Alistair's Feed
May 6, 2015

Lithuania stages ‘little green man’ war games, with eye on Moscow

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuania launched a military exercise on Wednesday to simulate an attack on its new gas terminal, a move its strongly anti-Moscow president said was intended to show the Kremlin that the tiny country would defend itself.

The scenario is modeled on last year’s capture of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms and civilian clothes, who came to be known as the “little green men” when Moscow initially denied their identity.

Apr 28, 2015

AstraZeneca’s slide drags FTSE away from all-time high

LONDON (Reuters) – The FTSE pulled away from all-time highs on Tuesday, weighed down by a drop in drugs firm AstraZeneca and Asia-focused bank Standard Charted.

Weaker-than-expected UK economic output data helped the FTSE 100 edge off its early lows, however, as it knocked down the pound, making British blue chips’ exports more attractive.

Apr 28, 2015

AstraZeneca’s slide drags Britain’s FTSE away from all-time high

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Britain’s top share index
pulled away from all-time highs on Tuesday, weighed down by a
drop in drugs firm AstraZeneca and Asia-focused bank
Standard Charted.

Weaker-than-expected UK economic output data helped the FTSE
100 edge off its early lows, however, as it knocked down
the pound, making British blue chips’ exports more attractive.

Apr 16, 2015

Election strains Finland’s diplomatic balancing act with Russia

HELSINKI (Reuters) – From closer NATO ties to rumors of Kremlin-backed land deals on its border, Finland’s diplomatic balancing act with Russia has come under the spotlight before Sunday’s parliamentary election as politicians debate how far to challenge the Kremlin.

The vote sees centrist opposition front-runner Juha Sipila, who favors military non-alignment along with two other major parties, battling center-right incumbent Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, who advocates joining NATO.

Apr 12, 2015

Taste of its own medicine? Austerity overshadows Finland vote

KOTKA, Finland, April 12 (Reuters) – When Finland’s
opposition leader and likely new prime minister Juha Sipila
warned Finland could be the next Greece, it was an election
campaign quip with a serious side – signalling the risks for a
country facing a perfect storm of economic woes.

Two hours drive Sipila’s office in bustling Helsinki, the
town of Kotka shows signs of what he means. Around one in five
people is unemployed, a rate not far off Greece. Hit by the
closure of paper mills left behind by the digital age, it is
light years from Finland’s tech-savvy image.

Apr 7, 2015

Finland poll leader open to deal with eurosceptic populists

HELSINKI (Reuters) – The poll favorite to be Finland’s next premier says he is open to taking eurosceptic populists into any new governing coalition but expects they could cause difficulty with demands like an end to bailouts and kicking Greece out of the euro zone.

Opposition Centre Party leader Juha Sipila, a centrist with support from both the urban middle class and rural conservatives with eurosceptic tendencies, is commanding around 25 percent in polls ahead of the April 19 election.

Mar 27, 2015

‘Unholy alliance’ of Islamists threatens Sweden: spy chief

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden, once cited by Osama bin Laden as the kind of country al Qaeda did not attack, is facing a rising threat from Islamist militants because of the crises in Iraq and Syria, its spy chief said in an interview on Friday.

Anders Thornberg told Reuters the number of Swedes traveling to fight in those countries had tripled in the past year, and record immigration to the Nordic country was making it vulnerable to infiltrators from militant groups.

Mar 17, 2015

Sweden must cut rates to counter deflation risk -ex-Finance Minister Borg

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden is “driving on the edge of a cliff” its former finance minister Anders Borg said on Tuesday, calling on the central bank to cut rates further and consider currency intervention to stave off the threat of deflation.

The Riksbank cut rates into negative territory for the first time in February as concerns grew that AAA-rated economy ran the risk of Japan-style deflation.

Mar 15, 2015

After Saudi feud, Sweden debates a “feminist” global role

STOCKHOLM, March 15 (Reuters) – In a few months, Sweden’s
minority government has managed to antagonise both Israel and
the Arab world, while also angering business leaders at home as
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom steadfastly pursues human
rights and feminism.

Wallstrom’s agenda, and the criticism it has drawn, has
exposed a struggle over Sweden’s identity and whether it should
become what some politicians call a “moral great power”, or
prioritise security and an export-led economy.

Mar 7, 2015

EU shows little appetite for more Russia sanctions

RIGA (Reuters) – EU foreign ministers showed little appetite on Saturday for stepping up pressure on Russia over Ukraine, preferring to give a fragile ceasefire a chance before deciding whether to apply more sanctions or even to extend existing ones.

Most ministers at an EU meeting in the Latvian capital pinned their hopes on the latest Minsk agreement succeeding and said the EU should only consider tightening sanctions if the ceasefire was seriously violated, such as by a separatist offensive on the Ukrainian port of Mariupol.