South Korea and Japan

→ 28,500 military personnel in South Korea

→ 45,000 military personnel in Japan

→ Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan

→ Military training and exercises

What the United States gets back

→ Bases near China and North Korea, and allies against them

→ $194 billion in trade with Japan, the fifth-largest American trading partner

→ $115 billion in trade with South Korea, the sixth-largest American trading partner

→ Japan covers 75 percent of the United States’ basing costs there, worth $4.4 billion annually

→ South Korea covers 40 percent of the United States’ basing costs there, worth $843 million annually

SOUTHEAST ASIA

Thirty percent of global maritime trade runs through the South China Sea. The United States is competing with China to lead in that fast-growing market.

What the United States puts in

→ Promise to defend the Philippines and Australia

→ Military personnel fluctuate up to a few thousand

→ Military exercises in Thailand with several regional states

→ Freedom-of-movement exercises in the South China Sea

What the United States gets back

→ Basing rights in Singapore

→ Region friendlier to the United States and better able to unify against China

→ Protect South China Sea trade worth $5.3 trillion, about 30 percent of global maritime trade. Includes $1.2 trillion in trade with the United States

→ Philippines and Australia promise to defend the United States

PERSIAN GULF

In the Middle East, the United States wants to maintain access to oil and gas, and partners against terrorism and Iran.

What the United States puts in

→ About 28,000 military personnel in the Persian Gulf’s kingdoms

→ Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain

→ Pledge to defend free flow of oil and gas, known as the Carter Doctrine

→ Implicit promise to defend allies against Iran

What the United States gets back

→ Counterterrorism and intelligence-sharing against Islamist terrorists and Iran

→ Access to 34 percent of the world’s oil exports and 16 percent of natural gas exports

→ Allies cover 60 percent of the United States’ basing costs, worth $658 million annually

→ Bases near, and allies united against, Iran

Sources: United States Department of Defense; BP Statistical Review of World Energy; Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Note: United States cost-offsetting estimates for expenses to maintain a military presence in regions mentioned in this article are as of 2002, the last date for which data is available. Experts confirm that the numbers are still broadly representative.