February Week 3

These news updates are intended to provide an overview of daily news from media sources. To get our daily analysis and intel updates on financial and geopolitical events, you can subscribe to our premium podcast series.

26th February 2017:

  1. Iran has not established any diplomatic contacts with the new US administration as yet
  2. US President Donald Trump will not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner
  3. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has ordered the government to provide housing to Christians fleeing violence on the Sinai peninsula
  4. The US administration is thinking over whether the nation should stay on the UN Human Rights Council roster
  5. The Malaysian police declared the airport terminal, where the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had been killed, using a highly toxic liquid, safe after finishing checking it for toxins
  6. Half of Germans doubt that Martin Schulz will become the country’s next chancellor
  7. Yemeni armed forces, supported by air force of Arab coalition, started an operation to restore control over Al Hudaydah governorate in the west of the country
  8. UK authorities are looking to approve a new immigration policy, granting multi-year working visas to immigrants involved in key sectors of the country’s economy while limiting access to benefits for the newcomers before Brexit
  9. Many refugee centers in Germany worth millions of euros remain empty despite large-scale government investment
  10. The United States condemns a recent attack on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in eastern Ukraine
  11. The number of the US citizens disapproving of President Donald Trump’s performance has dropped by 6%  in five days and now stands at 48%



25th February 2017:

  1. The French financial prosecutor’s office has launched an official investigation into the alleged fake employment of the Republican nominee Francois Fillon’s wife
  2. The gap between the price of an ounce of gold and one bitcoin has never been so close. The cryptocurrency, touted as a workaround to government oversight, has topped $1200 per coin for the first time
  3. French Ambassador to the United Nations, Francois Delattre, said that France hopes to achieve consensus amongst UN Security Council members related to a draft resolution on the use of chemical weapons in Syria
  4. Former US Vice President Al Gore has sold nearly half of his holdings of Apple stock, worth almost $30 million, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission
  5. The Russian Emergencies Ministry has sent humanitarian aid to Tajikistan in order to help avalanche survivors
  6. The Russian Export Center has provided assistance in projects worth $460 million to Azerbaijan over a two year period
  7. Five people suspected of plotting a October 2016 coup attempt in Montenegro signed plea agreements with the country’s Special State Prosecutor’s Office and were released from custody
  8. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has sent letters to the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council chairman over Saturday’s twin terror attacks at Syrian government’s military facilities in the city of Homs
  9. Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton released an address to supporters, calling on the party’s voters to “keep fighting”
  10. A man apparently armed with a knife rammed a car into pedestrians in the centre of the German city of Heidelberg, local N24 TV channel reported citing police. Three are reportedly injured and one person killed
  11. Following the arrest of perhaps the highest-profile critic of his drug war, Senator Leila de Lima, thousands flooded the streets of Manila, protesting against Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his crackdown



24th February 2017:

  1. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic trip to Australia was marred by controversy, after protesters decried him as a ‘war criminal.’ The Sydney protests featured depictions of Netanyahu as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, along with Palestinian and Hezbollah flags
  2. The Police said that that the substance used to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam was a chemical weapon known as “VX Nerve Agent”
  3. Iran plans to start selling 100,000 barrels of oil a day to Russia within the next 15 days, Iranian Student New Agency (ISNA) wrote, citing the country’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh
  4. US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, pushed to exclude criticism of the Paris climate agreement from an executive order to be signed soon, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing its sources
  5. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Beijing hopes to work together with Washington and Pyongyang to support peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula
  6. Russia is categorically against the possible suspension of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and will insist on extension of the document, Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Russian upper house of parliament said
  7. French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused earlier this week to appear for questioning in connection with an inquiry into EU jobs for her assistants, her attorney told local media
  8. Fall in clean energy tariffs remains key for Indian political parties. Providing electricity to 1.3 billion populations at cheaper rates has remained a key election pledge for them in recent times
  9. South Korea approved a package worth $530 million to step up defense fortifications against North Korea, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said
  10. The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) has become more popular than the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CDU/CSU) for the first time since October 2006, a poll has revealed
  11. While the cost of attending university is high and rising in many countries, most notably in the UK and US, Germany has been found to be unique in offering completely free university tuition. But will the country follow in the footsteps of others and saddle graduates with lifelong debts?
  12. The UK Labour party’s loss to the Conservatives of a parliamentary seat it has held in a staunchly working-class area of Britain that it had held since 1935 is the latest sign of the implosion of the Labour party under its leader Jeremy Corbyn
  13. Google’s parent company Alphabet has filed a lawsuit against Uber, accusing the transportation giant of stealing its technology
  14. A scale model of a passenger jet that is designed to travel faster than the speed of sound has undergone its first in a series of wind tunnel tests, the US defense and aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin has announced in a press release
  15. Former Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev appeared in court, despite being the head of a political party currently engaged in an election campaign



23rd February 2017:

  1. Christine Lagarde has expressed confidence following her first series of talks with representatives of the Trump administration
  2. In its continuing bid to go solar, India has announced that 7,000 railway stations across the country will be converted to solar power. The government intends to pay for these and other renewable energy sources through a tax on coal, as part of an initiative to increase India’s solar capacity from 9 gigawatts in 2017 to 100 by 2022
  3. Germany intedns increasing the size of its military by 10% over the next seven years, the defense ministry announced, just one day after US Vice President Mike Pence called on allies in Europe to increase their commitment to NATO
  4. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres claims that the United Nations system should have a new office for counter-terrorism
  5. The EU is right to pursue a free trade agreement with Japan which should form part of a wider “pivot to Asia” policy that would open up more markets in Southeast Asia, Patrick Messerlin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Sciences Po Paris and Chairman of European Centre for International Political Economy’s Steering Committee, said
  6. Russia’s envoy to the UN Office in Geneva said that Russia regrets that Astana and Hmeymim platforms of Syrian opposition were not invited to the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva and believes it should be remedied in the future
  7. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has been forced to put back his plan for a reformed Europe until December, as EU leaders, including the Netherlands and Germany, fear his federalist approach would stoke up anti-EU sentiment
  8. Project Veritas, a controversial investigative journalism initiative that made waves multiple times during the election season, has released 119 hours of secretly recorded raw audio from a source within the Atlanta CNN headquarters
  9. Politicians in the Green party in the European Parliament have heavily criticized the European Commission for giving Germany “special treatment” and for being excessively hard on Italy in its latest report into the financial state of each of the Eurozone countries
  10. Sigmar Gabriel said that German Foreign Ministry called on all sides to the Syrian crisis to take part in the Geneva talks, seriously and constructively.
  11. Amid criticism of Germany’s policy of saving rather than spending its budget surplus, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) has reported that last year’s budget surplus was the largest the country has achieved since 1990
  12. The Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control has sanctioned the Syrian company Metallic Manufacturing Factory for links to Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre
  13. Staffan de Mistura said he would hold bilateral meetings with participants in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva



22nd February 2017:

  1. As Israel begins work on its “American road” project in East Jerusalem’s Jabal al-Mukaber area, hundred of Palestinian homes lie directly in its path
  2. US Customs agents twice denied a Canadian man entry into the US after reading personal information on his mobile phone
  3. The White House announced that Mike Pence travelled to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in discussions with workers of the Caterpillar equipment exclusive dealer Fabick Cat
  4. In Canada’s Ontario, the Liberal Party has rolled out a universal basic income (UBI) program to combat poverty in three of its cities
  5. The Central Bank of Mexico will provide up to $20 billion in currency hedges to aid the national currency that has seriously depreciated over the last few months
  6. US President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser is on the record as wanting to deter Russia in Europe but is also flexible in his approach to this matter
  7. A report by Amnesty International reveals that the Ukrainian government has repeatedly repressed members of the media located in the country’s eastern regions or holding pro-Russian sentiments
  8. An Israeli military plane carried out an airstrike on the Syrian government forces stationed in the western countryside of Damascus near the Lebanese border
  9. The Russian Aerospace Forces have eliminated more than 3,000 militants, including 26 warlords, in Syria. Their aircraft have, this far, made 1,760 sorties in 2017. The minister underscored the key role of special task forces in the fight against terrorists
  10. According to reports, UN High Commissioner for Refugees expressed gratitude to Russia’s First Deputy Interior Minister for the country’s efforts to host Ukrainian refugees
  11. In order to become an EU member state Serbia apparently would have to recognize Kosovo’s independence and impose sanctions against Russia
  12. Nord Stream 2 AG company said that Swiss Allseas company has received a contract on pipelaying activities for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project
  13. Central Command commander Gen. Joseph Votel said that United States may need to send more troops to fight Daesh in Syria
  14. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that Ankara is hopeful of reaching a settlement for the extradition of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, suspected by Ankara of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt
  15. The German state of Bavaria has adopted a draft bill banning facial coverings in public places, the ruling CSU party announced
  16. After a flurry of military drills that included artillery, tank, and helicopter exercises, an Iran Revolutionary Guard official warned that underestimating Iran’s military prowess could lead to the US being on the wrong end of a “strong slap in the face”
  17. Independent French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said that he has agreed to an alliance with Francois Bayrou, a French centre politician and the leader of the Democratic Movement party (MoDem)



21st February 2017:

  1. The UN’s high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, travelled to Moscow to promote closer cooperation with Russia on humanitarian aid
  2. Ukraine has become the largest importer of meat and beer from Russia, according to the latest statistics from Russia’s Federal Customs Service
  3. French President Francois Hollande has called a mini-summit at the Palace of Versailles, inviting the leaders of Germany, Italy and Spain to map out a new way forward for the EU, post-Brexit
  4. Aid spending in the UK and Europe has come under increasing scrutiny lately, with calls for it to be more transparent. As a result, blockchain, a software platform for digital assets, could be the solution to the funding of humanitarian issues
  5. A Brazilian scientist working at the Madrid Institute of Microelectronics has come up with a quick new test for the HIV virus which could prove a lifesaver
  6. Malta, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, is at the centre of an investigation in tax avoidance, after it emerged that two close aides to the PM Joseph Muscat were in the process of setting up accounts with a bank in the Bahamas when the Panama Papers were published
  7. The world is facing a shortfall of cybersecurity specialists, a report by the Global Information Security Workforce, a non-profit organization dedicated to making the world safer, has revealed
  8. Department of Defense spokesperson Jeff Davis said that United States is not currently looking to boost cooperation with Russia in Syria beyond the existing deconfliction channel
  9. According to reports, Chinese Premier and French Prime Minister have announced their intention to strengthen nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries
  10. Unexplained levels of increased radiation have been detected by monitoring stations throughout Northern and Western Europe. The elevated levels are not thought to be dangerous to humans, but officials say the radiation is evidence of a possible nuclear leak somewhere in Europe
  11. The UK House of Commons has passed the Magnitsky amendment to the Criminal Finances Bill that, if adopted by the House of Lords, will allow to freeze the UK assets of international human rights violators
  12. The Norwegian Minister of the European Economic Area and EU Affairs says that Norway would like to participate in the arrangements between London and Brussels regarding the internal market



20th February 2017:

  1. Over 217,000 Iraqis have fled Mosul since the start of an operation to liberate the city from the Daesh terrorist group
  2. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, South Korea warned that its northern neighbour could reach a nuclear “tipping point” in just a few years
  3. Retired General Jim Jones, the first national security adviser to former US president Barack Obama, has fiercely criticised the president’s actions on Syria, calling it a “colossal mistake” to draw a “red line”
  4. Russia intends to supply US law enforcement agencies with non-lethal weapons such as the Osa (“Wasp”) handguns
  5. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree on the recognition of the passports of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) does not run counter to the Minsk agreements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said
  6. US Vice President Mike Pence expressed his agreement on the issues of European Union, international order and security, European Council President Donald Tusk said
  7. The US security services are monitoring conversations of Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak, according to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
  8. The decision by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to offer a state visit to US President Donald Trump has been described as “disgraceful” on the day the UK House of Commons debates the pros and cons of the visit
  9. Since the UK voted to leave the EU nearly eight months ago, there have been concerns of a post-Brexit technology exodus, in which companies would look to relocate elsewhere in the EU. Amazon, however, are only the latest tech giant to announce they will be expanding their workforce in Britain
  10. German government spokesman said that planned visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Algeria has been put off indefinitely at the request of the Algerian government.
  11. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Greece’s lenders have come to a common position and will send a technical mission back to Athens
  12. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that United States urged the Ukrainian authorities to boost efforts to fight corruption and continue economic and political reforms
  13. Israeli bulldozers demolished a pipeline in the Jordan Valley region, which provided at least 47 Palestinian families with water, according to local media
  14. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin died at the age of 64, just a day before his 65th birthday, in New York
  15. Industry and Trade Minister said that Russia and the United Arab Emirates agreed to cooperate on the construction of railways, paper mills and other infrastructure projects in Russia
  16. Over 4 million refugees will flee to Europe, if Britain and other NATO nations pull their troops out of Afghanistan too soon, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told an audience at the Munich Security Conference
  17. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is expected to step down next month amid criticism in dealing with the corruption scandal in police, Irish media reported