Steemians - Take a gander at my synopsis of significant global happenings during week 22, below. All sources have been provided in "Reference Links" section at the end of this synopsis.
The historic US-North Korea summit that was called off by Trump last week in a letterto Kim, seems to be back on track to be held on June 12th. Bizzarely enough, President Trump said (on Friday) he had not yet read the latest letter to him from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite announcing that their summit is back on and moments earlier saying the letter was “very nice.” Trump does not wish to provide his South Korean and Japanese allies with a seat at the much-anticipated talks with North Korea, WaPo reported.
Its been almost 2 months now that the biggest , and the historically least violent central American nation Nicaragua is burning with civil unrest.Controversial social reform by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo's government,which would have resulted in increased social reforms payments for employers, triggered the nationwide protests starting on April 18. Although the Ortega government scrapped the proposed reforms, the protests still continue demanding the ousting of Ortega and his wife Murillo over state sponsored killings of protestors and journalists.On May 30, during Mother's Day protests, another 15 protesters were killed nationwide.
On May 25th,at St Petersburg International Economic Forum (dubbed as Russia's Davos), Putin made an explicit overture to Washington for dialogue and seized the opportunity to articulate a highly nuanced position on the topic with an eye on the overall Russian-American relationship. Putin alluded to US improving its ties with Iran by reviewing the JCPOA ( Nuclear deal). Intriguingly enough, Putin also brought into the matrix the “good, trust-based relations between us (Russia and Israel),"although Russia's stance in Syria has been anything but trusting of Israel.
Mariano Rajoy's six year reign as Spain's prime minister ended when he become the first prime minister in Spain’s history to lose a vote of no-confidence amid a corruption scandal engulfing his Popular party. He will be replaced by the Socialist opposition leader Pedro Sánchez. It will be interesting to see if the Catalan separatist movement gains steam amidst this political hullabaloo.
An electoral alliance between the welfare-subsidy populists of the Five Star Movement and the tax-cutting populists of the Northern League – is the most likely for Italy’s new elections, which may take place as early as July. Such an alliance would likely set Italy on a course to leave Eurozone.
- President Trump's USA is imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from three of America's biggest trading partners — Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The new tariffs, 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum, take effect starting June 1st 2018. EU, Canada and Mexico were quick to retaliate with counter tariffs. Jean-Claude Juncker of EU alluded to tariffs that are expected to affect roughly $7.5 billion worth of US exports. Canada, citing the retalliation as "the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era", placed tariffs on American goods, including steel and aluminum at 10% and 25% slabs, up to about $12.8 billion. Mexico retaliated with comparable penalties on US products including lamps, pork, fruit, cheese and flat steel.
- USA will impose a 25% tariff on goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to ‘Made in China 2025’, the White House stated. Along with the threatened sanctions, there are also moves to clamp down on the length of stay for Chinese students in the US. Back in December, the Trump administration outlined in a document concerns about intellectual property theft, with China as the main target. The state-owned China Daily simply stated in an editorial that the “Ministry of Commerce was surprised” by Washington’s move after the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had insisted that tariffs had been put “on hold” following the second round of trade talks earlier this month.
- Bayer AG won U.S. antitrust approval for its $66 billion takeover of Monsanto Co., clearing the last major regulatory hurdle to forming the world’s biggest seed and agricultural-chemicals provider after a nearly two-year global review, Bloomberg reported. "This extreme consolidation drives up costs for farmers and it limits their choice of products in the marketplace," National Farmers Association stated. "We will now focus our efforts on ensuring the promises made by Bayer and Monsanto throughout this approval process are kept."
- IMF's Deputy Director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department, Dong He, suggested countermeasures to combat potential competition to central banks from cryptocurrencies. He suggested a 3 pronged strategy - making existing fiats more stable, regulating crypto assests so any competitive advantage of light regulation is diminished and issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to “make their money more attractive for use as a settlement vehicle.”
- Norway’s largest financial services group DNB ASA (Den Norske Bank), and the IOTA Foundation (IOTA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). They will now reportedly cooperate to explore applications of the IOTA Tangle, a “third-generation” distributed ledger (DLT).
- India will not be buying Venezuelan oil using its state issued "Petro" cryptocurrency, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said. Although Venezuela was offering a 30% discount on oil purchases made using the Petro currency, which India could definitely have used to curb the skyrocketing oil prices throughout the country, it resorted to this decision since the Reserve Bank of India is nonsupporting of cryptocurrencies and have taken all necessary steps, including pressuring of Financial institutinos to discontinue servicing crypto accounts, to thwart adoption and access in the country.
- An in-depth government report “prepared by and for the military” and obtained by a Nevada newsroom, details a 2004 incident involving an alleged “UFO” sighting recorded by the US military off California’s coast 14 years ago. Dubbed the “Tic Tac” incident, the unidentified flying object “rendezvouses” with a huge underwater object.
- Just an year after acquisition by Amazon, Whole Foods announced that the company is pausing its GMO Food labeling requirements. The requirements, which were scheduled to take effect on September 1, would have required that suppliers disclose on their packaging whether or not their products contained genetically modified ingredients.
- Just two weeks after around a dozen Google employees quit and close to 4,000 signed a petition over the company's involvement in a controversial military pilot program known as "Project Maven" - which will use artificial intelligence to speed up analysis of drone footage - Buzzfeed reports that Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene told employees during an internal meeting that the tech company was "not following through" on Maven. Did Google suddenly return to its "don't be evil" roots? Or did Project Maven just get 'skunkworked' underground somewhere else - for an even bigger budget?, asks Zerohedge.
- Reddit outscored the social network Facebook and now ranks 3rd in US, after Google and Youtube. However, when ranked globally, Reddit is only in sixth place, and Facebook — third.
- In a shocking turn of events, former Russian soldier-turned-journalist Arkady Babchenko who was supposedly murdered by Russia appeared alive and well at a press conference in Kiev on Wednesday as Ukraine admitted it had faked his death to “expose an alleged Russian plot to kill him,” The Guardian reported.
- Denmark becomes the sixth European country to enact the Burka ban, after France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Austria.
- CEO of the Brazilian energy giant, Petrobras, Pedro Parente unexpectedly resigned. Quitting from chief of the state-controlled oil company he helped to revive in the aftermath of the Carwash scandal, as the nationwide strike against high fuel prices has unleashed criticism against his free-market policies.
- Google-owned Waymo is adding as many as 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans to its autonomous fleet,to launch worlds first autonomous transportation service this year,staying ahead of Uber and Tesla in the race.
Cartoon of the week :
Source : @babylon_step_back (Twitter)
My Pick of the week : Reading
My Pick of the week : Video
My Pick of the week : Interview