Finance (International)

Terrorist’s death refocuses attention on Taliban

The weekend U.S. drone killing of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a Kabul “safe house” has resulted in renewed scrutiny of Afghanistan's Taliban rulers and further undermined their efforts to secure international recognition and desperately needed aid. The Taliban promised in 2020 that they would not harbour al Qaeda members. [node:read-more:link]

Latvia loses Russian gas imports

Natural gas supplies to Latvia have been cut off by the Russian energy giant Gasprom which accuses the EU state of violating purchase conditions without providing details. However, since gas accounts for only 27 per cent of Latvia’s total energy consumption, an economics ministry official suggests Gazprom’s move should not have a major impact. [node:read-more:link]

Streaming services bill could mean trade retaliation

Canada’s draft legislation which could monetize online streaming services is getting U.S. pushback, raising the prospect of retaliatory tariffs. Introduced last February and passed by the House of Commons June 21, Bill C-11 is now before the Senate. A previous version didn’t survive dissolution of the last Parliament and the possibility of retaliation was raised during the latest North American trade trilateral ministerial meeting. [node:read-more:link]

Biden and Xi revisit familiar issues

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, used a video call today, their fifth since Biden took office, to discuss for more than two hours the future of an increasingly complicated relationship. China’s ascendency as a global power, economic policies, human rights and the ongoing political clash over Taiwan remained key issues. [node:read-more:link]

First European rate hike since 2014

The European Central Bank today raised interest rates for the first time since 2014 in a bid to control widespread inflation. Announcing a 0.5 percentage point increase to zero from the negative rate previously in effect, the bank plans further hikes this year [node:read-more:link]

Putin meets Iranian and Turkish leaders

In only his second foreign trip since launching his “special military operation” against Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran today for a meeting with his Iranian counterpart about the war, its impact on global grain markets and the ongoing conflict in Syria. He was to meet later in the day with Iran’s supreme leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later [node:read-more:link]

Global economic outlook gloomy

IMF Chair Kristalina Georgieva is signalling retrenchment in the organization’s global economic outlook. In its April outlook, the IMF predicted 3.6 per cent growth for 2022 but the Bulgarian economist now says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, coupled with inflation and the ongoing pandemic are forcing a recalculation. [node:read-more:link]

Freeland protests Russian counterparts again

Russian officials at a G20 finance ministers meeting in Bali were told by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland today that she holds them personally responsible for “war crimes” in Ukraine. Freeland, whose maternal grandmother was Ukrainian, walked out in protest against Russians at a G20 ministerial in Washington in April. [node:read-more:link]

CRA: guilty until proven innocent?

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked by an Ottawa-based Muslim charity to direct the federal government to stop a “shoot first and hold a hearing later” when it comes to levying administrative penalties. The charity wants a review of a Federal Court of Appeal's refusal to freeze a Canada Revenue Agency directive that prohibited the charity from issuing tax receipts. [node:read-more:link]

Cross-border megaproject at risk

A proposed 233-kilometre transmission line to carry Quebec hydroelectricity to Massachusetts is facing a legal challenge in a Maine court 18 months after construction began. Even though it has the potential to eliminate three million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, the $1-billion project funded by Hydro-Quebec and Spanish-owned Central Maine Power was vetoed in a Maine referendum last November. [node:read-more:link]

Euro and the Greenback at parity

The U.S. dollar and the Euro reached parity today for the first time in two decades as the European currency has depreciated by some 12 per cent since the beginning of the year amid fears of recession stoked by inflation and energy uncertainty due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

New Canadian sanctions against Russia

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly used the backdrop of a G20 Summit in Indonesia today to announce new sanctions against Russian agents and organizations, notably focusing on disinformation efforts. The measure applies to 29 agents and 15 entities owned or controlled by the Russian government. [node:read-more:link]

“Oh those Russians . . .”

A prominent Russian legislator has mooted the notion that Russia can take back ownership of Alaska, for which the U.S. paid $7.2 million in 1867 and secured a Treaty of Cession. “Let America always remember: there is a part of its territory that is Russia,” says Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker in the Duma’s lower house. “When they attempt to appropriate our assets abroad, they should be aware that we also have something to claim back.” [node:read-more:link]

U.K. approves U.S. acquisition

The British government has approved a £2.6 billion takeover of Ultra Electronics, which manufactures a range of sensitive defence and security systems for the “Five Eyes”, by the Boston-based Advent International private equity firm. This was after months of discussion in London about the sale to a foreign entity and there were reports that U.S. officials threatened to limit intelligence-sharing if the deal wasn’t approved. [node:read-more:link]

Iran nuclear talks become more complicated

Amid diplomatic talks aimed at rebooting a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran that the U.S. abandoned in 2018, the White House unveiled a new round of Iran-related sanctions July 6. It said they target “an international network of individuals and entities” that the Treasury Department says facilitated the sale of U.S.-sanctioned Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia. [node:read-more:link]


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