Trump rejects proposal for Russia to interrogate US citizens

US President Donald Trump has rejected a proposal made by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin for Russia be allowed to question US citizens.

During the Trump-Putin Summit that took place in Helsinki (Finland), Putin suggested that he might allow access to 12 Russians indicted by the United States for hacking Democrats’ emails during the 2016 elections. Trump has rejected that suggestion.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it.”

The White House was hoping that Trump will agree to Putin’s suggestion.

“Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” she said.

Putin said he would let US prosecutors interview the 12 Russians in exchange for Russian access to US nationals the Kremlin accuses of “illegal actions”.

Source: BBC

Trump shook NATO leaders with his demands

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Summit saw shocking demands from US President Donald Trump.  Trump demanded leaders to immediately pour billions into their military budgets, raising questions about his commitment to the alliance, before he reiterated that the United States would still fight on behalf of its Western allies.

Washington Post reports that Trump has demanded that allies bolster their defence budgets to 2% of gross domestic product by January.

Some diplomats perceived Trump’s comments as threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO.

The US President declared victory in his quest to shake new pledges from allies.

“I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially. Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before.” Trump said.

In 2014, NATO member nations committed to each spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024. However, only eight countries will hit the bar this year, and seven more have unveiled road maps to meet the goal on time.

Trump pointed to what he said were $33 billion in NATO defence spending increases this year as evidence that his push was having an effect.

According to Washington Post, U.S. allies plan to increase spending by $11 billion this year.

Trump stated that NATO nations had been decreasing their spending until he was elected. They began their spending increases after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, although the increases have accelerated in response to Trump.

The US President will be flying to Helsinki on 16 July to sit down with Russian leader Vladimir Putin for a one-on-one meeting.

Experts and NATO allies are afraid that the US President might end up agreeing to what would be good for Russia, but bad for the US and NATO.

Source: Washington Post


India invites Donald Trump to be chief guest

The Indian government has extended an invite to US President Donald Trump to be the chief guest at the 2019 Republic Day Parade.

The Times of India (TOI) claimed that the Trump administration was “favourably considering” the invite.

According to Economic Times, the invite is also a test for India’s relations with Trump. Almost every major country has struggled to cope with the unpredictable and controversial leader and India has learnt the hard way that it is hardly an exception.

The TOI report included that the invite was followed up with several rounds of diplomatic engagement.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had predecessor Barack Obama as his first Republic Day guest in 2015.

India is eyeing a waiver from sanctions that the US is threatening to impose on those importing crude from Iran.


America torn between nominated Supreme Court Justice

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court late Monday evening to protest President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the high court. The nomination comes after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement was announced on the 27 June 2018. The protestors believe the conservative Judge Kavanaugh might overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalised abortion throughout the country. 

The protest was met with a clash from the pro-abortion group with slogans – “My Body, my choice” whist the anti-abortion group, which is seen as Kavanaugh supporters chanted “Abortion is murder”. The LGBTQ group also believe that Kavanaugh has no record that indicates the willingness to support the LGBTQ people’s constitutional rights.

The nomination will only be confirmed when the Senate votes later this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to bring up Kavanaugh’s name. 

(Source: The Hill)

Russia initiates WTO dispute over US steel, aluminium duties

Russia has approached the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with a request to consult with the United States regarding steel and aluminium duties imposed by Washington.

The WTO press service said: “The Russian Federation has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States regarding US duties on certain imported steel and aluminum products. The request was circulated to WTO members on 2 July.”

“Russia claims the US duties of 25% and 10% on imports of steel and aluminium products respectively are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards.”

This year in March, the U.S introduced higher import duties on steel and aluminium products.

According to Russian news agency Tass , this is the 7th complaint initiated by WTO members against US duties on steel and aluminium. China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Norway filed similar complaints to WTO earlier.

WTO included that consultations provide an opportunity to discuss the matter and find a solution without further proceedings. However, if they are unsuccessful, the complaining party will have a right to request establishment of a panel of arbitrators after 60 days. 


Trump & Putin to meet before their upcoming summit.

U.S President Donald Trump plans to have a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of their summit which will take place in Helsinki, Finland.

BBC stated that Trump has shown kinship for meeting individually with his counterparts before opening the room to more delegates.

Trump has already assessed their interpersonal ties up close, but wants more time to develop the leader-to-leader relationship.

National security advisor John Bolton said: “The goal of this meeting really is for the two leaders to have a chance to sit down, not in the context of some larger multilateral meeting, but just the two of them, to go over what is on their mind about a whole range of issues.”

Bolton believes that despite Putin denying this, Moscow attempted to sway the 2016 US Presidential contest.

Trump is expected to begin formal preparations for the Putin meeting in the coming days. The meeting is likely to include brief sessions with Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with other national security officials.

According to BBC, Trump has told planners he wants the event to feel monumental, in the style of previous summit meetings between US and Russian leaders.


Source: BBC



Trump administration blocks China Mobile in the US

The administration of United States President, Donald Trump has blocked one of the world’s biggest phone carriers, China Mobile, to provide telecom services within the US, citing national security concerns.

According to BBC, the state-owned China Mobile applied to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a licence in 2011, but The US Department of Commerce has since recommended that the licence request be denied.

The advice comes amids rising trade tensions between the US and China.

Assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S Commerce Department, David J Redl said: “After significant engagement with China Mobile, concerns about increased risks to US law enforcement and national security interests were unable to be resolved.”

“Therefore, the executive branch of the US government, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA] recommends that the FCC deny China Mobile’s Section 214 license request,” Redl added.

In April, the Commerce Department found that the Chinese state-owned technology giant ZTE had violated trade bans with North Korea and Iran.

As part of the ongoing trade spat between the US and China, the two giants are expected to introduce further tariffs on each other’s goods this coming Friday.

The Trump administration is expected to bring into effect the first tranche of 25% tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods.

In addition, China is expected to enact its first round of tariffs on $34bn worth of US products.


Source: BBC

The ongoing Trade War between the US and China

On the 3rd of April, The US President Donald Trump revealed a list of more than 1,300 Chinese exports products that he said he wants to put a 25% tariffs on. The tariffs are intended to punish Beijing for restricting US investment in China and also on allegation of stealing American companies’ intellectual property. This would affect about $50 billion worth of Chinese exports.

The day following the Trump announcement, China struck back, with its own list of US exports products that it was planning to hit with 25 percent tariffs too. The proposed package could affect more than 100 American-made products, including top US agricultural export to China. This would cover about $50 billion worth of US exports.

Straight after the China announcement, Trump directed his trade team to identify more tariffs to add $100 billion worth of goods, clearly intending to escalate even further after seeing Beijing’s readiness to match his initial tariffs.

Early May, President Donald Trump sent his top economic advisors to Beijing for talks to prevent a possible trade war with China. The senior economic advisors met with Chinese officials to discuss the two countries’ trade disagreements. The US wants China to import more American goods and want them to stop forcing American companies to hand over their prized intellectual property if they want to do business in China.

Some of the US tariffs will be applied as of 6 July, and the White House is expected to announce restrictions on investments by Chinese companies in the United States by the 30th June. Trump has said that if China increases its tariffs again in response to the latest U.S. tariffs increase, the US will “meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.” He added that he has “an excellent relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and they “will continue working together on many issues.”

The global stock markets have weakened both the dollar and the Chinese yuan on Tuesday following Trump’s announcement that after all legal processes are complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced, Shanghai stocks plunged to two-year lows.


Source: South China Morning

What does the US/Mexico border wall mean for the 2026 FIFA World Cup?

Planned construction on the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border began on Friday in San Diego. A section of the border wall that features an “anti-climbing plate” will replace about 14 miles of improvised border fencing created from scrap metal. This section will begin about a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean and will stand between 18-30 feet tall.

RELATED NEWS: Mexico sets tariffs against US products

The United States, Mexico and Canada recently jointly won the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.  That tournament will be the first in FIFA history to have 48 teams playing in 16 stadiums, with three host countries simultaneous hosting the opening games. The United States will host 60 of the 80 matches, including all from the quarterfinals and finals, while Mexico and Canada share 10 matches each, according to the bid agreement.

RELATED NEWS: FIFA 2026 World Cup Votes: Morocco Vs North America

The wall being built between USA and Mexico has people questioning the corporation between the two countries leading to the World Cup, whether the wall and trade sanctions posted by the US Government will affect the planning process between the trios. Canada has also spoken out against the trade sanctions by the US Government and saw an escalated feud between US President, Trump and Canada Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Clearly the relationship between the US and the other two countries is not at a high.

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

USA could brandish more tariffs on China this week

With the North Korean summit out of the way, Washington is now expected to announce a new list of tariffs on Chinese goods, as early as the coming week. US President Donald Trump is using the China-US trade deficit as well as China not closing border trade channels with North Korea as justification for this new round of tariffs.

The protection of America’s steel and aluminum industry from China’s trade practices is also one of President Trump’s campaign pledges. The Chinese-American relationship has been very unpredictable since Trump took the White House, with him calling Chinese President Xi Jinping his friend, while at the same time blasting China on Twitter about the US-China trade deficit.

The new set of tariffs were unexpected, considering that China was one of the countries that worked to make sure the US-Korea Summit took place. China was also hit by US tariffs earlier this year, which was met with a response by Chinese leaders on American goods in April. Trump stated that he has no choice but to issue new tariffs. Even though many economic analysts are predicting both US and China will suffer as a result, it is widely expect that China will retaliate with their own set of tariffs on US companies and goods.

Trump did however, lift a US ban placed on Chinese telecommunication giant ZTE allowing for US companies to resume business with ZTE again. Unfortunately US Congress is moving to place measures that will restrict the removal of the ZTE sanctions. By the 30th of June 2018, Trump is also planning to launch a new investment restriction and export controls, to protect the US Tech Industry from a Chinese assault.

The new American protectionist policy has created fears around the world of a looming trade war, as any country can retaliate with their own set of tariffs, as well as the ripple effects of tariff on the global economy even countries not tariffed can indirectly be effect by such actions.