Nordic test for EU migrant plan

October 9, 2015

Russia has denied assertions by U.S. officials that four cruise missiles it fired at Syria crashed in Iran, sticking to its version that they hit Islamic State targets as intended. With Iran also not confirming the incidents it may be some time before the full truth emerges which will only add to concerns about an escalation of the conflict and the risk of more trouble as U.S. and Russian forces jostle for Syrian airspace. Looking for further comment from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a London visit.

A first group of 19 Eritrean refugees will be relocated from Italy to Sweden under the EU’s quota system later today. They will be dropped off in a town in the far north of Sweden called Lulea — temperatures are forecast at maximum 3 degrees to minimum -1 centigrade, apparently quite warm for this time of year. While the EU will hail this as proof of solidarity between member states, the real test will be whether the Eritreans want to stay there or will use their right to move elsewhere in the bloc.

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced in Oslo around 0900 GMT. Candidates include Pope Francis, Angela Merkel, parties to the Colombian peace talks and the Iran nuclear deal, or groups who have helped Syrian refugees.

Belarus heads to the polls on Sunday for a vote expected to hand a fifth term to Alexander Lukashenko. Once known in the West as Europe’s “last dictator”, he is hopeful of warming ties with Europe and Washington thanks to his condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and his pardoning of six opposition leaders in August. Belarus’s newly crowned Nobel literature laureate yesterday summed up the mood among his opponents: “I will not vote in these elections because we know who will win.”

 

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