🌐 Waldo's - Nothing But The News - 18 March 2023
Headlines are updated at 2pm and 6pm everyday at the bottom of each section
🌎 North/South America
🇺🇸 - Trump says he expects to be arrested on Tuesday in Manhattan DA case - Developing Story
Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as prosecutors consider charges over hush money payments to a porn star, and called on his supporters to protest.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney's office, which brought the case related to porn actor Stormy Daniels, declined to comment.
No U.S. president - while in office or afterwards - has faced criminal charges. Trump is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2024. He has said he will continue campaigning even if he is charged with a crime.
🇺🇸 - US security forces brace for possible Trump ‘arrest’ – media
The agencies are carrying out “preliminary security assessments” in and around a Manhattan courthouse to prepare for a possible indictment linked to an alleged “hush money” scheme involving a woman who claimed to have been intimate with the ex-president, five senior officials told NBC on Friday.
While the officials stressed that the discussions are “precautionary” given that no charges have been filed, they said preparations are being made for an indictment that could come as early as next week.
Four law enforcement officials reached by the Associated Press confirmed the interagency conversations, which they said involve “security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance” by Trump.
The agencies discussing security preparations reportedly include the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Manhattan DA’s Office.
The Secret Service will eventually determine whether Trump is handcuffed in the event he is charged, according to a “source in the courts” cited by Fox News.
Read: 🇺🇸 - Trump failed to disclose dozens of foreign gifts – report
🇺🇸 - Biden believes banking crisis in the US subsides
"Yes" he said responding to a question if he thinks that the banking crisis has calmed down. The President's words are quoted by the White House press corps.
Earlier on Friday, Biden asked the US Congress to give regulators more authority to claw back pay and penalize executives at distressed banks "whose mismanagement contributed to their institutions failing."
In particular, he asked Congress to authorize the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to claw back compensation, including from the sale of stocks, from executives at failed banks such as Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank.
Biden also called on Congress to expand the FDIC’s authority to bar executives of failed banks from working in the banking sector.
🇺🇸 ⚖️ 🇷🇺 - Biden calls ICC warrant against Putin ‘justified’
When asked about the ICC's decision on Putin, Biden said, "Well, I think it's justified. But the question is, it's not recognized internationally by us, either. But I think it makes a very strong point."
On Friday, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova.
The ICC was created by the 1998 Rome Statute. It is not part of the UN and is accountable to countries that have ratified the statute. Countries not party to the statute include Russia (signed but not ratified), the United States (signed but later withdrew), and China (did not sign the statute).
In 2016, Putin signed a decree under which Russia would not become a member of the ICC. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, this court "did not justify the hopes rested on it and did not become a truly independent body of international justice.".
Read: 🇷🇺 ⚖️ 🇺🇳 - International Criminal Court as West’s puppet proves its inferiority — Russia’s UN envoy
Read: 🇺🇸 ⚖️ 🇷🇺 - US stance on ICC 'reminiscent of sluggish schizophrenia' — Russian embassy
Read: 🇷🇺 ⚖️ 🇺🇳 - You have no power here: What the ICC ‘arrest warrant’ means for Putin
Read: 🇺🇸 ⚖️ 🇺🇳 - 10/09/2018 - US threatens to arrest ICC judges if they pursue Americans for Afghan war crimes
🌎 More North/South America
🇺🇸 - Half Of Americans Believe Media "Intend To Mislead, Misinform"; New Poll Finds (Only Half?)
🇺🇸 🇭🇳 🇨🇳 - U.S. leans on Honduras to rethink China switch, hopes for reprieve
🇺🇸 🇷🇺 🇨🇳 - US ready to ban Chinese airlines using Russia overflights – NYT
🇨🇺 🇺🇸 - Patria participants call to end US embargo, disinformation on Cuba
🇺🇸 - At Least 186 US Banks At 'Potential Risk of a Run' Similar to SVB, Economists Warn
🇷🇸 🇽🇰 🇪🇺 - Serbia and Kosovo in high-stakes EU-mediated talks aimed at easing tensions
They tentatively agreed last month to the wording of an 11-point EU plan to normalize relations following the neighbors’ 1998-1999 war and Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.
Talks will focus on how to implement the EU plan that calls for the two countries to maintain good neighborly relations, and recognize each other’s official documents and national symbols.
If implemented, it would prevent Belgrade from blocking Kosovo’s attempts to seek membership in the United Nations and other international organizations.
The tentative agreement, drafted by France and Germany and supported by the US, doesn’t explicitly call for mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia.
🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Russia issues ultimatum on grain deal
Western countries have two months to lift sanctions on Russian agricultural exports if they want to maintain the grain deal with Ukraine, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Friday.
Nebenzia explained that while Moscow had agreed to extend the scheme unlocking agricultural exports via the Black Sea, it could continue only if Western countries address concerns voiced by Russia.
Nebenzia recalled that the grain deal not only sought to secure agricultural exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, but was also meant to promote deliveries of Russian food and fertilizers to the global market. In this regard, the deal “is not being implemented, not in the slightest,” he said.
UPDATE: 🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Black Sea Grain Initiative prolonged by 60 days until May 18 – Russia’s office in Geneva
UPDATE: 🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Rumors of grain deal’s extension for more than 60 days are false – Russia’ UN mission
UPDATE: 🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Grain deal prolonged by 60 days – Russian MFA
Read: 🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Poorest countries receive only about 3% of grain deal supplies — Russia’s UN envoy
Read: 🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Ukraine grain deal renewed – Moscow
Read: 🇷🇺 🇺🇳 - Agreement on export of Russian food ‘not in the least" implemented — Russia’s UN envoy
🇨🇭 - Swiss banking giant in talks to buy Credit Suisse – media
Swiss financial regulators, the Swiss National Bank and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), are organizing talks between the country’s two largest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, to discuss a potential merger between the lenders, Bloomberg and Financial Times reported on Friday citing sources.
According to the reports, UBS is exploring an acquisition of all or parts of Credit Suisse. The boards of the two banks are also expected to meet separately this weekend to evaluate the idea of a merger.
The market value of UBS is about $60 billion at the moment, while Credit Suisse’s amounts to a mere $8 billion.
Read: 🇨🇭 - UBS, regulators race to seal Credit Suisse deal as soon as Saturday - FT
Read: 🇨🇭 - Credit Suisse stocks continue slide
🇬🇧 - London Metal Exchange discovers fraud at warehouse
The London Metal Exchange (LME) discovered “irregularities” with bagged nickel briquettes at one of its warehouses this week, which forced it to postpone a resumption of trading in the metal during Asian hours until March 27.
According to a statement from the LME, it had to cancel nine nickel warrants at one of its facilities after finding out that bagged nickel briquettes stored there were found to not have the weight specified in the contracts.
Last month, the company said it found “systematic fraud” in shipments that did not contain the metal specified in the contracts, and is facing millions of dollars in losses.
🇷🇺 🇨🇳 - Russia’s top nickel producer ditching dollar payments with China – Bloomberg
🇫🇷 - Protests resume in France amid anger at Macron's pension age reform
Refinery strikes persisted on Saturday in France and more demonstrations were taking place throughout the country amid anger at the government pushing through a rise in the state pension age without a parliamentary vote.
The growing unrest, combined with rubbish piling up on the streets of Paris after refused workers joined in the action, has left President Emmanuel Macron with the gravest challenge to his authority since the so-called "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vests) protests of December 2018.
UPDATE: 🇫🇷 - The Patriots party demands France's withdrawal from NATO, EU
Read: 🇫🇷 - A year of insurgency: How Yellow Vests left ‘indelible mark’ on French politics
Read: 🇫🇷 - French unions see threat of Yellow Vest rerun over Macron's retirement push
Read: 🇫🇷 - French MPs file no-confidence motion, clashes erupt over pension reform
🇩🇪 - Grim economic forecast issued for Germany
Germany is facing a winter recession as the economy has continued to shrink amid the deepening cost-of-living crisis
In the first quarter, gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to fall by 0.2%, the report suggests. The economy contracted by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the previous three months. A recession is defined as two successive quarters of contraction.
The Ifo forecasts economic output in 2023 to remain at roughly the same level as the year before, contracting by 0.1%.
Read: 🇩🇪 - German debt skyrockets
🇬🇷 - Greece sacks police chief after clashes over deadly train disaster
Greece said Saturday it had sacked its national police chief, days after clashes between security forces and demonstrators broke out in the wake of the country's deadliest train tragedy.
The Prime Minister's office said police chief Constantinos Skoumas had been discharged less than two months after being confirmed at the post.
No specific cause was given for prompting the change, which comes as police face widespread public criticism for their handling of protests over the February 28 tragedy in which 57 people were killed when two trains collided.
Read: 🇬🇷 - Tens of thousands protest in Greece over country's deadliest train disaster
🇪🇺 More Europe:
🇺🇦 - Silent wave of repression in Ukraine
🇺🇦 🇸🇾 - Ukraine’s Zelensky imposes sanctions against Syria’s Assad
🇷🇺 - Russia’s Northern Fleet 20 ships complete command-and-staff training
🇹🇷 - Grain deal prolonged – Erdogan
🇺🇦 🇺🇸 - Top Ukraine, U.S. defence officials discussed military aid in call
🇷🇺 💥 - Moscow to continue to demand answers to questions about Nord Stream blasts, diplomat says
🇷🇺 - Putin signs law criminalizing slander of any participants in special military operation
🇷🇺 🇧🇾 - Crimea seeks broad cooperation with Belarus, official says
🌍 Africa/Middle East
🇱🇧 🇺🇸 - US sanctions responsible for political, economic crises in Lebanon: Hezbollah
“Is there any reason for the country's calamities other than the US and its blockade? The purpose of such bids is to force the Lebanese nation into capitulation,” Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek said.
“The honorable people of Lebanon will neither be deceived nor surrender. They exercise so much patience, and God willing, will pull off a historic victory at last,” he added.
The Arab country has been mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history, which comes amid crippling sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.
Read: 🇱🇧 🇺🇸 - Hezbollah: US sanctions nothing less than war as civilians, infrastructures targeted'
🇪🇬 🇹🇷 - Egypt’s, Turkey’s foreign ministers hold talks in Cairo amid improving ties
Egypt’s foreign minister said talks with Turkey on the possibility of restoring ties to ambassadorial level would happen at “the appropriate time,” during the first visit to Cairo by Turkey’s top diplomat since ties ruptured a decade ago.
Ties between Turkey and Egypt were severely strained after Egypt’s then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, an ally of Ankara, in 2013.
The two countries have also been at odds in recent years over Libya, where they backed opposing factions in an unresolved conflict, and also over maritime borders in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean.
🇷🇺 🇨🇳 🇮🇷 - Russia says it held three-way naval exercises with China and Iran in Arabian Sea
The exercises, off the Iranian port of Chabahar, took place as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to host his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow for a three-day state visit starting on Monday.
Russia has continued to stage military exercises with partners, especially China, despite the strain on its armed forces from the year-long war in Ukraine, where it has failed to achieve any major advance since last summer.
🇹🇷 - General election campaign kicks off in Turkey
The general election is scheduled for May 14. If the presidential election requires a runoff, it will be held on May 28.
Erdogan will be the presidential candidate for the ruling People's Alliance, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party, is going to be his main challenger. There will also be other candidates whose chances of winning appear slim, according to experts.
A presidential candidate needs to gain more than 50% of the vote to win in the first round. If no candidate passes the 50% threshold, a run-off is held between the top two contenders.
🇵🇸 🇮🇱 🇪🇬 🇯🇴 🇺🇸 - Palestine confirms participation in Egypt security meeting with Israel
Palestine said Saturday its participation in a security meeting with Israel in Egypt’s Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh aims to defend Palestinian rights.
Delegates from Egypt, Jordan and the United States will also attend the meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday.
On Thursday, Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) not to attend the Sharm El-Sheikh security meeting with Israel.
Last month, Palestinian and Israeli delegates attended a meeting in Jordan, along with Egypt and the US, in an effort to ease tension in the Palestinian Territories.
UPDATE: 🇵🇸 🇮🇱 🇪🇬 - Palestinian Authority urged not to attend security meeting with Israel in Egypt
🌍 More Middle East/Africa:
🇪🇺 🇵🇸 🇮🇱 - Israeli officials will not meet EU foreign policy chief over critical remarks
🇵🇸 🇮🇱 - Israeli Army Says No Losses After Rocket Launch From Gaza
🇹🇷 - February’s earthquakes in Turkey claimed 49,600 lives – authorities
🇬🇧 🇷🇼 - UK Home Secretary visits Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
🇸🇦 🇾🇪 - 3 civilians killed as Saudi forces shell border regions in northwestern Yemen
🇪🇺 🇵🇸 🇮🇱 - EU urges immediate probe into 'Israel's' killing of Palestinian child
🇮🇶 🇬🇧 - Distract and divert: How Tony Blair screens his role in Iraq War
🇮🇱 - Netanyahu's 'reforms' may cost 'Israel' bloody price: Officials
🇷🇺 🌍 🏳️🌈 - The battle for African hearts and minds: Here's Why the West is upset about Russia's growing influence on the continent
🇳🇬 - Nigeria local elections open in shadow of contested national vote
🇵🇸 🇮🇱 - Young Palestinian man killed in West Bank as Israel’s atrocities continue unabated
🇮🇷 - Raeisi: Enemies seek to instill despair, turn Iran’s strengths into weaknesses
🇰🇵 🇺🇸 - 800,000 North Koreans volunteer for war against US: Report
On Friday alone, some 800,000 North Korean workers and students volunteered to either enlist or reenlist in the country's military to fight in such warfare, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported on Saturday.
The report said the "Youth Vanguard rose up at once to join the war to defend the homeland and the war to destroy the enemy," referred to in the article as the "US Imperialists and puppet traitors [who] are trying to destroy our independence and right to live and develop."
"Provocations" by Washington and Seoul "are crossing a line that can no longer be tolerated" and that North Korea seeks to demonstrate it can "overpower" enemy military capabilities, it added.
Read: 🇷🇺 🇺🇸 🇰🇵 - US, its satellites fan tensions on Korean Peninsula – Russia’s ambassador to DPRK
Read: 🇰🇵 🇺🇸 🇰🇷 - North Korea says 'largest ICBM' fired to warn US, South Korea over drills
🇯🇵 🇰🇷 - A new front: S Korea, Japan mending ties amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
South Korea will fully implement a key military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, a defense ministry official said on Saturday, as the two countries are seeking to mend ties.
Seoul and Tokyo move to renew diplomacy to counter Pyongyang and thaw long-frozen relations to form a united front against their "shared concerns" over North Korea and China.
"Improved ties between Seoul and Tokyo will help us embrace trilateral opportunities to advance our common regional and international priorities, including our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific," a US state department spokesperson said.
Read: 🇺🇸 🇯🇵 🇨🇦 🇮🇳 🇰🇷 - US holding joint drills with Canada, Japan, South Korea, India
🇵🇰 - Police raid Khan’s house as ex-Pakistan PM heads to court
Khan was summoned by the court in relation to a state gift case in which he is set to be indicted on Saturday. Soon after his departure from Lahore on Saturday, police in the capital of the Punjab province carried out the raid at his residence, breaking down the entrance gate to gain access.
“Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone. Under what law are they doing this? This is part of London Plan where commitments were made to bring absconder Nawaz Sharif to power as quid pro quo for agreeing to one appointment,” Khan tweeted.
🇬🇧 🇰🇿 - UK to help Kazakh exports bypass Russia, seeks critical minerals
Britain will help Kazakhstan develop export routes bypassing Russia, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said on a visit to the Central Asian nation on Saturday, where he also signed a memorandum on supplies of critical minerals.
Cleverly said London valued the position of Astana - which has traditionally been closely allied with Moscow - on the Ukrainian conflict. Kazakhstan has refused to support Russia's invasion or recognise its annexation of Ukrainian territories.
They also ways to support the development of alternative routes such as the so-called Middle Corridor.
🇮🇳 🇨🇳 - India says China situation dangerous on Himalayan front
The situation between India and China in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh is fragile and dangerous, with military forces deployed very close to each other in some parts, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.
At least 24 soldiers were killed when the two sides clashed in the region in mid-2020, but the situation has been calmed through rounds of diplomatic and military talks.
Violence erupted in the eastern sector of the undemarcated border between the nuclear-armed Asia giants in December but did not result in any deaths.
🇩🇪 🇯🇵 - Germany, Japan seek cooperation on economic security amid supply chain strains
Germany and Japan agreed to cooperate closely on economic security on Saturday during their first ever high-ministerial government consultations, held amid tensions over global supply chains and economic disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Germany and Japan aimed to boost cooperation "in strategic areas including mineral resources, semiconductors, and batteries, and share our best practices to counter risks in order to build a resilient supply chain that is safe and sustainable"
In a move primarily focused at China, Japan's parliament passed an economic security bill last year aimed at guarding technology and reinforcing critical supply chains.
🌏 More Asia/Pacific:
🇨🇳 - China fines Big Four accounting firm
🇮🇳 - PM Modi: India's econmic, banking systems are strong
🇳🇿 - Jacinda Ardern is tipped for top internet censorship role
🇧🇷 🇨🇳 - Brazil's president to visit China later this month
🇦🇫 🇺🇳 - Funding shortfall forces food ration cuts for millions of hungry Afghans
🇺🇸 🇰🇷 - U.S. House Foreign Affairs delegation to visit Seoul next month, Yonhap reports
🇨🇳 🇷🇺 - China-Russia relationship does not tolerate third party’s interference — newspaper
🇺🇸 🇨🇳 🇦🇺 - US seeks to prevent China’s diplomatic triumph, Australian expert says
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