Worldwide Web: Transatlantic Divergences on Its Future (5/31)

In an unusual joint public-private initiative, political leaders and major Internet players held a broad open forum on May 24-25 in Paris to discuss the future of the Internet. Held on the sidelines of the G8 summit meeting of Western powers in Deauville, the web forum was called "the e-G8." The outcome was foreseeable -- more divergences than agreement.

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What DSK Meant to IMF (5/25)

In the maelstrom of debt engulfing the eurozone in 2009, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was “the right man in that place at that time” – both for Europe and for the Fund’s own stature. That favorable judgment is part of a well-informed, nuanced overall account of his record at the IMF that was given to European Affairs two days before the first report surfaced of the scandal that led to his downfall. The insights and evaluation came from Edwin “Ted” Truman, a highly esteemed international economist. Currently a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, Truman has held many senior positions in the U.S. government and in the IMF.

Under Strauss-Kahn, the IMF transformed itself from being an enforcer of rules on developing countries to becoming a pivotal player in helping rescue European countries and even the euro itself amid a transatlantic financial meltdown. As a sign of its revived prominence, the Fund tripled its resources for lending. Retracing these developments in his question-and-answer session with European Affairs on Friday, May 13, Truman, a prominent “insider-outsider” in the Fund’s evolution, offered an incisive summing-up of what Strauss-Kahn succeeded in changing at the Fund and a partial list of some challenges that remain.

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e-G8 Wants to Be New Forum on Web Freedom and Governance (5/23)

A special variant of the G-8 – this one to bring together a “summit” of web leaders – is meeting in France ahead of the regular G-8 summit meeting this week in Deauville. In this initiative, President Nicolas Sarkozy is convening key players from the public and private sector including such influential figures as NewsCorp owner Rupert Murdoch, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the French Minister of Finance Christine Lagarde and the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes for a two-day debate (May 24-5) to discuss Internet-related questions -- notably how to ensure its reliability and accessibility while protecting the global system’s security.

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Int'l Criminal Court Seeks Gaddafi Arrest Warrant On War-Crimes Charges (5/17)

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has formally requested arrest warrants for Moammar Gaddafi and two of his relatives for crimes against humanity.
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Battle Over New “.xxx” Internet Address for Porn Underscores EU-US Dilemma on Internet Governance (5/13)

Official uneasiness about the state of Internet governance is rising as governments on both sides of the Atlantic have come to recognize how limited their ability is to control it. The latest public symptom of this anxiety surfaced in a leaked official letter from European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes who is also the Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in which she sought U.S. help in stopping the deployment of a new Internet “suffix” -- ".xxx" –- to identify pornography sites on the web. “This is a major public policy concern,” she wrote, “not only because of the unknown effects it may have in terms of internet stability, but also because of the implications such blocking may have for internet censorship and freedom of expression.”

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U.S. Goes To Arctic Ministerial Promoting Pragmatic Cooperation -- UPDATE (5/17)

--- POST-MEETING-UPDATE

At the Nuuk meeting, the Arctic Council put off the European Commission’s application for “permanent observer” status – probably for two years. The bid was strongly supported by one Arctic Council member state, Finland (which also belongs to the EU). But it was opposed by two other permanent Council members, Canada and Russia. Decisions are taken by unanimity on the Council. A decision on the EU application – based on criteria established at Nuuk – is set to be taken within two years, ie by the time of the next Council ministerial.

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EU Must "Ask More" From Athens (5/9)

Even if rumors about a Greek departure from the eurozone have been deflated, the recent flurry of speculation should not obscure the hard facts about what Athens needs to do: shrink the country’s defense spending, privatize more public-sector activity and collect more taxes from companies and wealthy citizens. These are the conditions for energizing the country’s economy and businesses.

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British Voters Enthusiastic About NOT Changing Status Quo in Voting System (5/6)

A referendum proposing a complicated tweak in Parliamentary elections was rejected by a “no” vote with a large enough margin to amount to simple repudiation.  With enough ballots counted to ensure the measure’s defeat, projections said that the outcome could approach a 70-30 defeat for the measure, which was put to voters on the same day as local elections in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Ronald D. Asmus (1958-2011) -- A Tribute (5/3)

Ron Asmus had already made his place in history – as a worthy successor to the great generation of “Atlanticists” who built and nurtured the transatlantic partnership – when he died last week at the tragically early age of 53. For more than two decades, he had been tirelessly energetic and remarkably effective in pushing his commitment to the emergence of a Europe whole and free. His influence was powerful in policy communities on both sides of the Atlantic: in Europe, he was an adviser and reassuring ally to leaders with aspirations to freedom; in the U.S., he constantly reminded Americans how much they needed that kind of Europe.

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Killing of Bin Laden May Provide Opening For Compromise In Afghan War (5/2)

Will the elimination of Osama Bin Laden help open the way to an end of the war in Afghanistan and an earlier withdrawal of more U.S. and European troops fighting there in the NATO-led offensive against the Taliban? This question is already being debated in policy circles in Washington (and in European capitals) on the day after the killing of Al Qaeda’s leader.
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