25th April 2018

  • The back-to-back visits come weeks before a May 12 deadline set by Mr. Trump to “fix” the Iran agreement or walk away from it.
  • Emmanuel Macron has proposed negotiations on a “new deal” aimed at curbing Iran’s military power and regional activities, to exist alongside a three year-old agreement that restricts the country’s nuclear programme.
  • They call him the Trump whisperer. France’s President Emmanuel Macron – who believes his diplomacy, persuasion and personal charm can sway the thinking of his US counterpart, Donald Trump – arrives in Washington on Monday for the deeply symbolic first state visit by a foreign leader since Trump came to power.
  • Donald Trump loves the drama and tension of an ultimatum. It appeals to the ringmaster in him. The former reality show star revels in having the whole world hold its breath in anticipation of his next announcement.
  • Guardian briefing on Macron and Trump in Iran arms wrestle found here.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has questioned the legitimacy of efforts by the US and its European allies to change a nuclear deal with his country.
  • Oil prices hit $75 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly three and a half years, as fears mounted over the prospect of new US sanctions on Iran. “The US will decide by 12 May whether to abandon a nuclear deal with Iran and re-impose sanctions”
  • Australia: The 1 May deadline when US steel tariffs will apply to all countries including Australia is fast approaching and no permanent exemption has yet been put in place, according to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.
  • Video: Unfit for office? How the 25th amendment could remove Trump-video explainer.
  • President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, his nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, is in serious trouble amid accusations that as the White House doctor he oversaw a hostile work environment, improperly dispensed prescription drugs and possibly drank on the job.
  • Russia plans to deliver new air defense systems to Syria in the near future, RIA news agency cited Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying on Wednesday.
  • Analysis: Everyone’s talking about Russia’s S-300. Why now, and why should Israel be worried?
  • Israel: Democratic congressmen and women write to PM, saying they were ‘dismayed’ that agreement to resettle 16,500 Africans in West was canceled within 24 hours of being announced due to right-wing pressure.
  • There are also ominous notes for Trump in the book, in that Comey — at least before he got dragged into the 2016 election morass — was seen as one of Washington’s straight-shooters, much like Mueller himself.
  • Japan: The country’s foreign ministry issued a “strong protest” over plans to serve a mango mousse, featuring disputed islands on a map of the Korean peninsula, at the meeting.
  • North Korea crisis in 300 words: The North Korean stand-off is a crisis that, at worst, threatens nuclear war. The sudden prospect of direct talks with the US might mean there’s a chance at peace, but it’s complicated. Let’s take a step back.
  • North and South Korea: As a peace treaty was never signed after the end of the Korean War in 1953, the neighbours do not have formal relations. The “Sunshine Policy” of re-engagement with the North from the late 1990s earned one leader a Nobel Peace prize, but broke down within a decade as South Korean politics changed course and Pyongyang pursued its illegal nuclear ambitions.
  • Egypt: An Egyptian military court has sentenced Hisham Genena, the country’s former top auditor, to five years in prison for “spreading news that harms the armed forces.”
  • Egyptian authorities have extended the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, who has spent almost 500 days in jail without charge.
  • Lebanon: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Wednesday addressed the international community, calling on donor countries to exert more efforts in supporting Lebanon to cope with the impacts of the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Lebanon: The Constitutional Court is set to convene Thursday to consider an appeal brought forth Tuesday by MP Sami Gemayel against a controversial article in the 2018 state budget, the state-run National News Agency reported.
  • Jakarta: A newly drilled, unregulated oil well in western Indonesia exploded into flames early Wednesday, burning to death 15 people and injuring dozens of others.
  • Lebanon: The Higher Judicial Council Wednesday issued an official “clarification” on a number of details of the case of a Bint Jbeil parliamentary candidate who was assaulted earlier this week while hanging posters after a flurry of media reports regarding the incident.
  • Lebanon: The PSP and the LDP are rivals in the electoral battle, with both groups considered to be heavyweights among the Druze community, particularly in the Chouf-Aley district
  • Lebanon: President Michel Aoun will address Lebanese nationals at home and abroad Wednesday evening ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections.
  • Egypt: May sent a statement praising the Egyptian leader on Wednesday, in which she said the UK was looking forward to developing better relations with his government.
  • The most important surviving suspect in the 13 November 2015 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris has been given a 20-year jail term for his part in a shootout in Belgium four months later.
  • Kim Wall: What we know about about Danish submarine death.
  • UK: Borrowing fell by £3.5bn to £42.6bn in the 2017-18 financial year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
  • More than a year after President Trump issued a travel ban that set off the first legal controversy of his presidency, the Supreme Court is set to consider whether the chief executive has the power to bar most immigrants and travelers from five heavily Muslim countries.
  • Republican activists said Tuesday that they have collected at least 830,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal recent increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees, more than enough to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
  • Brexit: The Brexit secretary told MPs he always “respected” the wishes of Parliament, even when they defied ministers, but he believed they would not in this case.
  • Richard Corbett says feeling that Brexit is ‘not a done deal’ is growing.
  • China: While South Korea and the United States appear to be doing much of the diplomatic leg-workbringing the summit to fruition, the region’s future would-be leader, China, has not been watching on idly.
  • The UN’s two most senior Syria experts have warned of an Aleppo-style humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib as an EU donor conference aimed to raise up to $6bn (£4bn)to help Syrians displaced both inside and outside the country.
  • Yemen is not Saudi Arabia’s only unfinished war in this decade.
  • A court in Iraq has turned a death penalty handed down to Lamia K. into a life sentence. The woman from the southern German town of Mannheim had been found guilty of terror offenses as a member of “Islamic State.”
  • Iraq is opening more of its untapped oil and gas resources to foreign developers, hoping to boost revenues after its costly war with the Islamic State group, but analysts say the rushed bidding process — now timed to precede national elections — could draw a lukewarm response.
  • The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has denied intentions to intervene within Syrian affairs, saying airstrikes against Islamic State will continue.
  • Russian state television has shown footage from the 2016 set of a Syrian film in a report pushing Moscow’s claim that a suspected gas attack in Syria was “staged.”
  • Syria: The United Nations and the European Union have appealed for quick political talks to end the seven-year conflict in Syria, saying the latest territorial gains by Damascus and its allies hadn’t brought peace any closer.
  • The chief of the global chemical-weapons watchdog says it remains unclear when a team of international experts can visit the Syrian town of Douma to investigate an alleged deadly chemical attack there.
  • As geopolitical tensions spiked between Russia and West in recent years, one staunch US ally has been something of outlier toward Moscow: Israel.
  • After the April 13 attack on Syrian chemical facilities, the leaders of the United States, France, and Britain—who jointly conducted the strike—expressed satisfaction at the outcome.
  • Britain: The Government will commit to providing £450 million for Syria and the region in 2018, with £300 earmarked for 2019, bringing the total UK aid to the region to £2.71 billion. The announcement, set for Wednesday, consists of £150 million of new money spread across the two years.
  • Turkey’s snap elections and the future of Turkish democracy. 
  • Key decision looms for Turkey’s central bank on rates.
  • Turkey on April 25 rejected United States President Donald Trump’s “inaccurate expressions and the subjective interpretation of history” regarding the 1915 events, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.
  • ANKARA, Turkey — BMC, a privately owned Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer, has won a multibillion-dollar contract for the serial production of the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous, new-generation main battle tank in the making.
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