Finance (International)

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]

Chinese-Canadian billionaire on trial

Canada’s embassy in Beijing has confirmed that a China-born businessman with Canadian citizenship was due to go on trial July 4 but so far has been denied access to the trial, which is believed to part of a crackdown on conglomerates. Xiao Jianhua, known to have links with the Chinese Communist Party elite, has not been seen since 2017 when he was abducted in Hong Kong. [node:read-more:link]

Switzerland an oligarch haven

Switzerland was accused by one of its own non-governmental organizations of having become a “safe haven” for Russian oligarchs and as a trading hub for Russian oil, grain and coal. Referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Public Eye urged the government to “use all levers at its disposal to stop the financing of this inhuman aggression.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia consolidates energy holding

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized the takeover a major oil and gas project in which London-based Shell and two Japanese companies have major stakes. Shell, which has a 27.5 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-2 project, which is 50 per cent owned by Russia’s Gazprom and accounts for four per cent of the global liquefied natural gas production, said in February that it was prepared to pull out and take a take a £3.8-billion hit. [node:read-more:link]

G7 leaders unequivocally onside with Ukraine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his counterparts from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S., today pledged ongoing support for Ukraine. “We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” they said in a statement on the second day of their G7 summit in Germany which also included EU representatives. [node:read-more:link]

China’s forced labour issue

The U.S. is pressing its allies to address forced labour practices in China’s Xinjiang region, kickstarting the campaign by implementing a law that bans goods from the region where it accuses authorities of genocide against Muslim minorities. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the goal is freedom from “the use of forced labour, to speak out against atrocities in Xinjiang, and to join us in calling on the government of the . . . to immediately end atrocities and human rights abuses.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran nuclear talks back on?

The European Union’s top diplomat says a “long and positive” weekend meeting with Iran’s foreign minister has set the stage for a resumption of stall nuclear negotiations. Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Nuclear Policy, said new talks would focus on “resolving the last outstanding issues” which include U.S. sanctions. [node:read-more:link]


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