EU agrees on provisional copyright law

            By Ata Ufuk Seker</p>  <p>BRUSSELS (AA) - The European Union reached a provisional deal Wednesday on copyright law that introduces changes to existing EU copyright rules as part of creating a true EU digital single market, according to a top official.</p>  <p>&quot;Agreement reached on #copyright! Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules fit for digital age with real benefits for everyone: guaranteed rights for users, fair remuneration for creators, clarity of rules for platforms,&quot; European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip said on Twitter.</p>  <p>In a series of tweets, Ansip said the new copyright rules will allow internet users to have more possibilities to use and access copyrighted material with full legal certainty.</p>  <p>&quot;Freedom of expression is guaranteed, and users will have the power to swiftly contest any unjustified removal of their content by platforms,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>&quot;And whoever said we were banning #memes was trying to fool you,&quot; he joked.</p>  <p>With the new law, internet platforms like Google will have to pay fees to the content producers to be able to publish news stories in its search results.</p>  <p>Internet platforms like YouTube will have to remove content violating the copyright directive and pay more to the content providers.</p>  <p>Digital platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter will take measures to prevent users from uploading publications protected by the copyright directive.</p>  <p>The tentative law still needs to be officially approved by the European Parliament and EU Council.</p>  <p>*Sibel Morrow from Ankara contributed to this story

EU adds Saudi Arabia to 'dirty money' blacklist

By Ata Ufuk Seker

BRUSSELS (AA) – The European Commission on Wednesday added Saudi Arabia to a blacklist of countries that pose a threat due to failing to crack down on money-laundering and terrorist financing.

"The aim of this list is to protect the EU financial system by better preventing money laundering and terrorist financing risks," it said in a statement.

"As a result of the listing, banks and other entities covered by EU anti-money laundering rules will be required to apply increased checks (due diligence) on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from these high-risk third countries to better identify any suspicious money flows."

Besides Saudi Arabia, the list includes Afghanistan, American Samoa, the Bahamas, Botswana, North Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Yemen.

Turkish women scientists' ratio surpasses EU average

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – The proportion of women scientists and engineers in Turkey surpassed the EU average in 2017, according to Eurostat statement on Monday.

The statement said there were around 18 million scientists and engineers in the EU in 2017, and added that 59 percent of them were men, while 41 percent were women.

According to the same statement, in Turkey, there were 951,200 scientists and engineers in Turkey in 2017.

Around 525,000 of them, or 55 percent, were male, while 427,000, or 45 percent, were female.

The country with the highest rate of women scientists and engineers in the EU was Lithuania with 57 percent and the lowest rates were recorded in Luxembourg and Hungary with 25 percent.

The ratio of Turkish women scientists and engineers is higher than some developed countries of the EU like Germany, France, the U.K. and Italy.

The statement was released by Eurostat to mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on February 11.

Brexit: May tells parliament she needs 'more time'

               By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal </p>  <p>LONDON (AA) – British Prime Minister Theresa May asked for more time from lawmakers to carry on talks with EU leaders to convince them for changes into her withdrawal agreement on Tuesday.</p>    <p>In a statement she made to the House of Commons, May said the parliament needed to hold its nerve, adding that negotiations for possible changes to the Irish backstop with the EU are at a crucial stage.</p>    <p>“Having secured an agreement with the EU for further talks, we now need some time to complete that process,” the prime minister said.</p>  <p>“The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this house requires and deliver Brexit on time,” she added.</p>    <p>May said she would update the parliament again on Feb. 26 and if she failed to get a new deal by that date, she promised to give lawmakers to have a say on next Brexit steps in non-binding votes.</p>  <p>She said that she explained to EU officials that there are three ways to achieve a deal.</p>  <p>May said: “First, the backstop could be replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.</p>  <p>“Second, there could be a legally-binding time limit to the existing backstop.</p>  <p>“Or third, there could be a legally-binding unilateral exit clause to that backstop.”</p>  <p>The leader of the main opposition party Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister offered the parliament only “more excuses and more delays.”</p>  <p>May had shown she only wanted to “deliberately run down the clock and play chicken with people’s livelihoods” by rejecting their idea of customs union membership, Labour leader Corbyn said.</p>  <p>May’s statement came following her meetings with EU leaders last week and they told her that they would not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.</p>  <p>She is expected to meet EU’s top officials end of February.</p>  <p>The U.K. is set to leave the bloc end of March as a result of a 2016 referendum where British voters decided to leave the union after more than 40 years of membership.

Italy urges Venezuela to hold 'democratic' elections

                            By Senhan Bolelli</p>  <p>  <p>MADRID (AA) - The Italian government on Tuesday called for Venezuela to organize fresh democratic and free presidential elections.</p>  <p>  <p>Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi approved a resolution text on Venezuela following a meeting in prime minister's residence in Rome and presented it to the parliament.</p>  <p>  <p>Speaking at the parliament, Foreign Minister Milanesi underlined that Italy’s concern on the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and its desire to produce alternative solutions. </p>  <p>He added that the government favored a peaceful solution and rejected all forms of violence in the country.</p>  <p>  <p>Rome did not believe that the last presidential election in Venezuela contributed to President Nicolas Maduro's democratic legitimacy, said Milanesi, urging democratic elections as soon as in Venezuela.</p>  <p>  <p>Italy's top diplomat asserted that the incidents in Venezuela were being closely monitored by the international community.</p>  <p>  <p>&quot;According to the government, the situation in Venezuela is complicated and new acts of violence might occur,&quot; he said, adding that fresh elections would serve as a &quot;way out.&quot;</p>  <p>  <p>On the other hand, the anti-establishment coalition partner Five Star Movement (M5S) underlined that it supported neither Maduro nor Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela.</p>  <p>  <p>On Monday, Guaido sent delegations to Italy and the Vatican, which did not recognize him as the interim president of Venezuela.</p>  <p>  <p>The delegation representing Guaido met the foreign minister as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, before moving on to Vatican City.</p>  <p>  <p>Italy's stance abstaining from openly supporting Guaido prevented the EU from issuing a joint statement recognizing Guaido's &quot;interim presidency.&quot; </p>  <p>  <p>Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.</p>  <p>  <p>Tensions rose when opposition leader Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.</p>  <p>  <p>Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have put their weight behind Maduro.

EU bigs reject endorsement of dirty money blacklist

            By Bahattin Gonultas and Ata Ufuk Seker</p>  <p>BRUSSELS/BERLIN (AA) - A group of European Union states are raising concerns about the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on the EU dirty money blacklist, according to news in European media.</p>  <p>Weapon producing EU member countries including Germany, France, U.K., Italy, Spain, Finland, Belgium and Bulgaria are trying to block a EU Commission’s plan to include Saudi Arabia on a blacklist of countries that pose money-laundering and terrorism financing threats due to concerns about the future of their arms export.</p>  <p>The EU's executive commission adopted last month a draft list that adds Saudi Arabia, Panama and small Pacific and Caribbean islands to the list of 16 states that includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea.</p>  <p>The EU Commission has reached the final stage in completing the updated EU dirty money blacklist.</p>  <p>The latest version of the list is expected to be approved this week.</p>  <p>Riyadh is lobbying against the listing and the U.S. is pressuring the EU to prevent the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on the list, according to reports.</p>  <p>If Saudi Arabia is included in the list, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who receives open support of U.S. President Donald Trump, may be in a difficult position due to his activities in Yemen.

UPDATE – Brexit: EU not to open renegotiations on deal

             UPDATES WITH COMMENTS FROM BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT; EDITS THROUGHOUT</p>    <p>By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – The EU will not reopen a deal with the U.K. but it is open to add wording to the agreement that will shape ties between the Britain and the EU, head of European Commission said Thursday.

Jean-Claude Juncker’s comments came during a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels as she visited the city to review next steps in the Brexit process.

The spirit of the talks was in an atmosphere of working to meet shared challenges of EU and the U.K. to uphold open trade, fighting climate change, terrorism and the rules-based international system, according to a joint statement following the meeting.

May conveyed the reason for the vote last week in the House of Commons to seek a legal change to the agreement and she raised “various options for dealing with these concerns,” it said.

She also met EU Commission President Donald Tusk who questioned yesterday what kind of a place there would be in hell for those who promoted Brexit without a plan, causing dismay in the U.K.

“The language”, May said, “was not helpful and caused widespread dismay in the U.K.,” after facing Tusk.

Tusk later twitted: “Still no breakthrough in sight. Talks will continue.”

But Juncker said the deal “represents a carefully balanced compromise between the EU and the U.K.,” expressing, on the other hand, “his openness to add wording to the Political Declaration agreed by the EU27 and the U.K. in order to be more ambitious in terms of content and speed when it comes to the future relationship between the EU and the U.K.”

The discussions were “robust but constructive,” and the pair agreed further discussion are necessary to see if a way can be found “that would gain the broadest possible support in the U.K. parliament and respect the guidelines agreed by the European Council.”

"May and Juncker will meet again before the end of the month," the statement added.

May said the talks had been “robust but constructive”.

“What I have set out is our clear position that we must secure legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement to deal with the concerns that parliament has over the backstop, and that changes to the backstop, together with the other work we are doing on workers’ rights and other issues, will deliver a stable majority in parliament,” she said.

May added: “That is what I will continue to push for. It’s not going to be easy but crucially President Juncker and I have agreed that talks will now start to find a way through this, to find a way to get this over the line and to deliver on the concerns that parliament has, so we get a majority in parliament.”

May has 50 days before the the Brexit date of March 29 to secure a deal which will need ratification from all EU members and the House of Commons.

Fifty-two percent of British voters opted for an exit of the EU in 2016 after more than 40 years of membership to the bloc.

Brexit: EU not to open renegotiations on deal

                                               By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal </p>  <p>LONDON (AA) - The EU will not reopen a deal with the U.K. but it is open to add wording to the agreement that will shape ties between the Britain and the EU, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday.</p>  <p>Juncker’s comments came during a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels as she visited the city to review next steps in the Brexit process.</p>  <p>The spirit of the talks were in an atmosphere of working to meet shared challenges of EU and the U.K. to uphold open trade, fighting climate change, terrorism and the rules-based international system, according to a joint statement following the meeting.</p>  <p>May conveyed the reason for the vote last week in the House of Commons to seek a legal change to the agreement and she raised “various options for dealing with these concerns,” it said.</p>  <p>Juncker said the deal “represents a carefully balanced compromise between the EU and the U.K.,” however, “expressed his openness to add wording to the Political Declaration agreed by the EU27 and the U.K. in order to be more ambitious in terms of content and speed when it comes to the future relationship between the EU and the U.K.”</p>  <p>The discussions were “robust but constructive,” and the pair agreed further discussion are necessary to see if a way can be found “that would gain the broadest possible support in the U.K. Parliament and respect the guidelines agreed by the European Council.”</p>  <p>&quot;May and Juncker will meet again before the end of the month,&quot; the statement added.</p>  <p>May has 50 days before the the Brexit date of March 29 to secure a deal which will need ratification from all EU members and the House of Commons.</p>  <p>Fifty-two percent of British voters opted for an exit of the EU in 2016 after more than 40 years of membership to the bloc.

Merkel: EU, UK can find a Brexit solution

             By Ayhan Simsek</p>    <p>BERLIN (AA) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed optimism Thursday about finding a diplomatic solution for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. </p>    <p>“I believe that one can find a solution without reopening the Withdrawal Agreement,” Merkel said in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava, ahead of her talks with the leaders of Visegrad Four countries. </p>    <p>Merkel stressed that renegotiation of the Brexit agreement, which was approved by Brussels and London in November, was “not on the agenda”. </p>    <p>British Prime Minister Theresa May is going to visit Brussels on Thursday to convince the EU for “alternative arrangements” to replace the contentious Irish backstop arrangement within the Brexit agreement. </p>    <p>May’s EU withdrawal deal was overwhelmingly rejected last month by British lawmakers who insisted that Brussels should replace the Irish border arrangement. </p>    <p>The U.K. is set to leave the EU on Friday, March 29, unless the date is postponed.

INFOGRAPHIC – Venezuelan crisis splits world into two camps

            By Beyza Binnur Donmez</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - The ongoing government crisis in Venezuela has split the world into two camps.</p>  <p>Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.</p>  <p>Tensions climbed across the country when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan. 23.</p>  <p><br>
  • America

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement recognizing Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, as the country’s interim president.

Brazil and the Organization of American States recognized Guaido as Venezuela's leader prior to his formal announcement.

Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Peru and Paraguay have followed the suit.

Bolivia, Cuba and Mexico were the only countries in the region which continue to recognize Maduro's presidency as leftist allies. Also, Mexico, once a member of the Lima Group, is willing to mediate in Venezuela’s political conflict.

The Lima Group is a body of 12 Latin American countries.

– EU states

A total of 19 European Union member states including Spain, Germany, France and Britain joined Monday in recognizing Guaido as president after an eight-day period for convening free, democratic and transparent elections in Venezuela expired.

Other nations recognizing Guaido as interim president are Portugal, Denmark, Holland, Hungary, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Croatia.

Only two countries in Europe — Italy and Greece — are resisting the adoption of a joint position with the EU in favor of Guaido.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio has defended his refusal to support Guaido despite differences within Italy’s ruling coalition government, saying he hasn’t been elected by the people of the South American nation.

Georgios Katrougalos, Greece’s alternate foreign minister, also said that the solution in current crisis is dialogue.

Israel and Australia also recognized Guaido as acting president.

– Support

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced solidarity with Maduro, a day after the U.S. move for Guaido, saying that Turkey never sides with coup plotters.

Russia and China both opposed the U.S. call to support Guaido and condemned any interference in Venezuela’s affairs.

Iran has also thrown its weight behind Maduro.

“Iran opposes all foreign interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs,” Bahram Qasemi, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.

South Africa is against any attempts at “undue or unconstitutional change” of government in Venezuela, the country’s envoy to the UN Security Council said.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that the global body would not join any side in discussions involving the political crisis in Venezuela.

Benedict Wachira, head of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK), condemned the U.S. intervention in Venezuela, terming it wrong and undiplomatic.

India called for dialogue among stakeholders in Venezuela.

Palestine described Guaido's self-declaration as a "coup attempt" and threw its support behind President Maduro.