Stories We’re Watching
Azov Sea Crisis: Ukraine bars Russian men aged 16-60 from entry, warns Russian forces amassing along border
Earlier today Ukraine banned entry to Russian men aged 16 to 60. The ban comes amid growing tensions in the region following last weekend’s aggression in the Azov Sea. Russian forces opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian ships. Earlier this week Ukraine’s Parliament introduced martial law, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has warned of Russian tanks amassing on his country’s border. Yesterday President Trump canceled the G-20 meeting with President Putin over Russian capture of Ukrainian sailors, and shortly thereafter the Russian rouble fell.
- Reuters: Ukraine bars entry to Russian men of combat age, EU sees renewal of
- Haaretz: Citing Fear of Invasion, Ukraine Bars Entry to Russian Men of ‘Combat Age’
- Evening Standard: Russian tanks ‘lining up on our border’, warns Ukraine president amid growing tensions
G-20 Summit Day One Updates
The Group 20 summit of the leaders of the world’s top economies officially opened earlier today amid high drama and deep divisions. As of last night, most member nations had yet to reach advanced agreements on key issues including trade and climate change. Analysts and markets are watching closely the official and unofficial meetings of Presidents Trump, Xi, Putin, and Erdogan as well as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Earlier today Canada, Mexico, and the US signed into agreement USMCA. Analysts expect further meetings to center around the US-China trade war, Brexit, Ukraine-Russian aggression, and possibly fallout over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Tomorrow Presidents Trump and Xi are scheduled to have a high-stakes dinner. Some analysts have questioned whether the countries will be able to reach enough consensus on the issue to include it in the summit’s final communique.
- Axios: Trump-Xi dinner puts billions of dollars on the table
- Haaretz: Analysis Erdogan May Help Trump and Absolve MBS, but Not for Free
- Reuters: World leaders set to convene Argentina summit clouded by disputes
North American leaders sign USMCA trade deal
Earlier today at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, leaders of one of the world’s largest free trade zones signed a new United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). President Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau, and Mexico’s President Nieto were hopeful to resolve ongoing disputes between the US and its two closest trade partners. NAFTA impacted millions of jobs, trade-dependent communities, and investments and was a critical part of the US economy for nearly 25 years.
USMCA features critical updates in data protection and intellectual property.
- Vox: US, Canada, Mexico sign NAFTA replacement at G20
- Atlantic Council: USMCA at Signing: Implications for Consumers and the Road Ahead
- The Economist: The three countries in North America share an interconnected economy
- Politico: NAFTA 2.0 is signed — but it’s far from finished
Global markets, oil down ahead of G-20 Summit
The market is reeling ahead of next week’s official meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna. Oil prices have decreased more than 30% since September. Industry experts expect OPEC members and non-members to discuss production cuts. Most major markets appeared frozen, waiting for the outcome of Saturday’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi. Regardless, energy analysts expect persistently low prices given slower oil demand growth and strong US supply next year. Europe’s main share indexes in London, Frankfurt and Paris as well as Wall Street futures were all down.
- Reuters: Oil toils after worst month in a decade, Deutsche sinks DAX
- Market Watch: Here’s what’s at stake in the oil market when OPEC and Russia meet next week
- Oil Price: Russia: Production Cuts Are Needed To Stabilize Oil Markets
- Bloomberg: Even If OPEC Cuts, Oil Prices Could Still Fall in 2019
Beijing lashes out at US for South China Sea sail-by
Earlier today China’s foreign ministry spokesperson cited “excessive maritime claims” by the US and issued “stern representations” after the US Naval Ship, USS Chancellorsville, passed by the Parcel Islands on Monday. China claims that the ship entered Chinese waters without permission. Representatives from the Peoples Liberation Army said that they PLA had ships and planes to monitor the US guided-missile cruiser and to warn it to leave. For China, this isn’t the first US Naval provocation in the South China Sea. The US criticizes China’s construction of islands and its installation of military bases on them. China accuses the US of military provocations with its naval fleet. Security analysts say that US ‘freedom of navigation operations’ challenge Chinese claims of sovereignty of the South China Sea.
- Channel NewsAsia: China has ‘stern’ words with US over ship in South China Sea
- South China Morning Post: US sends guided-missile cruiser to South China Sea to challenge
- The Japan Times: US sends warship near South China Sea islets ahead of G20 summit
US accuses Iran of violating UN arms export ban in Yemen
Yesterday the US accused Iran of violating of a UN arms export ban by providing weapons to rebels in Afghanistan and Yemen. Earlier this week, at a presentation at a Washington military base, US defense officials displayed weapons they claim to have been supplied by Iran to militants in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Bahrain. The accusation comes amid increasing tension following the reinstatement of US sanctions two months ago. The US special representative for Iran said that he hoped the display would build support for the reimposed sanctions. It’s not the first time Iran has faced such allegations: at the beginning of the year a United Nations panel found Iran in violation of an arms embargo. Iran has denied past accusations.
- Associated Press: US: Iran violating UN arms export ban in Yemen, Afghanistan
- Department of Defense: Iran Expands Military Tentacles, State Department Advisor Says
- RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty: US Accuses Iran Of Violating UN Arms Export Ban
- Reuters: Special Report: How Iran spreads disinformation around the world
- CNN: US displays weapons it says Iran provided to militants
From Deep State Radio
DeepTech: Outcry over China’s FrankenBabies Shuts Down Research
Researchers at China’s Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen are said to have used CRISPR technology on unimplanted embryos to eliminate CCR5, a gene responsible for vulnerability to HIV, smallpox, and cholera. The researchers began recruiting couples to create gene-edited babies last year; initially, they declined to confirm whether the experiments resulted in any live births. Lead researcher He Jiankui sparked outrage when he confirmed that his team had altered the genes of twin baby girls so they could not contract HIV. CRISPR has allowed scientists to essentially press ‘ctrl-F’ on gene sequences. Security experts have warned that ethical and moral disagreements over the use of gene editing could spark a new cold war. Experts are set to discuss these dilemmas as well as legal, regulatory, and policy considerations this week in Hong Kong at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing. But don’t fear the Stepford Children just yet: researchers warn that we’re a long way from traits on demand, and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has reportedly already shut down the research. Read More.
FP Interrupted – The G20
All eyes are on Buenos Aires this weekend. The leaders of the Group of 20 strongest economies, aka G20, (we’ve got a list of those at the end) meet for their annual summit, supposedly to ensure global financial stability. Get that, Donald? The U.S. president’s “America First,” which has been replete with tariffs, hasn’t exactly engendered warm feelings — or confidence. It’s unlikely that will change this weekend. Among the key meetings will be one between Trump and China’s President, Xi Jinping. Trump has said he won’t back down with further tariffs on China, especially as the Asian giant has upped its espionage on U.S. tech firms. Read More.
Washington For Beautiful People: Special Premiere Episode: After Working for Comey and Mueller, He Realized He Couldn’t Work For Trump
When Josh Campbell joined the FBI, he was told one thing: FBI doesn’t lie. Josh worked for Comey, he worked for Mueller and learned that integrity is the backbone of the Bureau. So when faced with a President who couldn’t find “truth” with a map, Waze and the resurrected ghosts of Rand & McNally, he decided to leave the career he loved and joined CNN. On the premiere episode of “Washington for Beautiful People”, the L.A.-based CNN Commentator shares insights into his work with Mueller and Comey, why he wrote his now famous NYT Oped, where he thinks the investigations are going and most importantly we talk about his ridiculously adorable corgi. Listen.