May – Week 3

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.

21st May 2017:

  1. South Korean Joint Chief of Staff said that North Korea has launched an unidentified projectile
  2. The US decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will not be changed, but Washington will remain actively engaged in the regional trade affairs, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said
  3. In a tense interview for German media, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski lashed out at the German and French concept of a ‘multi-speed’ Europe, slammed Berlin for its support of Russia’s Nord Steam II pipeline project, and complained that Poland’s interests are being neglected in favor of those of politicians in Brussels
  4. While Ukraine threatens to start confiscating Russian coal shipments to the country, claiming that they’re in fact originating from the restive Ukrainian region of Donbass, it remains unclear whether Kiev will actually follow up on these threats.
  5. Oleg Khramov, a deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council said that the United States filed a request to Russia in November 2016 over DNC breach

 

20th May 2017:

  1. Nicolas Maduro bashed his US counterpart Donald Trump telling him to stop meddling in the country’s home affairs.

  2. Israeli intelligence officers are angry and alarmed by the decision of US President Donald Trump to share secret information with Russian officials, US media reported.

  3. James Comey has agreed to provide testimony in front of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence publicly after Memorial Day.

  4. The Justice Department said that a Chinese national has pleaded guilty to charges of economic espionage and theft of a trade secret from a US Company.

  5. Enrique Pena Nieto said he was confident that Mexico would stay good neighbours with the United States.

  6. According to reports, Angela Merkel will meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday.

  7. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a long tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and Kazakhstan on May 29. Experts say the tour, especially in the context of the visit to Russia for the St. Petersberg International Economic Forum, will set the pace and direction of bilateral ties.

  8. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya said that negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran on a temporary free trade zone agreement could be finished by the next EAEU summit.

  9. Despite Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko attempting to bar MEPs from visiting the country’s breakaway Donbass region and the formerly Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula in Russia, it remains unclear whether such restrictions, if implemented by the EP leadership, would be effective.

  10. The Russian Ministry of Defense has deployed the first detachment of a specially-trained group of troops to the Arctic on a curious new mission.

  11. The United States and Saudi Arabia will sign a joint vision statement and nine defense cooperation agreements, including eight letters of acceptance and one letter of intent, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

  12. Saudi Arabia will receive from the United States Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense systems to protect itself and the region “from missile or other airborne attacks,” according to US Department of State.

  13. US energy giant General Electric (GE) signed with Riyadh deals worth $15 billion, of which almost $7 billion are GE technology and solutions – across multiple sectors aimed at creating a truly diverse and sustainable economic platform in Saudi Arabia, according to official statement.

  14. Saudi Arabia and the United States signed agreements in different spheres worth $280 billion, as well as a document on joint strategic vision, during President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

  15. The press secretary of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Germany is ready to intensify the work of the Normandy Four format and considers that the G7 states should more actively support the process of Ukrainian reforms.

 


 

19th May 2017:

  1. Russia’s governing United Russia party believes US media openly interferes in the country’s domestic affairs.
  2. Russia has enough reasons to create a special commission to investigate the issue of US interference in country’s internal affairs.
  3. WikiLeaks released a new batch of classified documents from the ongoing Vault 7 project, with this latest information focusing on “Athena” spyware, which was allegedly developed by the CIA, to target Windows operating systems.
  4. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski called EU threats to introduce sanctions against Warsaw over controversial reforms of the country’s justice system, which violate the judiciary independence, a “speculation.”
  5. The European Central Bank (ECB) has not announced any policy moves despite a significant improvement in the Eurozone economy in recent months, meaning the regulator will either come up with a policy announcement soon, or will risk the further erosion of its credibility.
  6. Over 23,400 suspected cholera cases and 242 deaths have been reported in 18 governorates of Yemen, according to the World Health Organization branch in Yemen.
  7. Russian researchers have developed a technology that makes transportation of blood and biofluid samples in medicine and veterinary science simpler and cheaper.
  8. Thousands of people took to the streets in Brazil to rally against country’s President Michel Temer and demand for a nationwide snap presidential election.
  9. Intelligence agencies from other countries are ready to cooperate with Russia in countering terrorism in spite of vocal opposition voiced by these states’ officials to having ties with Moscow.
  10. According to media reports, Former US Congressman Anthony Weiner is expected to plead guilty to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor.
  11. Iranian intelligence have successfully managed to prevent a number of terrorist cells from carrying out plots aimed at disrupting the Friday presidential election process, local media reported.
  12. US Congressmen Eliot Engel, ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Michael McCaul, a senior committee member, said they had introduced a resolution to recognize the importance of the US-Mexico relationship and strengthen bilateral cooperation.
  13. The Conservative manifesto contains a dedicated section on the government’s commitment to “defeating extremism” – despite having struggled for many years to legally characterize the term.
  14. The formal Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union will be started on June 19, according to local media reports.
  15. North Korea’s ballistic missile test on Sunday showed the country’s advances in its technological capabilities after the intermediate-range missile made a successful re-entry.
  16. India is working on a memorandum of understanding with Russia for units five and six of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  17. Russia must have a clear plan for economic and social development for the period from 2017 until 2025, President Vladimir Putin said.
  18. Political allies are deserting Brazilian President Michel Temer as he faces calls to resign amid a corruption scandal.
  19. The German parliament passed a law making it easier for the authorities to detain asylum seekers who were not allowed to stay in the country, the parliament’s statement said.

 


 

18th May 2017:

  1. Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has reportedly asked the United States for help in the row with Turkey.

  2. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the United Kingdom will have to pay the price for cancelling the freedom of movement with the European Union.

  3. EU and US officials have reportedly agreed not to impose a ban on bringing laptops and tablets to cabins of planes.

  4. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is starting on Thursday his official visit to the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, during which he is set to meet with the country’s leadership and take part in the meeting of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.

  5. The first passenger ferry arrived from North Korean port city of Rason to Russia’s Vladivostok on a route linking the countries.

  6. The Saudi state-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced that it had opened the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), a company which will produce ammunition, weapons and missiles, and is expected to become one of the world’s leading defense companies by 2030.

  7. Southeast Asia is enjoying rapid economic development, while many Muslims have become prosperous in the region. But the Quran forbids charging interest rates on loans. Nevertheless, Malaysia’s top banks are offering an alternative approach, known as Islamic finance.

  8. The intention to establish joint Moldovan-Ukrainian checkpoints on the Transnistrian section of the border may lead to a violent phase of the conflict in the region, and the unrecognized republic might have to ask Russia to ensure security at the joint checkpoints, Transnistrian Foreign Minister Vitaly Ignatyev said.

  9. The Philippines will no longer accept multimillion dollar grants from the European Union, as the bloc allegedly uses the funding for the purpose of interfering in the country’s internal affairs, Philippine presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

  10. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his US counterpart Donald Trump during their recent meeting that Ankara has the right to take necessary measures if it is attacked by the Syrian Kurdish militia People’s Protection Units (YPG) without holding consultations with Washington prior to its response.

  11. Russian President Vladimir Putin and new French leader Emmanuel Macron have held phone talks for the first time.

  12. The US hampers the world’s concerted efforts to deal with cybercrime and its National Security Agency must shoulder some of the blame for the recent global cyberattack that infected computers at 30,000 Chinese institutions and businesses, China’s media reports.

  13. Nearly 13,000 white hat hackers have begun working for the Turkish government.

  14. US car manufacturer General Motors (GM) has announced that it will close its car sale business in India and use its Indian car manufacturing plant only for export needs.

  15. India’s attempts to expedite infrastructure development in regions close to China and Myanmar will get a major boost as Japan has officially offered support for various ongoing as well as upcoming development and infrastructure projects in the country’s north-eastern region.

  16. Berlin has no proof of Russia’s alleged meddling in the German parliamentary elections, the country’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said.

  17. Berlin favours the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

  18. US special operations forces are conducting nearly 100 operations at any time throughout Africa, according to a Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) strategic planning report.

  19. US President Donald Trump said that the United States is determined to help Colombia combat cocaine production and eradicate drug trafficking networks.

 


 

17th May 2017:

  1. The US State Department said that North Korea’s latest missile test serves as a call for all countries to impose stricter sanctions on Pyongyang.

  2. A Fox News reporter claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pleading with US President Donald Trump not to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

  3. Covert fundraising by Hillary Clinton’s new organization, Onward Together, may exacerbate the problem of unaccountable money flooding the US political system, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) Senior Director and General Counsel Larry Noble said in a press release.

  4. Ford Motor Company has announced sweeping layoffs in North America and Asia in an effort to bolster stock prices, increase shareholder value and boost profitability.

  5. The United Kingdom will continue sharing intelligence with the United States and considers their bilateral relations very special, it is up to US President Donald Trump to decide with whom to discuss any issues, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said.

  6. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that British officials turned a blind eye to the massacre of thousands of dissidents in Zimbabwe in order to protect the UK’s economic and political interests.

  7. The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on Hungary to abandon its tight regulations on asylum seekers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and suggesting potential punishment for breaching EU values.

  8. North Korea successfully test-fired a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

  9. In a major boost to the domestic nuclear power industry, the Indian government has decided to build ten indigenous pressurized heavy-water reactors (PWHR) of 700-megawatt capacity.

  10. The recent WannaCry malware attacks could have been a cover-up operation as the hackers were unlikely interested in money and appear to have emulated the behaviour of a known cybercrime group, Pierluigi Paganini, a Member of Cyber G7 Workgroup of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said.

  11. The German Foreign Ministry is concerned over the lack of Washington’s adherence to open markets and bilateral free trade, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

  12. The US Senate Judiciary Committee requested the FBI and the White House to provide copies of its ex-director James Comey’s memos and records related to his communication with US President Donald Trump.

  13. Former CIA Director John Brennan will testify on May 23 before the US House Intelligence Committee.

  14. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced his decision to resign as leader of the ruling Fine Gael party.

 


 

16th May 2017:

  1. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss the bilateral military alliance.

  2. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said that the EU foreign ministers supported the continuation of sanctions against Russia.

  3. Ukraine has imposed sanctions for 3 years against some Russian media, including Rossiya Segodnya News Agency and Zvezda TV channel.

  4. The sixth round of the intra-Syrian talks has officially kicked off in Geneva, with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura having the first meeting with the Damascus delegation.

  5. The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group, which has been stationed near the Korean peninsula since April, will remain deployed in the region for an indefinite period in light of Pyongyang’s recent nuclear missile test.

  6. South Korea may carry out a pre-emptive strike if it becomes evident that North Korea will launch a massive missile attack against the country, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo said.

  7. German Chancellor Angel Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron – at their first meeting since his inauguration – have pledged to “crisis-proof” the EU and bring about a “historic reconstruction” of Europe to battle populism sweeping the continent, with Merkel warning that doing so is a priority over Brexit negotiations.

  8. Indian scientists have developed technology to turn fly ash into geopolymer concrete that can be used to build roads, in what is seen as a huge relief for hundreds of thermal power plants that have huge dumps of fly ash, a by-product in generating thermal power.

  9. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed hope for the gradual development of Russia-French relations in a congratulatory message to new French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

  10. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held extensive talks on several bilateral and international issues of mutual interest. The two leaders discussed the Middle East peace process as India wants an early solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

  11. The lower house of Japan, the Diet, has cleared the civilian nuclear cooperation pact between Tokyo and New Delhi which will allow Japanese firms to export nuclear power equipment to India.

  12. The United States added five Syrian individuals and five entities to the non-proliferation sanctions list.

  13. The United States signed a framework military cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 8 that outlines the principles for US troop’s presence in that country.

  14. Indications are that North Korea will step up its ballistic missile testing program in spite of increased sanctions from the West and calls for disarmament by China and Russia.

  15. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the United States is ready to start dialogue with the leadership of North Korea, but not until Pyongyang stops missile launches and halts its nuclear program.

  16. Following a UN Security Council directive ordering North Korea to cease all ballistic missile and nuclear weapons developments, a South Korean minister said that Pyongyang is making progress on its missile program faster than expected.

 


 

15th May 2017:

  1. North Korean authorities announced that they had successfully tested a ground-to-ground intermediate ballistic missile a day before.

  2. Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada will hold a meeting with US Pacific Command Chief Adm. Harry Harris, during which the two officials will discuss North Korea’s missile launch from this weekend.

  3. The US internal politics’ situation undermines international political and economic order, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

  4. In the next four years, Ukraine will have to return $20 billion of debt. The lack of reforms and problems with receiving new loans are a major obstacle. The situation is complicated by the fact that the government will not take unpopular measures due to the 2019 presidential election.

  5. The European Union’s joint Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) unit will be created as soon as possible, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth said.

  6. US President Donald Trump is mulling over the implications of moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as he promised he would during his tumultuous presidential campaign.

  7. According to an US cybersecurity company, a group of hackers allegedly linked to the Vietnamese government have targeted transnational companies, foreign governments, journalists and others in a cyberattack.

  8. The economy of the Caribbean paradise island of Barbados is facing meltdown after years of alleged mismanagement and an over-reliance on tourism. The country may be forced to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout in order to pay police officers and civil servants.

  9. According to the Moody’s outlook, Greek banking system remains stable for the next 12-18 months.

  10. Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern has offered newly elected Austrian People’s Party (OVP) leader and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz to become the country’s vice chancellor.

  11. According to the US Export-Import Bank Business Development Officer, a trade finance to Cuba is not expected in the near future.

  12. Allies of US President Donald Trump are planning to push through a controversial plan to privatize tribal government-run services on Native American reservations. The idea has been put forward by a group headed by a Trump supporter who is also a member of the Cherokee nation.

  13. Brazil is trying to increase its exports to the United States.

  14. The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces plans to establish a military base near the town of al-Bab in the north of Syria.

  15. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had agreed with newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron “to work very closely together.”

  16. The choice of newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron to appoint Edouard Philippe as the country’s prime minister was supported by some French politicians and criticized by others.

  17. Anonymous sources in the Japanese government have told journalists that Tokyo is turning away from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, instead favoring the Aegis Ashore system. Both systems were developed by Lockheed Martin on a US military contract.

  18. As tensions continue to mount on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese officials showed diplomatic progress with Vietnam over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

  19. Poroshenko said that he was planning to hold consultations with G7 leaders in the near future to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine.

  20. The Chosun Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper published in Japan, wrote that the Trump administration should create the “proper situation” for a dialogue with DPRK leadership if he truly wants to see an end to the crisis.