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Clegg backs calls to strip Russia of soccer World Cup

28 July, 2014 - 07:23

Russia should be stripped of the right to host the 2018 soccer World Cup unless President Vladimir Putin stops destabilising Ukraine, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Sunday (27 July), as he warned the world would look weak if it did not act.

Clegg, the most senior British politician to call for such action, said Putin's behaviour towards Ukraine was "beyond the pale" and had reached "a tipping point".

ECB backs Bundesbank call for higher German wages

28 July, 2014 - 07:07

The European Central Bank supports the Bundesbank in its appeals for higher wage deals in Germany, Der Spiegel magazine quoted ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet as saying on Sunday (27 July).

Low wage agreements were needed in some crisis-hit countries in the eurozone to bolster competitiveness, Praet said.

Organic farming has grown rapidly, says EU

28 July, 2014 - 06:58

The organic farming sector has grown rapidly over the past ten years, to about 500,000 new hectares every year, according to EU statistics.

Both the number of organic farm holdings and area grew by more than half between 2003 and 2010.

In 2011, the European Union had 9.6 million hectares of organic farming land. The year before, there were more than 186,000 of such farms registered across the then 27-country bloc.

Organic farming is defined as food production which has a minimal impact on the environment by operating as naturally as possible.

Commission needs to comply with promised launch of sustainable food communication

28 July, 2014 - 06:51

The promised launch of the Communication on Sustainable Food by the European Commission, initially planned for 2013, has once again been postponed. This is a significant set back for the much-needed reevaluation of Europe’s food system, write a group of NGOs.

This opinion piece was co-authored by Slow Food International, Compassion in World Farming and Friends of the Earth Europe.

INFOGRAPHIC: 700 million underage girls married in 2013

25 July, 2014 - 16:05

Although child marriage is prohibited by international law, over 700 million underage girls are married worldwide, particularly in Africa and Asia.

Beating AIDS worldwide, NGOs still alarmed

25 July, 2014 - 15:04

According to the UN, AIDS-related deaths and further infections are on the decline worldwide. However, NGOs worry that foreign aid will be cut because of the global economic crisis. EurActiv France reports.

Estonia, Baltic states stand to suffer most from Russia sanctions

25 July, 2014 - 11:20

In contrast to neighbouring Ukraine, strong governance makes Estonia less vulnerable to internal challenges to stability. Yet, potential economic sanctions on Russia could have a profound impact on the Baltic state too, writes Jan Hofmeyr.

Jan Hofmeyr heads the Policy and Analysis Unit of the Cape Town-based Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

The Baltic state of Estonia is one of the more inconspicuous members of the international community.

German politicians mull moving 2018 World Cup from Russia

25 July, 2014 - 10:04

Several senior German lawmakers have raised the possibility of stripping Russia of its right to host the 2018 World Cup. Germany's football association said it was very worried about events following the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine.

Western states have blamed pro-Russian separatists battling Kyiv's forces in eastern Ukraine for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17 in which 298 people were killed.

GSK seeks approval for world's first malaria vaccine

25 July, 2014 - 08:24

GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday (24 Jully) it is applying for regulatory approval for the world's first vaccine against malaria, designed for children in Africa.

The British drugmaker said the shot, called RTS,S, is intended exclusively for use outside the European Union but will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills more than 600,000 people a year, mainly babies in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Poroshenko calls for confidence vote and ‘emotions to cool down’

25 July, 2014 - 07:59

Ukrainian prime minister Areseny Yatsenyuk tendered his resignation yesterday (24 July), berating parliament for failing to pass legislation to take control over an increasingly precarious energy situation and to increase army financing.

Earlier yesterday, the nationalist party Svoboda and the Udar (Punch) party of former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko left the government coalition, forcing new elections to a parliament whose make-up has not changed since before the toppling of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich in February.

NATO to expand Polish base in response to Russian threat

25 July, 2014 - 07:55

General Philip Breedlove, NATO's top commander in Europe, has proposed that the Polish city of Szczecin expand its existing base to help the military alliance respond faster to any threat posed by Russia.

According to the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think-tank close to NATO, Britain and other NATO allies backing the general’s plans to place supplies — weapons, ammunition and ration packs — at a new headquarters in eastern Europe, to enable a sudden influx of thousands of NATO troops to be ready for action in the event of a crisis.

EU executive proposes 9-month delay to bank buffer plan

25 July, 2014 - 07:46

European Union rules forcing banks to hold a buffer of cash and top quality debt to withstand market shocks will be delayed by nine months, the bloc's executive body has proposed.

The so-called liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) is part of a global deal known as Basel III to beef up banks' resilience so they do not have to rely on taxpayers again as they did in the 2007-09 financial crisis.

UN official: Yemen could be 'first country to run out of water'

25 July, 2014 - 07:36

Since the political crisis erupted in Yemen in 2011, the country has begun to move towards democracy. Many challenges remain in the country, wracked by civil unrest and widespread water and food insecurity, says Bishow Parajuli, the UN World Food Programme's representative in Yemen.

Over half of Yemenis may need humanitarian aid, UN says

25 July, 2014 - 07:29

About 14.7 million people in Yemen may be in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, as outbreaks of violence continue, according to the United Nations.

Some 13.1 million people in the country are in need of access to clean water, while about 10.5 million people are deemed food insecure and 1.3 million children are either malnourished or severely malnourished, according to the UN.

France launches EU’s first digital infrastructure 'project bond'

25 July, 2014 - 07:26

A plan to provide superfast broadband to French rural areas will receive EU funding in the form of 'project bonds', EurActiv France reports.

It is the first project bond-funded venture in France and the first used for digital infrastructure in the EU.

The French project will upgrade ADSL and fibre-optic in sparsely populated rural areas, where setting up high-speed networks is not profitable for private operators.

EU sanctions to exclude Russia from capital markets

25 July, 2014 - 07:15

The European Union would target state-owned Russian banks vital to financing Moscow's faltering economy, in the most serious sanctions so far over the Ukraine crisis, under proposals considered by EU governments yesterday (24 July).

Ambassadors of the 28-nation bloc discussed options to curb Russian access to capital markets, arms and energy technology in response to the downing of a Malaysian airliner in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists on 17 July.

German NGO says TTIP will undermine global food security

25 July, 2014 - 07:05

The German aid organisation Brot für die Welt warns that a planned EU-US free trade agreement known as TTIP will undermine local support for smallholders in developing countries and exacerbate the global food crisis. EurActiv Germany reports.

EU gives out €7.75 million for SME innovation studies

25 July, 2014 - 06:59

EU funding worth €7.75 million will be given to 155 small and medium-sized enterprises from 21 countries, including Israel and Turkey, for innovation studies, it was announced yesterday (24 July).

High cholesterol causes breast cancer, study shows

24 July, 2014 - 16:40

British researchers have discovered a relationship between high cholesterol levels in women, and breast cancer. EurActiv France reports.

Scientists find beef production harmful to the environment

24 July, 2014 - 16:35

Production of beef is nearly ten times more damaging to the environment than any other form of meat production, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

American scientists measured the environment inputs required for beef production and concluded that beef cattle need 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than pork, poultry, eggs or dairy.

The researchers developed a uniform methodology that they were able to apply to all five livestock categories and to four measures of environmental performance.