May – Week 2

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.

 

14th May 2017:

  1. Director of US National Intelligence Daniel Coats said as he briefed the Senate on national security that Iran has continued its ballistic missile work in violation of UN resolutions.

  2. In the wake of a media storm following US President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, the president is said to be considering swapping his current communications team with producers from right-wing Fox News.

  3. Commenting on the latest missile launch by North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the act a “serious threat” for his country, adding that he expects Pyongyang to carry out more “provocative actions.”

  4. North Korea may have fired a missile of a new type, Japanese experts suggested after analyzing the trajectory of the projectile’s flight, local media reported.

  5. Prime Minister said that Japan hopes to collaborate with Russia, China and other states over the North Korean nuclear and missile issues.

  6. Vladimir Putin said that Russian authorities expect that Czech President Milos Zeman would pay a working visit to Moscow in November.

  7. Following a recent terrorist attack on Iranian border guards, Tehran has warned neighbouring Pakistan that it will carry out anti-terrorist operations in Pakistan if Islamabad doesn’t stop its territory from being used by terrorists.

  8. Christian Kern said that he expected parliamentarian elections in Austria to take place in autumn 2017.

  9. Poland may hold a referendum on November 11 on conferring more powers to the president.

  10. The Minsk deal is working and there is no need for another scenarios, the Ukrainian president said.

  11. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Washington is engaged in the work of the Normandy format on settling the conflict in Donbass.

  12. Donald Trump will be able to meet with Kim Jong-un only if Pyongyang meets conditions set by Washington, the US envoy to the UN said.

  13. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that US President Donald Trump has advocated for “respectful” relations with Moscow, which would be based on properly realized common interests, such as the fight against terrorism.

 


 

13th May 2017:

  1. An official from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that it is impossible to resolve the issue of the North Korean nuclear program in the same way the Iranian nuclear problem was settled.

  2. Two US scientists resigned from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claiming the agency is “watering down” credible science, engineering and methodological rigor.

  3. Palestine welcomes any cooperation between Russia and the United States aimed at restoring the Middle East peace process and facilitating direct talks between Israel and Palestine, Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr said.

  4. The UN special envoy for Syria suggested that the concepts of Moscow and Washington on the creation of safe zones in the country could be compatible.

  5. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russian-Chinese Investment Fund (RCIF), funds from the Middle East and Russian Vi Holding company will invest in the construction of a science and technology park on the territory of former Tushino airfield in the Russian capital of Moscow, which is worth $1 billion, according to RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev.

  6. Washington pledged to prepare proposals aimed at settling the issue of the Russian diplomatic property seized in the United States in the near future, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

  7. South Korea will be under pressure to import more oil and gas from the US, having ramped up Iranian imports in recent months to the displeasure of Washington.

  8. Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Xi Jinping discussed with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan the situation in the Middle East during the meeting in Beijing ahead of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China.

  9. According to the document “Elysee 2.0 – new impulses to German-French cooperation” named after Elysee treaty of friendship between Germany and France signed in 1963, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel proposes a joint budget for eurozone, as well as joint French-German investment in science, transport infrastructure and online networks.

  10. North Korea has again said it would be willing to meet with representatives from Washington if certain conditions were met, as the country’s UN delegation argues against sanctions levied against it.

  11. The European Union has paid the first tranche to Kiev within the program to support Ukraine’s administrative reforms.

 


 

12th May 2017:

  1. In a letter to US Senator Lindsey Graham, President Donald Trump claimed he has nothing to do with Russia and has no investments in the country.

  2. Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser under President George W. Bush, said that the goal the United States pursued during the 2003 invasion of Iraq was toppling of President Saddam Hussein, not bringing democracy to the Middle East country.

  3. HIV, once one of the most feared afflictions in the world, has become significantly less dangerous, thanks to medical breakthroughs: People who start treatment today are likely to live a full, long life, a new study confirms.

  4. The European Council announced Thursday it had approved a measure granting Ukrainian citizens 90-day visa-free travel within the bloc.

  5. Struggling to deal with its energy crisis, Ukraine turned to the United States to discuss possible coal deliveries from America to the troubled Eastern European country.

  6. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that Washington-Beijing relations “are now hitting a new high, especially in trade,” as he was announcing the results of the 100-day dialogue on the economy between the powers.

  7. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he highlighted the issues of neo-Nazism and chauvinism manifestations in Ukraine to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland.

  8. The chief of the Russian Orthodox Church’s external relations department said to US Vice President Michael Pence that “the US and Russia would work side by side” as part of one anti-terror coalition.

  9. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the government is considering the request of the United States to send additional troops to Afghanistan.

  10. Former FBI Director James Comey now believes that his refusal to pledge personal loyalty to US President Donald Trump ultimately led to his dismissal, The New York Times newspaper reported.

  11. Even though the Eurozone’s economic prospects have significantly improved because of the firm acceleration in German manufacturing and exports, the lingering Greek debt problem is affecting the euro area’s investment appeal and holding back economic expansion throughout the bloc.

  12. North Korea’s intelligence services have named key suspects in the case of the alleged preparation of a coup and attack on the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, including head of the South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) Lee Byung-ho, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

  13. Vladimir Putin discussed the crisis on the Korean Peninsula in telephone talks with South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, during which the sides emphasized importance of the diplomatic settlement of the crisis.

  14. The Norwegian government strongly disapproves of the decision of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) to boycott Israel and calls for cooperation instead, Foreign Minister Borge Brende said.

  15. The US and South Korean intelligence agencies handed over about 300,000 dollars to ‘Kim’, a North Korean citizen, to stage an alleged plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, the country’s Ambassador to Russia said.

  16. US Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said that US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will participate in meetings with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Tuesday.

  17. Germany and Switzerland agreed not to conduct espionage activities against each other just two weeks after a Swiss man was arrested in Germany over collecting data on German tax investigators.

 


 

11th May 2017:

  1. The United States is likely to expand its recently implemented ban on the use of laptops during commercial flights originating from points in the Middle East to some in Europe as well.

  2. US health insurance giant Aetna announced it would quit the Obamacare market as it suffered financial losses.

  3. US President Donald Trump discussed with newly-elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in the bilateral relations between the countries and agreed to meet in Washington, DC.

  4. The General Court of the European Union said it had annulled the European Commission’s decision to oppose the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) against the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

  5. A policy coordination committee will be formed shortly by South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in to smooth the transition process.

  6. South Korea wants to pursue the goal to denuclearize the Korean peninsula together with China, including resuming the six-party talks as soon as possible.

  7. A group of German financial experts and entrepreneurs have proposed a radical new way to reform the economic and political system in order to avoid what they believe to be its impending collapse.

  8. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway may prolong proportionate temporary border controls for a maximum period of six months, according to the decision of the Council of the European Union.

  9. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will play a leading role in the Belt and Road initiative. Recently, the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China launched an intensive research program to look at the progress and problems of the CPEC construction in Pakistan.

  10. Donald Trump alleged in an interview that Syrian President Bashar Assad still has chemical weapons stockpiles.

  11. According to a letter to Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Attorneys General from 20 US states are calling for an independent special prosecutor to investigate alleged meddling by Russia in the 2016 election now that President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey.

  12. US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to boost cybersecurity in the country.

  13. Speaking at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe would not comment on President Donald Trump’s claims that former FBI Director James Comey told him multiple times that he was not under investigation.

  14. The Pentagon’s intelligence agency is reporting that there are still “important shortfalls” in North Korea’s attempts to develop a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland.

 


 

10th May 2017:

  1. The DPRK ambassador to the UK said Pyongyang will conduct its next nuclear test whenever the supreme leader of the country wants.

  2. Polish President Andrzej Duda said Warsaw wants to boost economic ties with African states, adding it seeks to invest in Africa, not exploit it.

  3. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz issued a royal decree on May 4, relaxing the male guardianship policy to give women more freedom.

  4. Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said that it was necessary to maintain the existing channels used for communications with Russia, adding that NATO has such tools as opposed to the European Union.

  5. The UK Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday it was bringing no criminal charges over alleged expenses fraud by the country’s ruling Conservative Party over allegations of expenses fraud during the 2015 general election.

  6. Russia expects the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) financial situation to deteriorate and will not take part in its recapitalization if needed, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin said.

  7. Activists of the German campaign, dubbed Stopp Air Base Ramstein, plan to organize in September a peace festival and demonstrations against a US airbase located near the German town of Ramstein-Miesenbach and used for drone strikes, a campaign’s coordinator said.

  8. A tunnel which contains some of the most radioactive material in the world has collapsed. The Hanford facility in Washington state, where 3,000 people work, was put into lockdown.

  9. German Foreign Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced the need to reform the Bundeswehr, or the German armed forces, amid the ongoing scandal surrounding the revelation of a far-right, anti-refguee plot prepared by a German serviceman.

  10. Polish and Slovakian gas transmission operators, Gaz-System and Eustream, received environmental approval for the construction of a gas pipeline that will connect the two countries.

  11. The US Senate voted on Wednesday against repealing a regulation introduced by the administration of former President Barack Obama that limits methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling.

  12. The Kosovo Assembly (legislative body) voted to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in a no-confidence motion, as the current government failed to implement political pledges.

  13. Low-cost renewable power is central to India’s long-term energy security, Indian Minister of New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said.

  14. China questioned the United States’ commitment not to support Tibet’s independence one day after a US Congressional delegation led by House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi met Dalai Lama at his Dharamsala headquarters in India’s Himachal Pradesh state.

  15. According to the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson, the US-led coalition against Daesh will reduce or cut off aid to its partner forces on the ground in Iraq or Syria who engage in human rights abuses.

  16. The US Central intelligence Agency announced establishment of a mission center in South Korea, which will harness the full resources, capabilities of the US intelligence services in a stated aim of countering threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

 


 

9th May 2017:

  1. US President Donald Trump will visit the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in late May, according to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

  2. Sally Yates, the former acting Attorney General of the Trump administration, and Deputy Attorney General under former President Barack Obama, testified at a hearing on alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

  3. Turkish law enforcement started a massive operation against drug-trafficking on Monday, targeting over 900 suspects.

  4. Prime ministers of Poland and the three Baltic nations held a meeting in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in order to discuss the regional partnership in a number of spheres.

  5. The US and Qatari diplomats discussed Qatar’s efforts to stop the financing of terrorist groups, including prosecuting suspected financiers, freezing assets, and introducing stringent controls to its banking system.

  6. Amid controversy over US President son-in-law Jared Kushner’s affairs in China, US senator Dianne Feinstein called elimination of the controversial investment visa program “the only way” to kill potential conflicts of interest for the president and his inner circle.

  7. The Chinese military is developing software that will be able to automatically tip off authorities each time soldiers leak classified information via their smartphones.

  8. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a speech at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow, saying that “no force will ever enslave the Russian people”.

  9. MEPs in the European Parliament are pushing for radical changes to the institutions as member states are not “well equipped to face the challenges of the day” and must heed a “wake up call” in the face of rising anti-Brussels sentiment amid the need for a “rethink” of the EU project.

  10. The US guided-missile cruiser Lake Champlain hit a South Korean fishing boat while in international waters with the Carl Vinson naval strike group.

  11. NATO asked London to consider increasing its military presence in Afghanistan now amounting to some 500 British troops.

  12. Changes to the US tax code proposed by the Trump administration will give only modest benefits for companies and will not outweigh increased debt levels, Moody’s Investors Service said in a press release.

  13. US Senator Lindsay Graham said he wants to launch an investigation into President Donald Trump’s business ties with Russia after former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper refused to comment on this matter.

  14. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development doesn’t plan to transfer the headquarters from London to the mainland Europe after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

  15. Members of the European Parliament have called for an “urgent solution” to the migrant crisis facing Europe amid disagreement over a relocation scheme to move thousands of refugees out of migrant camps in Greece and Turkey, which has so far only seen 16,000 moved in 18 months.

  16. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he was ready to carry out talks with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the auspices of US President Donald Trump.

  17. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is continuing Japan’s pivot from a pacifist security policy to a more active defense posture. Abe is eyeing the addition of land-attack Tomahawk missiles to neutralize the threat of a missile attack from North Korea, according to the Sankei Shimbun Japanese newspaper.

 


 

8th May 2017:

  1. The head of Germany’s armed forces has ordered an inspection of all army properties after investigators probing far-right supporters within the Bundeswehr found Nazi memorabilia at a barracks in the town of Donaueschingen, in the country’s southwest.

  2. UK Prime Minister Theresa May discussed Brexit with Emmanuel Macron after his victory in Sunday’s French presidential election, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

  3. Chinese state-owned Limac Corporation and North Korea’s Ryonbong General Corporation set up a joint venture in 2008 which maintained an office in China until February 2017 despite the sanctions introduced against the latter by the US and the UN.

  4. Emmanuel Macron will be a “tough” negotiator on Brexit, but he does not intend to punish the United Kingdom, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Macron’s chief economic adviser said.

  5. Warsaw is hoping that French President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s criticism of one of the prominent Polish politicians remains in the past and a new relationship with Paris may be built, Krzysztof Szczerski, the foreign policy adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda, said.

  6. The chair of the Russian upper house of parliament Foreign Affairs Committee said that the relations between France and Russia were unlikely to change as a result of Macron’s victory in the French presidential election.

  7. The UK Conservative Party intends to keep the ‘tens of thousands’ target for reducing the net migration, which is affecting the most vulnerable groups of UK residents, Prime Minister Theresa May, the leader of the Conservatives, said.

  8. Ankara is planning to build a wall along the border with Iran within the framework of the efforts to prevent the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terror group in Turkey, from entering the country’s territory.

  9. The German government will consider proposals of the United States and NATO partners on formal engagement of the alliance in the operations of the US-led international coalition against Daesh before the May 25 summit in Brussels.

  10. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will meet leaders from nations in the coalition against Daesh during his visit to Denmark.

  11. The Kosovo assembly should validate the Border Demarcation Agreement with its neighbour Montenegro, the US Embassy in Kosovo said in a press release.

  12. Emmanuel Macron, elected French president on Sunday, does not seem to have a prejudicial attitude toward Russia, Director General of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFR) Pavel Shinsky said.

  13. The US Office of Government Ethics should ensure that President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner recuses himself from all policy matters on China due to a potential conflict of interest, a watchdog group said.

  14. Anti-dumping duties on imports of uranium from Russia are being examined to determine whether penalties should be continued to protect domestic US producers, the International Trade Commission (USITC) announced in a press release.

  15. More than 500 residents living near the US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) deployment site in South Korea filed a petition for an injunction to stop further construction and to block its use.