Week 1

5th to 10th September

  • Russia and the US have agreed on a new ceasefire plan on Syria that includes a ban on government airstrikes in certain areas and cooperation on strikes against jihadists, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov announced after the marathon talks with the US’s John Kerry.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he may hold another meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry next week. “I don’t know (to the question of what is going on at the talks), we are considering a meeting with my counterpart next week,” Lavrov told journalists.
  • The European Union’s Nordic countries as well as the Baltic States have lost from 10% to 22% of food exports due to the Russian food embargo, a report on the economic situation in Russia suggests.
  • OPEC member-states disagree over the fact whether Iran has reached the oil production level that was before the sanctions or it has not, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.
  • Washington has berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for using the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe the Palestinian Authority’s aspirations to create its own state, saying Netanyahu’s choice of words is “inappropriate and unhelpful.
  • A raid on the acting head of Russia’s anti-corruption agency turned out to be quite productive – police found a bag big enough to accommodate over $122 million in cash.
  • The Crimean peninsula can never be returned to Ukraine, notwithstanding the fact that it was “annexed,” Czech President Milos Zeman said in answering a reader’s question in the Czech newspaper Parlamentni Listy.
  • The Bavarian ruling party and Merkel’s ally CSU has proposed a set of new measures aimed at toughening Germany’s refugee policy and fostering integration.
  • North Korea has confirmed it has conducted its fifth nuclear test, announcing it is now capable of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.
  • A Dutch politician has refused to shake the outstretched hand of Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, when on a visit to the Netherlands.
  • The US move to expand its sanctions list to target Russian companies is not in line with proposed cooperation in sensitive areas, which the leaders of the two nations discussed at the G20 summit in China, the Kremlin said, warning of possible retaliation.
  • China and the Philippines, traditionally the US’ closest ally in Southeast Asia, have reportedly discussed “revitalizing” bilateral ties in such key areas as tourism and customs, amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent harsh rhetoric for US officials.
  • People in Turkey no longer want the EU membership, according to the country’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
  • Turkey’s Incirlik military base, used to launch anti-terrorist missions in the region, will reportedly be revamped with the help of a €58 million ($65 million) investment from Germany. That’s despite Ankara recently banning German authorities from visiting the site.
  • Russian military has started massive drills to test troops’ combat readiness and cooperation between different branches of military in the south of Russia. The exercise involves over 12,000 servicemen including Navy, Airborne and Aerospace units.
  • The leading global payment company MasterCard is being sued for £14 billion in damages. The company allegedly charged its 46 million UK customers excessive fees for using its cards.
  • Trade activity in Germany, the largest European economy, significantly shrank in July, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. Both exports and imports were much lower than expected. In the month, exports shrank by 2.6 percent to €97.1 billion against a projected growth of 0.4 percent. Imports fell by 0.7 percent to €77.7 billion with experts expecting a 0.5 percent increase.
  • China’s consumer price inflation slowed to its weakest pace in almost a year in August, pulled down by abating food costs, although an encouraging moderation in producer price deflation added to growing evidence of a steadying economy.
  • EU regulators are poised to propose a binding target to cut energy use by 30 percent by 2030, a more ambitious goal than previously discussed, according to a draft document.
  • Russia’s Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline will have a detrimental impact on Ukraine and on Europe, the CEO of Ukraine’s Naftogaz Andrey Kobolev said. Ukraine stands to lose $2 billion dollars in revenue.
  • Imports into China unexpectedly rose in August for the first time in nearly two years, and the fall in exports abated.
  • The US Department of Commerce is expanding its blacklist of Russian companies and individuals over their alleged links to the Ukrainian conflict.
  • The barring of Ukrainian businesses from the Russian market has inflicted losses on the country of at least $15 billion, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
  • German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has raised its offer to buy the US agrochemical firm Monsanto. The higher bid puts the value of the American company, including its debt, at more than $65 billion.
  • It would be fair for Iran to have a chance to increase oil output to reach its pre-sanction market share, said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.
  • The British pound has jumped to a seven-week high against the US dollar after the UK service sector bounced back last month from a decline caused by June’s vote to quit the European Union.
  • The European Commission has found that automaker Volkswagen broke consumer laws in twenty EU countries by cheating on emissions tests.
  • Bashar Assad has enormous support both from his people and unarmed opposition groups for his fight against Islamic State, despite the West’s push for regime change in Syria, says Baroness Caroline Cox. The UK House of Lords peer was speaking to RT after meeting the Syrian leader.
  • Just a day after the UK pledged to bolster its support for Vietnam, the British government has promised China almost identical defence cooperation – despite the fact that the two Asian nations are teetering on the edge of a potential armed standoff.
  • British spies have been censured by the government’s intelligence watchdog for breaking dozens of agency rules last year, including failing to obtain authorization to conduct surveillance and plugging cell phones into computer systems.
  • After 9/11 New Yorkers were assured the air was safe by the EPA. The federal government was slow to respond with health programs to help survivors despite recognizing the worst health effects wouldn’t be seen for 10-15 years. But 15 years later cancer rates doubled.
  • Germany has adjusted the last details of the readmission agreement with Afghanistan to send back undocumented migrants and refugees, local media reported. About 40,000 Afghan nationals can be deported after signing the agreement.
  • Engineers, intelligence experts and scientists plan to discuss independent versions of the World Trade Centre towers’ collapse and other aspects of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, author and founder of the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth James Fetzer said.
  • The US government reversed within minutes on a judge’s ruling, temporarily suspending construction on one of the sites of a North Dakota oil pipeline. Fierce opposition from Native Americans states that the project threatens waterways and drinking water, and desecrates sacred tribal ground.
  • The CEO of Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), the oldest surviving bank in the world, is stepping down, the financial institution said in a statement, after failing stress tests.
  • Nord Stream 2 company will submit a request in two weeks to the Swedish government for carrying out gas pipeline construction works.
  • Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump weighed in on the Federal Reserve debate on hiking interest rates before Election Day blasting the Central Bank for masking the failures of President Obama’s “false economy” which he argues has not truly recovered since the 2008 crash.
  • The national debt of the United States has surpassed $19.5 trillion. According to the US Treasury, the debt will reach $20 trillion by the end of Barack Obama’s term.