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Merkel calls for Navalny poisoning inquiry; why Phil Hogan resigned

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What is the story with the resignation of the EU trade commissioner, Phil Hogan?

Well, he was unwise in that he didn't respect the rules and the regulations that are there for how to behave in these Covid times. It was primarily Irish regulations or Irish recommendations that he didn't adhere to. And accordingly, there was the strong urge by the government in Dublin that he should resign. And that he did, by his own choice. And now we'll see who will succeed him in that very important position.

What's going to be the European reaction to the poisoning of Aleksei Navalny in Moscow?

I think the reaction so far has been strong. Particularly Berlin, they were keen to get him to the hospital in Berlin. They did thorough investigations and they declared, yes, he has been poisoned. And Chancellor Merkel made a very strong statement saying that he has been poisoned, those responsible have to be put into account or to account, and there has to be independent investigations. That being said, everyone knows where responsibility lies. Everyone knows there will be no investigation. Everyone knows those responsible will not be held to account. This is Russia as we have it today.

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It's been four days since Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, died in a hail of bullets on a highway near Tehran. Iran has plausibly blamed Israel for the killing, but more than that, not much is known credibly or in detail.

This is hardly the first time that an Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated in an operation that has a whiff of Mossad about it. But Fakhrizadeh's prominence — he is widely regarded as the father of the Iranian nuclear program — as well as the timing of the killing, just six weeks from the inauguration of a new American president, make it a particularly big deal. Not least because an operation this sensitive would almost certainly have required a US sign-off.

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Ethiopia on the brink: After ethnic tensions between Ethiopia's federal government and separatist forces in the northern Tigray region erupted into a full-blown armed conflict in recent weeks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his forces had taken control of Tigray's capital on Saturday and declared victory. But the fugitive Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael quickly called Abiy's bluff, saying the fighting is raging on, and demanded Abiy withdraw his forces. Gebremichael accused Abiy of launching "a genocidal campaign" that has displaced 1 million people, with thousands fleeing to neighboring Sudan, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. The Tigray, who make up about five percent of Ethiopia's population, are fighting for self-determination, but Abiy's government has repeatedly rejected invitations to discuss the issue, accusing the coalition led by Gebremichael's Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of "instigating clashes along ethnic and religious lines." As the two sides dig in their heels, Ethiopia faces the risk of a civil war that could threaten the stability of the entire Horn of Africa.

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110: At least 110 people were killed in Nigeria's conflict-ridden Borno state on Saturday, when armed men attacked agricultural workers as they tended their fields. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the brutal attack, but analysts say the assault was likely the work of Boko Haram or Islamic State-linked groups that have gained a foothold in the Sahel region in recent years.

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Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET

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