Finance (International)

More U.S. sanctions on Syria

Syria’s central bank, several businesses and members of President Bashar al-Assad’s family are among the targets of a new round of U.S. economic sanctions designed to push his government back to UN-led talks to end a nearly decade-old civil war. “The  United States will  continue to seek accountability for those prolonging this conflict,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. [node:read-more:link]

South Korea-Iran tensions rising

A South Korean naval vessel stationed off Somalia as a piracy deterrent has been ordered closer to the Strait of Hormuz as tensions rise between Seoul and Iran over the seizer of a South Korean tanker. Tehran says the ship was polluting the sea during a transit from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, a claim the tanker captain has denied. Meanwhile, Seoul plans a delegation to Tehran “at the earliest possible date” to try to negotiation the tanker’s release. [node:read-more:link]

NAFTA 2.0 clears Congress

The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on final congressional approval 16 January of a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranded by President Donald Trump as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is expected to sign the bill next week.  [node:read-more:link]

Chinese charged in data breach

The U.S. has identified four Chinese military officers it has charged with overseeing a massive 2017 cyber attack on Equifax which resulted in the theft of personal data on more than 147 Americans and some foreign nationals listed in the credit-rating agency’s files. The whereabouts of the four suspects is unknown and China denies the allegations. [node:read-more:link]

EU-China relationship examined

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that neither the European Union nor China, having benefited from their evolving relationship, seeks confrontation or an adversarial relationship going forward. However, in an “insights paper” published 03 March, SIPRI cautions that increasing connection between military and non-military dimensions of security have prompted EU states to develop new ways of addressing potential threats to transport and digital communications networks. [node:read-more:link]

Terror financing countermeasures lagging

Nearly 16 years after the 9/11 Commission released its report on the 2001 attacks on the U.S., the commission’s advice on how to counter terrorism financing evidently has been largely “forgotten”, according to a paper released 10 March by the Royal United Services Institute. Targeting policymakers, law enforcement and the private sector, it urges a more informed and dynamic response to an evolving threat. [node:read-more:link]

Canada hits back at Trump tariff

Just five weeks after the new North American free trade agreement went into effect, U.S. President Donald Trump’s announced 6 August that he would impose a 10 per cent import tariff on Canadian aluminum. As with a previous aluminum tariff, Trump cited national security concerns. In Ottawa, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland promised “dollar-for-dollar countermeasures.”  [node:read-more:link]

Boeing bails from Embraer deal

Boeing Co. has withdrawn from a $4.2-billion deal to buy Brazil-based Embraer's commercial aircraft division. The U.S. giant accused Embraer of having not met conditions for finalizing the sale but the São Paulo-based company countered that Boeing’s financial difficulties were the reason. [node:read-more:link]

Boeing 737 Max settlement

Boeing will pay $2.5 billion to settle a criminal charge of defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with development of its 737 Max aircraft. The Justice Department says the total includes a criminal fine as well as payments to the families of victims of two crashes and to airlines and prospective passengers affected by the grounding of the global fleet. Federal prosecutors said Boeing employees had concealed critical information from the regulators. [node:read-more:link]

Arctic a global bellwether

In what is described as “the first overall assessment of Canada's Arctic Ocean”, dozens of federal scientists and Inuit observers have concluded that the region may be changing faster than any other body of water on the planet, with economic and strategic implications. “As the Arctic changes, the rest of the ecosystem is going to track with those changes,” says the project's lead scientist, Andrea Niemi of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “There isn't going to be a delay.” [node:read-more:link]

Aircraft subsidy fight escalating

Continuing a long-running fight with the European Union over subsidies to their aircraft manufacturing sectors, the U.S. plans to hike its tariff on Airbus and aircraft parts to 15 per cent next month. The action targets EU members where Airbus parts are made: Britain, France, Germany and Spain. The EU has long insisted that the U.S. subsidizes Boeing, Airbus’ main competitor in the global commercial aircraft market. [node:read-more:link]

Shell responsible for pipeline leaks

An appeals court in The Netherlands has ruled that the Nigerian branch of Royal Dutch Shell is responsible for environment damage caused by leaks in the Niger Delta. The company has been ordered to compensate farmers and take measure to prevent further damage. Shell argued that the leaks were due to “sabotage”, a reference to years of local populations stealing fuel, but the court said the company had not proven its case “beyond reasonable doubt.” [node:read-more:link]

Washington thaws frozen funds

An 11th-hour move by his predecessor to rescind $27 billion in funding for 73 U.S. departmental and agency programs has been reversed by President Joe Biden. The Trump administration saw the funding, much of it tied to foreign aid, as “wasteful and unnecessary.” [node:read-more:link]

New WTO head from Nigeria

A deadlock over the appointment of a new director general at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization is over. The U.S. has expressed “strong support” for former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who had been the frontrunner until the Trump administration said it preferred South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee. [node:read-more:link]

Former Saudi spymaster’s assets frozen

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has frozen the assets of a former Saudi intelligence chief now living in exile in Toronto. Charged at home with having embezzled billions of dollars, Saad Aljabri has luxury properties in several countries, including Canada. Aljabri says the case is “political motivated” by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. [node:read-more:link]


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