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Russia seeks #BeautyofUniverse2018

Guest contributor

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The Russian organizers of a worldwide competition to rival Miss Universe have begun their search for young ladies wishing to take part. From today (6 December) any unmarried girl from 165 cm in height from the ages of 18 to 26 can take part in the qualifying round of the international annual superproject Beauty of Universe 2018. The Organizing Committee of the competition will consider the applications of the participants within two months from the date of the start of the casting, after which Internet voting will be launched (quarter-finals and semi-finals).

Contestants from 100 countries will participate in the qualifying stages. In the finals of the competition will be 15 participants, in which several contestants from one country can take part.

The final of the contest is planned to be held in September 2018 in Moscow in one of the most fashionable and modern concert halls in Russia Vegas City Hall.

The unique feature of this contest from the rest of the world-famous international projects is that the participant does not need to have the titles won in her country, nor does she necessarily have a model experience.

Undoubtedly, participants with experience in participating in regional beauty contests have some advantages over inexperienced pretenders. But in this project this criterion is not very important, because the jury will determine not only the external parameters of the participants, but also universal human qualities.

The international jury of the contest will be finally determined in the first half of 2018, which will consist of famous people of Russia and other countries.

It is already known that it will include: Anna Muminova from Tajikistan (holder of the title Beauty of Universe 2017), Leonid Khromov from Russia (President, Producer and Chairman of the jury of the contest Beauty of Universe), Elena Kozub from Russia (the owner of the title Queen of Runet 2015).

In addition to international recognition, the winner of the contest will receive a cash prize and gifts from sponsors for a total of $50,000 (USD), the title Beauty of Universe 2018, the crown of the winner, as well as gifts from sponsors and partners of the contest.

Finalists who took 2nd and 3rd places are given the titles Second Beauty of Universe 2018 and Third Beauty of Universe 2018 respectively.

For those wishing to enter

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Economy

Issuance of green bonds will strengthen the international role of the euro

Catherine Feore

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Eurogroup ministers discussed the international role of the euro (15 February), following the publication of the European Commission's communication of (19 January), ‘The European economic and financial system: fostering strength and resilience’.

President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe said: “The aim is to reduce our dependence on other currencies, and to strengthen our autonomy in various situations. At the same time, increased international use of our currency also implies potential trade-offs, which we will continue to monitor. During the discussion, ministers emphasized the potential of green bond issuance to enhance the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate transition objective.”

The Eurogroup has discussed the issue several times in recent years since the December 2018 Euro Summit. Klaus Regling, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism said that overreliance on the dollar contained risks, giving Latin America and the Asian crisis of the 90s as examples. He also referred obliquely to “more recent episodes” where the dollar’s dominance meant that EU companies could not continue to work with Iran in the face of US sanctions. Regling believes that the international monetary system is slowly moving towards a multi-polar system where three or four currencies will be important, including the dollar, euro and renminbi. 

European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, agreed that the euro’s role could be strengthened through the issuance of green bonds enhancing the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate objectives of the Next Generation EU funds.

Ministers agreed that broad action to support the international role of the euro, encompassing progress on amongst other things, Economic and Monetary Union, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union were needed to secure the euros international role.

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EU

European human rights court backs Germany over Kunduz airstrike case

Reuters

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An investigation by Germany into a deadly 2009 airstrike near the Afghan city of Kunduz that was ordered by a German commander complied with its right-to-life obligations, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday (16 February), writes .

The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.

In September 2009, the German commander of NATO troops in Kunduz called in a U.S. fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which NATO believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.

The Afghan government said at the time 99 people, including 30 civilians, were killed. Independent rights groups estimated between 60 and 70 civilians were killed.

The death toll shocked Germans and ultimately forced its defence minister to resign over accusations of covering up the number of civilian casualties in the run-up to Germany’s 2009 election.

Germany’s federal prosecutor general had found that the commander did not incur criminal liability, mainly because he was convinced when he ordered the airstrike that no civilians were present.

For him to be liable under international law, he would have had to be found to have acted with intent to cause excessive civilian casualties.

The European Court of Human Rights considered the effectiveness of Germany’s investigation, including whether it established a justification for lethal use of force. It did not consider the legality of the airstrike.

Of 9,600 NATO troops in Afghanistan, Germany has the second-largest contingent behind the United States.

A 2020 peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington calls for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1, but U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal after a deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan.

Germany is preparing to extend the mandate for its military mission in Afghanistan from March 31 until the end of this year, with troop levels remaining at up to 1,300, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

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EU

Digitalization of EU justice systems: Commission launches public consultation on cross-border judicial co-operation

EU Reporter Correspondent

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On 16 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the modernization of EU justice systems. The EU aims to support member states in their efforts to adapt their justice systems to the digital age and improve EU cross-border judicial co-operation. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (pictured) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of digitalization, including in the field of justice. Judges and lawyers need digital tools to be able to work together faster and more efficiently.

At the same time, citizens and businesses need online tools for an easier and more transparent access to justice at a lower cost. The Commission strives to push this process forward and support member states in their efforts, including as regards facilitating their cooperation in cross-border judicial procedures by using digital channels.” In December 2020, the Commission adopted a communication outlining the actions and initiatives intended to advance the digitalization of justice systems across the EU.

The public consultation will gather views on the digitalization of EU cross-border civil, commercial and criminal procedures. The results of the public consultation, in which a broad range of groups and individuals can participate and which is available here until 8 May 2021, will feed into an initiative on digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation expected at the end of this year as announced in the 2021 Commission's Work Programme.

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