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Civil society organisations are the first port of call in times of crisis and can help the European Union stick together

Nov. 12.– The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the EU’s national Economic and Social Councils discussed at their annual meeting the integration of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, the EU’s open strategic autonomy and enhancing the EESC’s role following the Conference on the Future of Europe.

European organised civil society can and must contribute to providing an effective answer to the EU’s current geopolitical challenges, such as the integration of people fleeing the war in Ukraine and the need for a strategic autonomy.

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North Korea threatens US with 'powerful measures' as joint drills begin

North Korea has threatened the US with "powerful follow-up measures" if it does not stop conducting joint military drills with South Korea.

Washington and Seoul on Monday began one of their largest combined military air drills, which will end on Friday.

North Korea has also launched a series of missiles in recent weeks in response to the various drills.

This follows intelligence reports that Pyongyang is preparing for its first nuclear weapon test since 2017.

"If the US continuously persists in the grave military provocations, [North Korea] will take into account more powerful follow-up measures," said North Korea's foreign ministry in a statement.

"If [Washington] does not want any serious developments not suited to its security interests, it should stop the useless and ineffective war exercises at once. If not, it will have to totally take the blame for all the consequences."

The current military drills, called Vigilant Storm, involve hundreds of airplanes conducting mock attacks 24 hours a day.

Early in October, Washington deployed its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan near the Korean Peninsula in a move that was widely seen as a warning to the North - and the carrier took part in a round of naval drills.

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The EU is strengthening democracy in eastern Europe

Former Soviet states have become unlikely defenders of the rule of law.

Oct. 26.– In too many places around the world, freedom is denied. In theocracies such as The Rule of Law Index 2021Afghanistan and Iran, women lack the right to dress as they please. In countries from Myanmar to Sudan, juntas rule. And Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, has not only launched a lawless war against his neighbour, Ukraine, but clamped down further on his own people’s rights. Yet there are bright spots too—and some of these can be found on Mr. Putin’s doorstep (see chart).

This can be seen in a report published on October 26th by the World Justice Project, a charity based in Washington, DC. It draws on tens of thousands of responses from legal practitioners, local academics, and household surveys to produce the Rule of Law Index, a ranking of 140 countries and jurisdictions according to a series of indicators: constraints on government powers, the absence of corruption, fundamental rights, and criminal and civil justice.

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Taiwan Presidential Office responds to Xi’s speech at CCP congress

Taiwanese public ‘resolutely refuses’ so-called ‘one country, two systems’: spokesperson.

The Taiwan Presidential Office hit back at Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) on Sunday (Oct. 16) following his speech atTsai Ing-wen. President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)Tsai Ing-wen. President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress vowing to “struggle against separatism” and Taiwan independence.

According to an earlier report, Xi said China must resolve the “Taiwan issue” and touted China’s recent military provocations towards Taiwan as evidence of China’s commitment to resisting “separatist forces.” He characterized his policy towards Taiwan as that of “firm determination and strong ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In response, Presidential Office Spokesperson Chang Tun-han (張惇涵) was cited in a statement as saying Taiwan is a sovereign country and its people believe in and insist on democracy and freedom. He said that the majority of Taiwan’s citizens have made it clear that “We resolutely refuse ‘one country, two systems.’”

Chang added that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had already iterated Taiwan’s stance, which is to continue to uphold the “Four Commitments,” to reinforce its own resilience, and increase Taiwan’s visibility in the world. He said Taiwan’s stance is firm; it will not yield its territorial sovereignty, nor compromise democracy and freedom, and taking to arms is not an option for cross-strait relations.

Read more: Taiwan News

NATO chief warns Putin not to use nuclear weapons, while EU foreign policy chief advised Russia will face the annihilation of its armed forces

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia Thursday not to cross "a very important line" of using nuclear weapons.

Both NATO and Russia are scheduled to hold nuclear exercises this month.

NATO Headquarters Brussels, Oct. 14 (– A meeting of NATO’s secretive Nuclear Planning Group was held among defense ministers in Brussels, as concerns deepen over Putin’s insistence that he will use any means necessary to defend Russian territory. NATO is believed to have warned its members about the possibility the Russian dictator may have decided to detonate a nuke on Ukraine's borders, in an escalation designed to terrify the West. A senior defense source, however, said that a more likely demonstration of Putin’s readiness to use nuclear weapons could come in the Black Sea, The Times of London reports.

Asked what NATO would do if Russia launched a nuclear attack, NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg said: “We will not go into exactly how we will respond, but of course, this will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. It will mean that a very important line has been crossed.” He added that "even any use of a smaller nuclear weapon will be a very serious thing, fundamentally changing the nature of the war in Ukraine, and of course, that would have consequences."

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also warned Putin not to cross that threshold. “Any nuclear attack against Ukraine will create an answer, not a nuclear answer but such a powerful answer from the military side that the Russian Army will be annihilated,” he said in a speech in Bruges, Belgium.

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