Ankara bombing adds to Turkey’s fog of war

At least 20 people were people were killed and many injured in an explosion near a group of Turkish military personnel in the capital Ankara this evening. It is the fourth major explosion in Turkey in the past few months.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports:

Turkey does not intend to stop shelling Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in response to cross-border fire, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding the United State should decide whether it wants to back Turkey or the Kurdish insurgents.

The rapid of advance of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters, who are taking advantage of Russian air strikes in the region to seize territory near the Turkish border, has infuriated Ankara, which sees the insurgents as a terrorist organization. Turkey has been shelling YPG positions for days.



In the US presidential race, South Carolina Gov Nikki Haley is set to endorse Florida Sen Marco Rubio this evening. The move, ahead of Saturday’s primary, would be seen as a high-profile snub to Jeb Bush. Donald Trump had been atop opinion polls in the state until Wednesday night, when an NBC/WSJ poll had him trailing Ted Cruz.



Another significant blow for the Northern Ireland economy today when Canadian aerospace company Bombardier announced that more than 1,000 jobs would go over the next two years. The decision is part of 7,000 job cuts the company is making worldwide.

Before Christmas, there was a string of job losses at other manufacturing employers based in the province.


Cameron under pressure over latest EU negotiations

Prime Minister David Cameron has been in Paris and Brussels as he continues to seek an agreement with other EU leaders over a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership. As Reuters reports, it doesn’t seem to be going particularly well.

The European Parliament will deal rapidly with legislation required after Britain strikes a deal with its EU partners, but cannot guarantee that such legislation will be passed, the head of the Parliament said on Tuesday.

Parliament President Martin Schulz told reporters: “ be quite clear, no government can go to the Parliament and say: this is our proposal, can you give a guarantee about the result. This is not possible in a democracy.”


But hey, chin up, inners…



Syria’s descent into chaos continues

The bloody nightmare in Syria shows no sign of ending. Worse, it appears that any attempts to find a path out of the carnage are serving only to heighten global tensions and antagonize the participants – all at the expense of the country’s long-suffering people, both those who remain and those who have fled.

Liz Sly writes in The Washington Post:

Syria’s civil war long ago mutated into a proxy conflict, with competing world powers backing the rival Syrian factions almost since the earliest days of the armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

But perhaps never before have the dangers — or the complications — of what amounts to a mini world war been so apparent as in the battle underway for control of Aleppo.



Meanwhile, what, practically, can actually be done in the current situation? What can constructively be added beyond the rhetoric?




Not aiming to be insufferably gloomy today, but…


Scalia’s death shakes up election race



It was. Were you?

A sad day. Even if, perhaps, an inevitable one. I worked night shifts on the foreign desk at the Indy (being hired by the late Nick Ashford, a lovely man) in 1988/1989 before joining the FT. It was my first exposure to Fleet Street and I remember fondly the great pride of the staff and the fun at what was effectively still a startup (it launched in 1986).

Best of luck to everyone affected today. Feels like the real end of a chapter.





As a 24-hour stoppage by junior doctors in Britain’s NHS ended, it appears increasingly likely that the new working contract at the heart of the dispute will be imposed by the government from 1 August. After the BMA rejected a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer on Wednesday night, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to make a statement in the Commons at lunchtime on Thursday.





One institution that did appear to recognize the PR pitfalls in ignoring a passionate public protest is Liverpool FC. It’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, said that the planned ticket price increase, which led to thousands of fans walking out of the weekend’s home game, would be scrapped and prices frozen for the coming season.



Russia has proposed a March 1 ceasefire in Syria. For many, that’s just too late. It’s always been “too late”.

After a dramatic night of negotiations, the remaining four occupants in the ludicrous standoff at the Oregon wildlife refuge will apparently turn themselves in on Thursday, insisting, of course, that it’s not a “surrender”.

As the US presidential primary contest moves on to Nevada – home of the aforementioned, and incarcerated, Cliven Bundy – and a bare-knuckle South Carolina on Feb 20, the Republican field is winnowing a little but there’s still a jam over who might emerge as the “establishment” candidate. New Hampshire’s narrow distribution for second place behind Donald Trump didn’t help.



Just what you’ve been waiting for, right…?

Call me when you have one based on the Brooklyn-bound F train.





The Granite State speaks




Earlier: Today is the New Hampshire primary. As always, the good folks of Dixville Notch have already spoken, watched only (well, not really) by the most hardened CSpan viewers.

Larry Sabato and his team look at what would and what wouldn’t constitute a surprise here.

The Note will aim to be back later for a semi-live-ish thing. Enjoy.



Several people are reported dead and injured after two trains apparently collided head-on in Bavaria.



Deutsche Bank has investors worried this morning..




Best wishes to the King of Limerick on his retirement.



Mair gas frae Scotland

The biggest construction project in the UK since the London Olympics was officially operational today as production began at a new £3.5billion offshore gas plant in the Shetland Isles, managed by French energy giant Total.




Tomorrow is the New Hampshire primary, and ABC hosted a feisty, if not particularly enlightening candidate debate on Saturday night.



Nice, Lucy…



So… Peyton Manning, huh?

And we should never forget who the real victims, sorry, customers are…



Why the Premier League – and more likely MLS – may need a great defensive wall

So, it took nearly 40 years, but it appears that China is about to destroy football in revenge for this… Thanks, Baggies!

The latest chapter in that perpetual best-seller on the “changing economics of football” looks like it’s being played out through the wave of signings and attempted signings to the Chinese Super League.

With Liverpool target Alex Teixeira moving from Shakhtar Donetsk to Jiangsu Suning for £38million, the Chinese league topped the English Premier League in spending during the winter transfer window. And it seems they’re not done yet, with Yaya Toure and Radamel Falcao also on the radar.

This is a very good up-sum by Matt Stead…

The BBC writes:

Asked if the Premier League should be concerned about the CSL’s spending power, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger replied: “Yes, of course.

“China looks to have the financial power to move the whole league of Europe to China.”

However, he wondered whether CSL clubs would continue to pay out huge sums of money on transfer fees.

“Will they sustain their desire to do it?” he asked. “Let’s remember, Japan started to do it a few years ago but slowed down.

“I don’t know how deep the desire in China is. If it is a very strong political desire, we should worry.”

But maybe the league that should be more concerned in the immediate short-term is MLS. As John Duerden wrote in The Guardian:

The really big names that can be tempted to leave Europe often go to MLS – Beckham, Lampard, Henry, Gerrard, Kaka and Pirlo – but China is increasingly able to pay big money (often too big at the moment but that is due to necessity more than naivety) for players that are not quite so stellar but are usually much closer to their prime.

Guangzhou have Ricardo Goulart, still only 24 and regarded as one of the top Brazilian prospects a year ago when he left Cruzerio, while Beijing Guoan has Renato Augusto one of four players from Brazilian champions Corinthians to make a recent move to China. East Asia is still a relative culture shock for players based in South America or Europe than North America but a growing number of Chinese clubs can offer huge salaries with Renato Augusto more than quadrupling his.

The US transfer system can be complex with plenty of rules and regulations. In China, it’s naked capitalism. There’s lots of money and lots of people happy to see that cash buying players from overseas.

Meanwhile, Liverpool supporters are set to walk out of their game against Sunderland tomorrow in the 77th minute as part of a protest over ticket prices.


BUSINESS (or rather, other business)

Darth Barbie?





Finally, RIP Maurice White


Cameron fires starting gun for Brexit referendum

In what is effectively the launch of the campaign building to the expected summer referendum campaign on EU membership, David Cameron will today tell MPs about his negotiations over Britain’s future in the alliance.

Watch live on Channel Four:

To say the Prime Minister’s efforts haven’t been appreciated is perhaps an understatement.

and The Sun‘s not alone…

Not to take the Titanic metaphor too far, but…

And perhaps there’s still some haggling to be done over the timing of the vote

Anyway, off we go…