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Billionaire populist Czech PM Babiš is on his way out after election loss

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What's happening in Poland? Should we worry?

Well, legal niceties aside, within the realm of the treaties, the European Union treaties, agreed, it is fundamental that the laws apply and are respected. And if the Polish constitutional court, loaded with political appointees, now decides that they don't apply in Poland, that sort of undermines the very concept of Polish membership of the European Union. So we'll see what happens. We haven't heard the last of this, but it's a fundamental battle. There's no question about that.

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What We're Watching: Few Iraqis vote, Czech Republic in crisis, China-India talks crash again

Iraq's dud of an election: Just 41 percent of eligible Iraqi voters showed up at the polls this weekend, the lowest turnout in the post-Saddam Hussein era. Lack of enthusiasm for the vote – the first since mass protests in 2019 over political corruption and economic stagnation prompted a fierce crackdown – shows the depths of popular dissatisfaction with the political elite. The election came as Iraq grapples with crumbling infrastructure, a moribund economy, and ongoing sectarian strife among Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish players, with Iran meddling on behalf of the Shia groups. Preliminary results show that no candidate is on a path to win a clear majority, meaning that negotiations to choose a PM tasked with forming a government could take weeks or even months. Gulf countries and the US are hoping for a moderate who can ensure the stability of Iraq and challenge Iran's clout in the region. Iraq's current prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, in some ways fits the bill, having played a key role in mediating negotiations between longtime rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Pirates ahoy in the Czech election?

Voters in the Czech Republic head to the polls this weekend in a general election that features pirates.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš — a Euroskeptic, big-spending populist billionaire with a support base among older, rural Czechs — is fighting for re-election against two main coalitions: a rag-tag center-right alliance called "Together", and a center-left alliance captained by the Czech Pirate Party.

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Happy US Independence Day! Now can you sing it?

When the United States celebrates its Independence Day on July 4th, many Americans will be singing the Star-Spangled Banner at sports games, parties, and other patriotic-themed events. To mark the date, we take a look at some fun facts about national anthems around the world.

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What We're Watching: Putin's invisible red lines

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened an "asymmetrical, rapid, and harsh" response for anyone that dares to cross a "red line" with Russia.

What's the red line? Putin says he'll decide on a case-by-case basis. And the cases at the moment are growing: the US has sanctioned Russia over cyber crimes; Putin critic Alexei Navalny is near death in a Russian prison; the Czechs say Russia blew up a Czech munitions depot; and as many as 120,000 Russian troops are reported to be massing along Russia's border with Eastern Ukraine.

Which is to say: there's potentially a Sol Lewitt's-worth of red lines to ponder now.

China appreciates Czech President's efforts to defuse row with Beijing over Speaker's Taiwan visit

September 08, 2020 8:00 PM

BEIJING - China has voiced appreciation for Czech President Milos Zeman's efforts to defuse a row with Beijing over a visit by the head of the Czech Senate to Taiwan, which Mr Zeman called a "boyish provocation".

China says Czech visit to Taiwan harmed its sovereignty

September 06, 2020 4:45 AM

PRAGUE (AFP) - The Chinese embassy in Prague on Saturday (Sept 5) condemned this week's visit to Taiwan by a Czech delegation as "a serious infringement on China's national sovereignty".

'I am Taiwanese', Czech speaker tells parliament, likely to rile China

September 01, 2020 11:31 AM

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - The head of the Czech Senate declared himself to be Taiwanese in a speech at Taiwan's parliament on Tuesday (Sept 1), channelling late US President John F. Kennedy's defiance of Communism in Berlin in 1963, in remarks likely to further rile Beijing.

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