27 March 2023 (NPR)
A decision by the U.S. Administration to nominate Alaskan geographer Mike Sfraga as an ambassador-at-large for the Arctic is seen as a direct response to Russia’s ramped-up northern military presence and Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski says that dealing with national security threats from China as well as Russia and China in the region will be a challenge.
27 March 2023 (NY Times)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that he would delay judicial changes which continue to be the focus of widespread public protests. The concession came after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir expressed a willingness to postpone a parliamentary vote. Netanyahu suggested he was motivated by the “possibility of preventing a civil war through dialogue,” but Ben-Gvir said “the reform will pass” eventually.
26 March 2023 (CBC)
A U.S. Administration official said today that leaks about alleged Chinese meddling in Canadian electoral processes have not affected Five Eyes intelligence sharing. “There's no breach of trust […] whatsoever,” said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, adding that the U.S. supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approach to the issue.
26 March 2023 (AP)
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says “inacceptable” criticism of his country’s democratic and cultural issues is undermining cooperation within NATO and the EU. Members of the European Parliament say Hungary is “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under President Victor Orban, who has not criticized Russia for invading Ukraine and continues to block Swedish and Finnish membership for Sweden and Finland.
25 March 2023 (The Hill)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called today for an “immediate cessation” of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Appealing directly to President Vladimir Putin during a telephone call, he also thanked the Russian leader for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative which enables Ukrainian grain exports during the conflict.
24 March 2023 (CNN)
A proposed European Parliament ban on the sale of new internal combustion engined cars by 2035 is being challenged by Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, all of which have large automotive industries. They have put the brakes on the plan by calling for the deadline to be extended for ICE-powered vehicles which run on “green” fuels.
24 March 2023 (Al Jazeera)
Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today that his involvement in plans to overhaul the country’s fourts is an illegal conflict of interest. “You must refrain from […] initiatives to change the judiciary, including the makeup of the committee for the appointment of judges,” she said in a letter to the PM, who faces prosecution for corruption.
23 March 2023 (NY Times)
Almost simultaneously with the arrival in Ottawa of President Joe Biden today, it’s reported that Canada and the U.S. have an agreement permitting them to turn away asylum seekers at their borders. Disclosed by an official in Washington, the agreement evidently is scheduled to be signed before Biden heads home March 24.
23 March 2023 (BBC)
Legislation which would prevent a prime minister from being declared unfit by the attorney general to hold office was approved today by the Israeli parliament. Part of the right-wing coalition government’s widely-criticized plan to curtain judicial powers, the law is generally seen as benefitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption during his previous term in office.
23 March 2023 (AP)
Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president once seen by some in the West as a liberal hope, today resurrected the rising threat of a nuclear war and blasted a German minister for threatening President Vladimir Putin with arrest as a war criminal if he stepped foot in Germany. Now deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, Medvedev said any action by Germany would be tantamount to a declaration of war.
23 March 2023 (BBC)
The Bank of England today raised its key lending rate by a quarter of a point to 4.25 per cent, its highest in 14 years, after inflation spiked unexpectedly in February. “We were really a bit on a knife edge as to whether there would be a recession, Bank Governor Andrew Bailey said. “But I’m a bit more optimistic now” even though the economy was “not off to the races.”
23 March 2023 (Al Jazeera)
On the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Moscow for talks with Russia President Vladimir Putin U.S. Secretary of State is dismissing the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.” Describing Russia March 22 as “very much the junior partner” in the relationship, Blinken noted that China had so far declined to provide weapons to Moscow for its war in Ukraine.