May – Week 1

These news updates are intended to provide an overview of daily news from media sources. To get our own comprehensive daily analysis and high-level intelligence reports, we invite you to subscribe to our podcast series. For more information, visit the premium content page.

 

7th May 2017:

  1. Turkish Airlines started distributing laptops to its business class travellers en route to the United States. The same practice will be implemented for UK-bound VIP passengers starting May 12.

  2. Donald Trump discussed with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski the political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

  3. The situation in Syria’s areas where the memorandum on the creation of de-escalation zones came into force remains stable, the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said.

  4. North Korea has detained another American citizen suspected of “hostile acts” against the country.

  5. United States Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered a review of the national ballistic missile defense system, according to a statement on the Pentagon’s official website.

  6. The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump needs to be prepared thoroughly and Moscow is working on it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

  7. Russian energy giant Gazprom has started construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline along the bottom of the Black Sea.

  8. Wikileaks claimed that then-US President Barack Obama intervened in the French presidential election on the behalf of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

  9. A bipartisan bill to impose sanctions on Russia over alleged meddling in Ukraine, Syria and the 2016 United States presidential election has been put on hold until the Senate Intelligence Committee completes its investigation.

  10. Following her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to discuss the ongoing Ukrainian crisis with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

 


 

6th May 2017:

  1. China has commissioned a group of scholars and experts to create a Chinese equivalent to Wikipedia – one that the public is not free to edit.

  2. Spanish Education Minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo said that in case the Catalan government continues its preparations for the independence referendum, Spanish prosecutors will interfere to prevent the plebiscite.

  3. A significant leak containing tens of thousands of emails, pictures and file attachments from French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been publicized for the world to see, roughly 36 hours before the people of France select their next president.

  4. Rex Tillerson said that the United States was looking forward to further meetings and cooperating with Russia on de-escalation of the conflict in Syria.

  5. The White House proposed a measure that would make obtaining a US visa even more difficult by asking applicants to provide more personal information. If enacted, applicants could ask for several years’ worth of email addresses and social media handles, travel histories and the names and dates of birth of their children and siblings.

  6. Washington has welcomed the memorandum on creating four safe zones in Syria, the Russian foreign minister said.

  7. The ceasefire in the recently established de-escalation zones in Syria is generally adhered to, although minor violations with the use of firearms have been registered, a source close to the operations headquarters said.

  8. China’s first national passenger jet, the C919, is making its maiden flight, signalling that the country has made it to “the highest league of the aircraft industry,” according to the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad.

  9. The Russian chief of general staff and the US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff confirmed the sides’ readiness to fully restore the memorandum on preventing incidents in Syria’s airspace and discussed the establishment of four de-escalation zones in the country.

  10. President Trump is preparing to reverse the Obama-era policy banning the sale of advanced guided missiles to Saudi Arabia. However, Russian observers say if the deal goes through, it will be a crushing blow to Grom-2, a Ukrainian program to create an analogue to Russia’s Iskander short range ballistic missile system.

  11. This week, the US territory of Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy. Two months earlier, Natalia Jaresko, the US-born Ukrainian investment banker once charged with restructuring Ukraine’s economy, had been tasked with steering Puerto Rico out of its debt crisis.

 


 

5th May 2017:

  1. Deputy chair at Russia’s parliamentary committee on security and defense says that the United Nations could send its observers to the agreed “safe zones” in Syria.

  2. US and Iraqi government officials are discussing the possibility of maintaining a significant number of American ground forces in Iraq even after Daesh is defeated.

  3. Delegation head at Astana talks and Special Presidential Representative for Syria said that Russia has irrefutable evidence indicating that the events in Khan Sheikhoun were a provocation, and Moscow will continue convincing the West to change the position in this matter.

  4. China stands against the introduction of sanctions, unilaterally imposed by any one country onto another country, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

  5. Palestinian Ambassador to Russia said that a successful solution to the Palestinian issue requires the joint efforts on the part of both Moscow and Washington.

  6. A group of MEPs have called for massive reforms of the “misguided and dangerous model of a centralized federal European state.”

  7. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that US unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 10 years in April.

  8. Russia stopped using its Aerospace Forces in de-escalation zones in Syria from midnight May 1 in line with memorandum.

  9. Strict implementation of the memorandum on safe zones in Syria will practically put an end to the six-year-long civil war in the country, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Alexander Fomin said.

  10. Iran voiced its intention to send more military advisors to Syria to support the Syrian government in the fight against terrorist groups.

  11. The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to impose new punitive sanctions on North Korea.

  12. Senator Rand Paul requested the White House to provide information on whether he had been surveilled by the Obama administration or intelligence agencies.

  13. MEPs investigating the fallout from the Panama Papers leaks say that many European banks and law firms are actively involved in the setting-up of offshore structures for dodging taxes or laundering dirty money and that not enough is being done to regulate offshore tax havens.

  14. An attempt to prosecute former MI6 counterterrorism chief Sir Mark Allen for his role in the rendition and torture of Libyan dissidents may be heard partially in secret.

  15. A new poll by European Commission polling agency Eurobarometer shows Latvians’ support of membership in the European Union is down to 45%, declining three percentage points since last year.

  16. The North Korean Ministry of State Security threatened to attack South Korea and the US in the wake of reports that agencies of the countries had conspired to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with biochemical weapons.

 


 

4th May 2017:

  1. Following another in a growing series of UN referendums to censure or block the continuing apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians and the occupation of Palestinian territories at the hands of the Israeli government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again cut funds traditionally earmarked for human rights.

  2. Researchers at Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully tested a gene editing technique to clear HIV DNA from living animals, a development that could theoretically effectively prevent further infection between humans.

  3. The Ukrainian chief prosecutor’s office said it would challenge a decision by Interpol to remove ousted President from its wanted list.

  4. Norway marked the 25th anniversary of its trade deal with the EU (then called the EEA agreement), but no big celebration was held to mark the occasion. Instead, Norwegians are growing increasingly sceptical about the deal, with half of the population open for a new referendum in order to amend the deal or scrap it altogether.

  5. The talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were constructive, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said.

  6. Experts of Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor will from May 15 conduct inspections in Turkey of enterprises producing pepper, lettuce, pumpkin and zucchini.

  7. The launch of a new gas condensate refinery will allow Iran to fully meet its gasoline needs and export on a global scale in the not-so-distant future, according to the Iranian news network IRIB.

  8. According to Statistics Canada report, Canada’s annual merchandise trade deficit with other nations reached a record $26 billion in 2016 driven by a decline in energy product imports and exports.

  9. The UN Human Rights Council is beginning a “review” of the UK’s decision to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a new British Bill of Rights, the country’s decision to implement the Snoopers’ Charter, which will allow for mass surveillance of its citizens and potential state race discrimination.

  10. China said that it has no plans to become a mediator between India and Pakistan in resolving the Kashmir dispute. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has not changed its position on Kashmir and reiterated that it remains a bilateral issue.

  11. The Pentagon is busy crafting a new combat operations doctrine, to be presented in the fall. Pointing to US officials’ own words, Russian military observer Alexander Khrolenko explains that the new doctrine is ultimately meant to try and shore up US-led unipolarity amid the pressures posed by growing Russian and Chinese military strength.

  12. The relationship between Pyongyang and Beijing is showing signs of major strain, as Pyongyang accuses Beijing of treachery for their resistance to sign a treaty and their stance on the North’s nuclear program.

  13. The European Union plans to transfer control over the European Atomic Energy Community’s radioactive materials stored on UK territory to London after Brexit.

 


 

3rd May 2017:

  1. New satellite images indicate that North Korea could be expanding its submarine-launched ballistic missile program (SLBM), as photos show the presence of Pyongyang’s second submersible test-stand barge.

  2. The US European Command (EUCOM) plans to move from one of its division-level headquarters from Germany to Poland.

  3. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman al Saud says that it is impossible to reach mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  4. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved the first $160-million loan to India to support the energy sector of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

  5. Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud said that Saudi Arabia intends to develop military industry.

  6. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that the territory of North Korea is illegally occupied after the conclusion of an armistice in 1953 as a result of the Korean War and belongs to Seoul under law.

  7. Global agency Fitch Ratings said it has retained the “BBB-” sovereign rating — the lowest investment grade — for India as weak public finances continue to constrain India’s ratings. India has been critical of global rating agencies for pegging its rating at a much lower level.

  8. The European Union’s conclusion that a potentially dangerous weed-killer was in fact safe to sell was based on scientific evidence written by manufacturer Monsanto, an investigation has revealed.

  9. Former US Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will reportedly launch a political action committee (PAC) to support activist organizations and congressional candidates.

  10. In a world first, scientists at Nottingham University, UK, are investigating whether cannabidiol – a non-psychoactive chemical in marijuana – could be used to shrink brain tumors.

  11. Interpol has confirmed that it had taken Ukraine’s ex-President Viktor Yanukovych off its wanted list.

  12. Washington is ready to slap another batch of sanctions on North Korea in the event of new missile and nuclear tests, Rex Tillerson said.

  13. Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain unchanged the US interest rate at 0.75-1 percent range.

  14. As fears mount that North Korea will conduct its sixth nuclear test, US analysts reported that new satellite images indicate activity has picked up at the nation’s nuclear test site.

  15. The US Navy has reportedly sent multiple requests to conduct freedom-of-navigation missions in the controversial South China Sea, but the Pentagon has denied them all.

 


 

2nd May 2017:

  1. India’s Union power minister Piyush Goyal has revealed an ambitious plan to replace all internal combustion cars in India with their electric counterparts by 2030.

  2. An US Global Hawk drone landed at its temporary base in Tokyo to monitor North Korean activities.

  3. Pacific Air Forces reported that the US B-1B strategic bombers made flights over the Korean Peninsula.

  4. Beijing is calling on Washington and South Korea to end the deployment of the US’ THAAD system in South Korea.

  5. A bipartisan US Senate bill to impose sanctions on Russia has been put on hold until further investigation.

  6. US Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo has visited South Korea for in-depth security discussions with local authorities.

  7. Sebastian Gorka who has been serving as an adviser to President Donald Trump on the “Strategic Initiatives Group” is leaving the White House.

  8. President Donald Trump stated the Republicans in the US Senate should change the rules for voting in the legislative body to have a 51-vote majority instead of the current 60 votes.

  9. Beijing has announced plans to reorganize the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), amid growing fears China’s Armed Forces – the world’s biggest – might not be able to handle a major conflict if it broke out on the Korean Peninsula.

  10. The United States will not allow China to use the islands it is creating in the South China Sea to stop navigation of others in the region.

  11. Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to China said he would work to address the issue of underpriced steel sales by Beijing.

  12. In a bid to minimize losses of its businesses in the US under the Donald Trump administration, India’s major IT firm Infosys has announced a new hiring plan under which it will provide jobs to 10,000 Americans in the next two years.

  13. Russia’s withdrawal from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is not on the table for the bank’s board of governors, EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said.

  14. Fearing a possible US attack on North Korea, Beijing is urging its citizens there to return.

  15. Donald Trump is considering relocating the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 


 

1st May 2017:

  1. Head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo arrived with an unannounced visit to South Korea to hold talks on the North Korean issue.

  2. The Danish government has proposed amending legislation to ban the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to run through the country’s waters.

  3. The Philippines are ready to carry out military exercises with the participation of the Chinese warships.

  4. Germany offered its mediation in the search for a political solution to the Yemeni conflict.

  5. US President Donald Trump has agreed not to terminate its participation in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and instead renegotiate the terms of the deal after talks with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

  6. The Bundeswehr will train Saudi military in Germany.

  7. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he may be too busy to accept US President Donald Trump’s invitation to visit the White House because of other travel commitments.

  8. Beijing could serve as a mediator in a dialogue to resolve tensions between the United States and North Korea, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said.

  9. Montenegro’s annual fee to the NATO budget will amount to 450,000 euros ($490,000), which is 0.027 percent of the alliance’s budget.

  10. US President Donald Trump said that he would consider increasing the gas tax to provide funding for his infrastructure development project and would be open to negotiations regarding his tax plan proposal.

  11. The US State Department and the National Security Council are at a loss due to the fact that President Donald Trump invited Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to the United States.

  12. The US DOE has failed to adequately supervise and track its contractors, the Government Accountability Office said in a report.

  13. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has expressed support for the establishment of a Palestinian state adhering to the borders agreed on in 1967.

  14. Trump’s administration terminated an education program created by former first lady Michelle Obama to serve underprivileged girls in foreign countries.

  15. Turkey is reinforcing the border with Syria in the southeastern part of the country.