Week 2

  1. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of five Catalan cities for rallies aimed at speeding up the process breakaway from Spain.
  1. International military exhibition “Army 2016”, which displayed state-of-the art Russian and foreign arms, drew to a close after nearly a week outside Moscow. It drew more than half a million visitors and dozens of foreign delegations.
  1. The landmark new Syrian ceasefire plan, brokered in Geneva by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, started on 12th September, It initiated an initial 48-hour truce, which must then hold for the entire week.
  1. CIA Director John Brennan called Russia a “formidable adversary” that challenges the US in a “number of areas,” like cyberspace, while admitting it is essential to get along with Moscow, as it has a “vested interest” in stability and defeating terrorism.
  1. Russia and China launched an eight-day naval exercise in the South China Sea starting on 12th September. The drills included anti-submarine warfare, vessel rescue, joint air defence, and taking an island with amphibious and airborne troops.
  1. America’s response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks, particularly the invasion of Iraq, fostered rather than curbed global terrorism, French President Francois Hollande said, adding that France had suffered from US foreign policy choices.
  1. Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka announced the re-run of the election, due on 2nd October, will be postponed until November 27 or December 4, after postal voters complained about mail-in ballots that failed to seal, likely due to low-quality adhesive.
  1. The Russian and US-brokered nationwide ceasefire in Syria came into effect, beginning at 7pm Damascus time (16:00 GMT) on 12th The Russian Defence Ministry said that Moscow and the US will create joint centre to define terrorist targets.
  1. The Philippines president said that US troops “have to go” from the south of his country. He blamed American soldiers for inflaming tensions with the local Muslim population, saying they would “never have peace” whilst a US military presence was there.
  1. The US is confusing international order with an “American” one, said Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, questioning Washington’s policies. It came in response to Ash Carter’s accusations that Moscow wanted to erode the principles of international order.
  1. The world’s top ten corporations, including Apple, Shell and Walmart, have a combined revenue that is greater than the combined income of the 180 “poorest” countries out of the world’s total 195 sovereign states.
  1. The US and several of its allies have condemned the takeover of four oil terminals in Libya by the country’s rival administration, calling for an immediate withdrawal. Those behind the seized ports say the move was necessary to protect the nation’s wealth.
  1. An Israeli warplane and a drone were shot down by Syrian forces in the southern Quneitra countryside, Golan Heights, the Syrian Army said in a statement. It came after the Israeli military targeted Syrian positions in the Golan Heights.
  1. France’s highest appeals court rejected an appeal from International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, meaning she will stand trial for her role in a €400 million ($440 million) payout case while she was French finance minister back in 2008.
  1. The US-led coalition is reluctant to strike Al-Nusra Front targets in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding the status of the terrorist group, now renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, will be discussed with Washington.
  1. The so-called moderate rebel forces in Syria violated the nationwide ceasefire on 23 occasions, within the first 24 hours of its inception, the Russian military said. Six people died in Aleppo overnight while 10 others have been wounded.
  1. Russia is not in any way tied to the hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database, Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
  1. Barack Obama slammed Donald Trump for his appearance on RT last week, accusing the Republican nominee of trying to “curry favour” with the Russian president, whom he compared to Saddam Hussein.
  1. Every Dutch citizen may soon find themselves on the organ donation list, if a ‘yes unless’ bill, which has passed the lower house of parliament, gets the green light. Those objecting to being on the register would have to specifically ask to be taken off.
  1. The Philippines intend to pursue “independent” foreign and military policies separate from US interests in the region, the country’s president said, announcing that in order to avoid any confrontations with China he would halt joint Filipino navy patrols with the US.
  1. The EU should play a part in Syria peace negotiations and have its own military force “to complement NATO,” European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said in his annual address to the European Parliament.
  1. The Swedish military announced that troops training on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, not far from Russia, will remain there permanently. Officials said “external factors” prompted the order for some 150 soldiers to stay on the island.
  1. About €300 million ($336 million) was found in Swiss bank accounts of the father of Russia’s anti-corruption agency head. The news comes days after police arrested Dmitry Zakharchenko and found over $122 million in cash at his Moscow home.
  1. Following a US statement urging Turkey to respect the democratic process after clashes between demonstrators and police in south eastern areas, Turkish officials told the American ambassador to respect their sovereignty.
  1. Countries responsible for launching wars and stirring instability should be held accountable and pay a heavy share of the financial burden of aiding devastated regions, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.
  1. Russian arms producer Almaz-Antey said Western media distorted, mixed up and unduly rejected the conclusions of its investigation into the the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in 2014, according to a document obtained by a Russian media outlet.
  1. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French right wing National Front party, compared Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech to a “funeral for the European Union” and branded it “insipid and faulty.”
  1. Russia said the US was not keeping its end of the bargain on the Syrian ceasefire and has continued its calls for Washington to make public all documents relating to the deal. The Russian military says Damascus is the only party observing the agreement.
  1. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lashed out at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for comparing those who oppose Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank to advocates of “ethnic cleansing.”
  1. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu called the Russian President to discuss the situation in the Middle East, as well as “various” aspects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including the possible resumption of direct talks between the sides.
  1. China successfully launched the Tiangong-2 space laboratory into low orbit in the latest step of the country’s cosmic ambitions to build a permanent modular space station. It may become humankind’s only space hub after the ISS retires next decade.
  1. The Netherlands brokered an agreement with Berlin to return at least half of the 900 refugees who passed through Germany without ‘formally’ requesting asylum there and ended up in the Netherlands. The Dutch insist that initial registration and fingerprinting still counts.
  1. The Philippines foreign minister warned that his country will not be treated like a “little brown brother” to the US, and will not be lectured on human rights. It follows inflammatory statements made by the nation’s president about US President Barack Obama.
  1. The US stalled on its promise to separate moderate rebel groups in Syria from terrorists, who are not subject to a shaky ceasefire and are a legitimate target for Russia and Damascus, the Russian foreign minister said.
  1. Apple’s tax bills continue to mount after yet another multi-million penalty was handed down to an iTunes unit in Japan. A total of $118 million (12 billion yen) is owed after it was found the company was funnelling money through Ireland.
  1. In an unprecedented blow to the alliance of Germany’s main sister right-wing parties, the Bavarian PM and CSU party leader threatened not to support Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats at 2017 elections if she does not limit the number of immigrants.
  1. French investigators reportedly found traces of TNT in debris from the EgyptAir Airbus A320 that crashed over the Mediterranean in May. Though the origin of the traces is unclear, it adds to speculation that the crash was an inside job.
  1. A novel robotic vehicle that includes a floating buoy and an underwater glider is being tested by the Russian military. The watercraft is a sensor and communication platform, which the Navy may find useful for submarine patrol missions.
  1. Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Germany to raise their voices against pending free trade deals the EU wants to seal with the US and Canada.
  1. The US is still reluctant to take measures to force rebels under its control to implement the Syrian ceasefire, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, adding that if things do not change, Washington will be the sole side responsible for the failure of the truce.
  1. US-led coalition jets bombed Syrian government forces’ positions near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, killing 62 troops and “paving the way” for Islamic State militants, the Syrian Army General Command told the state television.
  1. Moscow called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting after US-led coalition hit Syrian forces, killing 62 soldiers and wounding 100 more. The Russian FM spokeswoman blasted Washington over the indiscriminate airstrike that she said served the interests of ISIS terrorists.
  1. The US’ sudden attempt to “help” the Syrian army fighting ISIS in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, which resulted in a strike that killed and injured dozens of soldiers, does not look like an honest mistake, Russia’s UN envoy told journalists at the UNSC meeting.
  1. Oil producers in Iran and Saudi Arabia increased production just before negotiations on capping output were about to begin.
  1. The dispute between Greece and its international lenders on the country’s debt management is damaging the recovery, according to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He is calling on the EU to recognize the Greek debt crisis as a “European problem.”
  1. Athens offered Russia’s Gazprom the opportunity to invest up to $900 million in the country’s coal industry, business daily Kommersant reports, citing its sources.
  1. Political tension with Europe and the increasing role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has the world’s biggest supplier looking to increase exports to the Asia-Pacific region, according to Russia’s Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency.
  1. Airlines in China will spend more than $1 trillion on new airplanes over the next two decades to meet the country’s booming demand for air travel, Boeing said in its annual China market outlook.
  1. German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer agreed to buy American GMO company Monsanto for $128 a share. The acquisition values Monsanto’s equity at about $56 billion, but including debt, the deal is worth nearly $66 billion.
  1. The crisis in the luxury goods sector has deepened with declining sales in key consumer markets.
  1. The Bank of England (BoE) kept the key lending rate on hold at a record low 0.25 percent on Thursday. The regulator said a rate cut to just above zero is still possible later this year.
  1. Moscow and Tehran are actively working on opening a joint bank with plans to carry out operations in national currencies, according to the former president of the Russia-Iran Friendship Society Bahram Amirahmadiyan.
  1. European Union regulators are investigating whether Swedish furniture manufacturer IKEA avoided paying at least €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in EU taxes over the past six years.
  1. It’s been eight years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked a global financial crisis and generous bonuses are back with £44.3 billion ($58.6 billion) paid out in the last financial year in the UK. It is the highest figure on record.
  1. The Central Bank of Russia has cut the country’s key lending rate by half a percentage point to 10 percent, the lowest rate since Russia plunged into recession in 2014. The regulator explained the move as an attempt to fortify the inflation slowdown Russia is seeing this year.
  1. Armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa are not only devastating the economies gripped by fighting, but are sapping growth in neighbouring countries and those hosting millions of refugees, the IMF said.
  1. Nord Stream-2 has submitted its permit application for the planned offshore pipeline system to the Swedish government, the project’s operator said.
  1. German Vice Chancellor and Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel will visit Russia next week to hold talks with Russian government officials about the state of bilateral trade relations.
  1. The Netherlands is the EU’s largest producer of natural gas, and has used 80 percent of its reserves, reports the local CBS statistics office. This leaves the EU with two options: buy more gas from Russia or increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports.
  1. With trade between Russia and India far below its potential, the two countries are contemplating creating a ‘green corridor’ for the smooth transit of goods, India’s business newspaper the Economic Times reported.
  1. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has expressed deep concern over the current economic and political situation in the US, saying it is the worst he has ever seen.
  1. Germany’s biggest bank says it won’t pay a $14 billion US Department of Justice (DoJ) fine for selling mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
  1. A Beijing-based surveillance equipment firm with large-scale trade contracts in the UK has caused a bit of a panic amongst UK security officials as to any potential hidden agendas that could easily stretch beyond mere financial interests.
  1. Norway and Russia share a border, and are partners in the exploration of the Arctic’s oil and gas reserves. The ties between the industry’s largest players are strong enough to defy the EU sanctions that were backed by the Norwegian government.
  1. Russia’s second largest oil producer LUKoil is interested in exploring areas of the Caspian Sea adjacent to Iran, the company’s CEO Vagit Alekperov said.
  1. India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) has signed a definitive agreement with Russian oil company Rosneft to acquire an additional 11% of Vankorneft. Vankorneft is a Rosneft subsidiary and owns the Vankor Field and North Vankor license.
  1. In an unexpected move the Treasury yield curve – the discrepancy between the yield on long-term and short-tern US governmental debt – steepened, reflecting a shift in capital from long-term bonds into other assets.
  1. The Ford Motor Company will move all small car production out of the United States into Mexico within the next three years, Ford CEO Mark Fields said.
  1. Australia has confirmed its aircraft participated in the strike near Syria’s Deir ez-Zor, where dozens Syrian servicemen were killed, SANA reported on Sunday quoting statement of the Australian Defence Department.
  1. Twenty-nine people were injured in an explosion in the Chelsea neighbourhood in New York City Saturday evening, and the city mayor said there has so far been no evidence of a terror connection.