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Ukraine – Law of the Jungle is not good enough

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Crimea Protests Russia Ukraine

credit: quebec.huffingtonpost.ca

Each story has two sides. Each revolution has two perspectives. Ukraine does not deviate from this rule. From the US/Europe side, Crimea can be seen as the new Sudetenland. From Moscow perspective a new Cold War can be a good geopolitical option, because during that period USSR was perceived as being strong. Everything in foreign affairs is about perception and power.

President Obama said that there will be costs for a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The reality is that the West has few options in Ukraine and the real costs of this crisis are supported by regular Ukrainians. They fought for something, maybe democracy, maybe for better living conditions or for European integration and they deserve more, but they will not reach a positive result any time soon. Ukraine is a geopolitical battlefield.

To fight or not to fight?

From a military perspective, Ukraine does not have enough capabilities to face Russia: a non-nuclear nation versus a country which has more than 1.400 deployed strategic nuclear warheads; around 700 battle tanks against more than 2500 and so on. Nobody wants a war in Ukraine, not even Moscow. President Putin acted in this way in order to reassert Russia’s position. He justified his interventionism by saying: We reserve the right to use all means at our disposal to protect our people. According to some Ukrainian officials under the all means category we can place 30.000 Russian troops which are controlling Crimea at this moment. The biggest problem is the fact that during the last ten years we had a new wave of precedents which are opening a new uncharted territory: drones, the war from Georgia and now, Crimea – how can we define the role of the United Nations here? How can we apply the principles generated by the international law in this type of situations?

International law and democracy

Democracy is going through a period of setbacks. Societies from all over the world are trying to create a new governing paradigm. The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the shock wave which followed raised many questions about the viability of the Western way of living. Are the United States still capable to project their capabilities like they once did?

Saddam violated the integrity of Kuwait and the result was The First Gulf War. When Serbia exploded and Kosovo was fighting for international recognition, president Medvedev said that in international relations, you cannot have one rule for some and another rule for others. International law is subject to interpretation because each story has two sides. From the international law perspective, Russia undermined Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Crimea has a local governing autonomy. The peninsula has around 2.5 million people from which approximately 60 percent are Russian. Also in Crimea we can find the city of Sevastopol, which is one of the biggest naval ports in the region (the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet). Before the Maidan revolution Crimea was already a hot spot. The revolution added the necessary sparks needed to transform this hot spot into a fire. At the beginning of March, Crimea’s parliament decided to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. In order to make this process as democratic and transparent as possible a referendum was scheduled. This process should be based on the idea crafted during the World Forum on Democracy: the will of the people is the basis of the authority of the government. We shall see if the will of the people is crafted using the law of the jungle or not.

If we look at Ukraine, we can see a very interesting occurring pattern. During the last 5 years we witnessed many revolutions, riots and popular movements. Communities from different countries and regions, from all over the world, started to fight and die for BIG IDEAS like democracy, freedom and better living conditions. After a while, the majority of this movements collapsed into chaos. Why? Because democracy is a hard lesson. Look at countries which entered into democracy more than 20 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed, countries like Romania, Poland or Bulgaria, they are still learning what democracy truly is. This governing system is not only about free elections and the freedom of speech, democracy is a way of living and doing things. This perspective can be seen as a corny one but within it we can find the true face of this BIG IDEA.

 There are so many unanswered questions. Which is the right path for Ukraine? How can we avoid the creation of a failed state near the heart of Europe? Is this the beginning of the Cold War 2.0?

Europe

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?

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malaga andalusia spain

There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about living in Spain: its population is friendly and kind; its climate, especially in the coastal areas, is enviable; its gastronomy is incredible… but, what about its prices? What is the most affordable way to live in Spain?

Perhaps the most important question if you decided to go: would it be better to buy instead of renting a property in Spain. Or yet living in a Spanish residence?

Spanish cities where to live cheap and well

In the geographical variety that Spain presents, we can find many differences in average salaries and the standard of living that reside there would require. The areas of Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, together with Almería and the south of Alicante usually have a lower price of euros/square meter in their homes. The quality of life is really appreciable, but you should know that there are fewer possibilities for business and transports.

The autonomous community of the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid, which have higher than average incomes (normally more than 24,000 euros per year), also have higher prices. However, Madrid has such a wide range of rents that it sometimes makes them cheaper than other countries. 

In addition, and taking into account the tourist seasons, the areas of Valencia and Andalusia are normally a preference when it comes to living in Spain for a while or even spending your retirement. Although day-to-day life can be more expensive than in other areas of Spain, the mild climate and variety of leisure options are often worth it in the long run. 

Whatever your option is when moving to another country, especially if you don’t know its legal system, can be very tiresome. That’s why our advice is to try to contact local agencies (that speak English) to give you fair and fruitful advice. For example, to move to Andalusia, we usually recommend Tejada solicitors

I have already decided on the place. Now what?

Well, if you have already fully immersed yourself in the streets of a beautiful city that we have talked about, what should be your first step?

Decide what kind of stay you want to be in (since your future economic situation will also depend on this: taxes, permits…). You may have already chosen, for example, property conveyancing in Marbella, but it is recommended that you also think about renting a property, because it can be very profitable while you are in your other place of residence.

To sum up, before moving to a Spanish city, decide if you want to spend a little more money per month in exchange for the exceptional conditions that their precious land can give you; secondly, contact a reliable agency that will help you make the best investment and even more, apply for a Spanish residency if you are decided to stay for a long time.

And remember: a move is always a new beginning.

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Holiday in Italy: choose Florence for a break in the winter

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Florence is one of the most visited Italian cities, with over 15,4 million tourists visiting the city each year. Located in the heart of the Tuscany region, this beautiful city breathes history, life and culture among its streets. If you are looking for the perfect location for your next winter holidays, then you should look no further, Florence is the perfect destination for you.

Enjoying the best cuisine

Florence is one of the cities with the richer gastronomy in the world. From traditional Italian cuisine to exquisite wines, the food in this city have everything you may wish for in order to please your palate.  With so many options available, you may be wondering where to eat in Florence. Food critics recommend that you check out the following options during your visit to Florence: 

  • Traditional Italian cuisine: visiting Florence and not tasting original Italian cuisine would be considered blasphemous by many.  Italy has one of the most delicious gastronomies in the world, and in Florence you will be able to taste it at its finest with local ingredients. Restaurants like La Chiostrina or Il Rosmarino will allow you to rediscover Italy by its traditional food.
  • Tasting the local wine: wines from the Tuscany region are famous worldwide as the best in the market, making this region the Mecca of wine lovers. During your visit to Florence you will be able to taste those deliquescent wines in restaurants such as Olio Restaurant or Villa Pitiana Restaurant, or taste it on places dedicated exclusively to wine such as Enoteca Obsequium Firenze or L’Enoteca Sandro Soltani.
  • International cuisine: if you like international cuisine, then you are on luck. The best chefs around the globe have restaurants on Florence. This means that you will be able to taste flavours from all the world without having to leave the city. For example,  you can visit the restaurant El Inca for a taste of Peruvian food, restaurant Com Saigon for genuine Vietnamese cuisine, restaurant Ararat for Armenian and Georgian traditional food, or Dim Sum for refined Chinese cuisine. Discover the world by trying the taste of these countries’ traditional flavours.
  • Taste original gelato: gelatos are the ice cream predecessors, and they have been one of Italy’s culinary specialties for centuries . This traditional Italian cold dessert is similar to ice cream, but has less fat and less added sugar. You will be able to enjoy this amazing treat on the many gelaterias around Florence streets, such as Gelateria Edoardo or Gelateria Dei Neri.
  • Tapas and Street food: these are excellent alternatives if you are looking to make a simple meal with your family. You will be able to enjoy these small dishes in places like Italian Tapas or Rivalta Cafe.
  • Modern cuisine: you can taste the most modern and alternative cuisine in the world in Florence. Restaurants like Alla Torre De’ Rossi or Winter Garden by Caino will bring to your table the sophistication the more delicate palates crave. 

Discover Florence’s hidden gems

Florence is a city with a lot of monuments and museums to discover. However, most people that visit the city tend to focus only on the main monuments of the city, such as Campanile di Giotto or Palazzo Vecchio o della Signoria, and the restaurants near those. Because of that, if you want to experience Florence to its fullest, we recommend you rent a bike

Discovering Florence by bike will grant you access to places away from the mainstream crowds,  such as the Andrea del Sarto Museum (dedicated to this amazing Italian painter) or the beautiful Ospedale degli Innocenti (a 17th-century home for abandoned children which includes some amazing pieces of art done by renowned artists like Botticelli). These are really stunning places you would miss if you stick to the traditional tourist route, causing you a lot of regrets over the missed chance. 

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Working & Travelling In Greece

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Greece is a fantastic destination for many people, and for a number of different reasons. It you are keen to see some of the islands and soak up the sun, then you are in for a truly luxurious and paradisiacal time indeed. Similarly, if you just want to spend some time in Athens and see the major sights, then you will come away feeling refreshed and full of vigour from the sheer history and culture that surrounds you. But Greece is also a great place to consider if you are keen to work and travel at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities which you can grab there, and it is a perfect setting if you are a freelancer looking to work on the go. Let’s take a look at some of the things you might want to consider when you are thinking about working and travelling in Greece.

Your Itinerary

Greece Beach

Even if you plan to somewhat move around at leisure, you will probably still find it useful to have some kind of itinerary to work on. That will mean that that whole side of things has been taken care of, which won’t therefore be too much of a worry or a stress when you are trying to make the most of the time you have there. You can then work away, if you are freelancing, while also moving around as you have determined. You can always move away from this, and it is a good idea to have a kind of loose itinerary, but as long as you have one that is the main thing that matters. It will make working and travelling in Greece much easier and more likely to succeed.

The Technical Aspects

Because of the nature of working on the go, you will need to make sure that you have fully understood everything you need to do in order to keep your lifestyle working smoothly. That largely means looking into the more technical aspects of working on the go, which is something that you might find is easier than you would think. As long as you make a point of finding out how to sync contacts from iPhone to Mac so you can better keep in touch with people, and as long as you know what software you need to have to do your work, you should be able to travel the world and work as you please, so that is something to consider.

The Culture

Greece monument

You will probably find that Greek culture suits working very well, and it might be something that you want to think about in order to make sure that it is really the right place for you. It all depends on the nature of the work. For writers and other creatives, it could be the perfect backdrop, and you might feel that you simply never want to leave. However it is that you approach it, you can be sure that you are going to have a great time like this.

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