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Daily Brief: China Sends Special Envoy to North Korea


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 17, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA China Sends Special Envoy to North Korea Beijing dispatched a high-level envoy to Pyongyang (CNN) on Friday, the first such visit this year. U.S. President Donald J. Trump hailed the trip as a "big move." China gave few details about the trip, which is to be made by Song Tao, including whether he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (AP), though Song is expected to report on the Chinese Communist Party's congress last month. On Thursday, China's foreign ministry again called for a "freeze for freeze" agreement in which the United States and South Korea would suspend military exercises (Reuters) in exchange for North Korea halting its nuclear program. The statement appeared to contradict Trump's announcement earlier this week that he and Xi would not accept such a deal. ANALYSIS "A lull in nuclear tests by North Korea since September has led to speculation, particularly in South Korea, that the North may be open to negotiations. But Chinese officials have been careful not to publicly encourage such assumptions," Jane Perlez writes for the New York Times. "There's a strong debate within China amongst the political elites on whether China's policy of prioritizing stability on the Korean peninsula—as opposed to denuclearization—is really in China's interest," CFR's Patricia M. Kim said in an interview with Al Jazeera. "When Washington rejects any deal short of complete denuclearization, and dismisses Pyongyang's proposals of suspending nuclear and missile tests as tactics for buying time, Beijing believes that a political solution starting with such a freeze still exists," Tong Zhao writes for the Atlantic. PACIFIC RIM UN Urges Myanmar to Give Rohingya Citizenship A UN human rights committee has approved a resolution calling on Myanmar to facilitate the return of Rohingya refugees (AP) and grant the persecuted Muslim minority full citizenship rights. China, Laos, the Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam voted against the measure. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Three Thousand More U.S. Troops Deployed to Afghanistan A deployment of additional U.S. troops authorized by U.S. President Donald J. Trump brings the number of U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan (TOLO) to about fourteen thousand. Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie has requested sixteen thousand troops overall (RFE/RL); NATO allies have pledged new troop deployments to make up the gap. CFR's John B. Bellinger III discusses presidential war powers on the President's Inbox. INDIA: Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, 82, announced that he has appointed emissaries to travel and speak on his behalf (VOA) for an indefinite period of time, citing exhaustion.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Israel's Military Chief Seeks Regional Cooperation Against Iran Israeli General Gadi Eisenkot told a Saudi newspaper that his country is willing to share intelligence with "moderate" Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, to counter Iran, which he called the greatest threat in the region (Guardian). YEMEN: Fifty thousand children in Yemen are believed to have died from hunger and disease (AP) this year, according to the charity Save the Children. The organization said a continuing blockade by a Saudi-led coalition will likely increase the child mortality rate there. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Mugabe Makes Public Appearance After Military Takeover Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe spoke at a graduation ceremony in the capital of Harare, his first public appearance since a military takeover earlier this week (Al Jazeera). U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to meet with dozens of African foreign ministers (Reuters) in Washington on Friday, a day after the State Department said it will seek a transition to a "new era for Zimbabwe." CFR's John Campbell writes in Foreign Affairs that the military coup will not lead to reform in Zimbabwe. SOUTH SUDAN: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said this week that the United States must take a side in the South Sudan conflict (VOA), adding that the government bears primary responsibility for atrocities. EUROPE Catalan Leaders to Appear in Belgian Court Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four of his ministers will appear in a Belgian court on Friday for a hearing regarding an arrest warrant issued by Madrid (VOA). Spain seeks to try the deposed regional officials for sedition and rebellion over their role in an October independence referendum. RUSSIA: Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to extend a probe into chemical weapons attacks in Syria. It is the tenth time Russia has used its veto in favor of the Syrian government (BBC) since the war's start. AMERICAS Venezuelan Prosecutor Makes Plea to ICC Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor called on the Hague-based International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for President Nicolas Maduro and several other top officials for crimes against humanity, charging that eight thousand people have been murdered on the orders of the state (LAHT) since 2015. PARAGUAY: A judge in Paraguay authorized the extradition of Nicolas Leoz (BBC), a former president of South America's soccer confederation, to the United States, where he is under investigation for money laundering and bribery. UNITED STATES U.S. Moves to Develop Banned Missile The Pentagon threatened to develop a missile (WSJ) banned by a Cold War–era accord known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, alleging that Moscow is in violation of the pact. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States seeks to bring Russia "back into compliance." This CFR Backgrounder looks at the state of the INF Treaty. A Senate committee accused White House advisor Jared Kushner of failing to hand over emails (NYT) sought in its investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This CFR Backgrounder lays out the issues surrounding Trump, Russia, and the election.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: November 17, 2017 at 11:00PM

Daily Brief: Russia Offers Relief to Debt-Strapped Venezuela


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 16, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Russia Offers Relief to Debt-Strapped Venezuela Russia has agreed to restructure $3.2 billion of Venezuela's debt (FT), opening the door for the South American country to potentially meet its obligations to other foreign creditors. China, also a major creditor to Venezuela, said Thursday it believes the country has the ability to "properly handle" its debt issue (Reuters). The votes of confidence from Beijing and Moscow come after two ratings agencies declared Caracas in default on Monday on payments for some of its international bonds. Venezuela, in the midst of a severe economic and humanitarian crisis, is estimated to owe $140 billion (BBC) to foreign creditors. ANALYSIS "Both Russia, which is a member of the Paris Club of international creditors, and China, which is not, are emerging as alternate venues for embattled countries seeking to avoid debt restructuring managed by traditional economic powers like the U.S. and Western Europe," Henry Foy, John Paul Rathbone, and Kate Allen write for the Financial Times. "Given that sanctions introduced by the Trump administration ban U.S. investors from buying newly issued Venezuelan bonds, the chance of a voluntary debt swap operation—which would allow investors to swap near-term debt for debt that matures later on—seems highly unlikely," Antonio Maria Delgado writes for the Miami Herald. "[Caracas has] been cutting back on importing food, on importing medicine. People are starving. There's this whole other problem there, which is a humanitarian problem," CFR's Shannon K. O'Neil said in an interview with Bloomberg. This CFR Backgrounder looks at Venezuela's humanitarian crisis.  PACIFIC RIM Cambodian Court Dissolves Opposition Party The Supreme Court has ruled to dissolve Cambodia's National Rescue Party, banning 118 of its officials (Phnom Penh Post) from politics for five years and ousting hundreds of its lawmakers. Prime Minister Hun Sen has accused the opposition of working with the United States (Al Jazeera). CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick discusses the democratic decline in Southeast Asia. MYANMAR: National security forces carried out gang rapes of Rohingya women and girls (NYT) in recent attacks on villages in Rakhine State, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. CFR's Jamille Bigio discusses sexual violence against the Rohingya. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Opium Production Spikes in Afghanistan Opium production in Afghanistan spiked 87 percent in 2017 (RFE/RL) compared to the previous year, according to the country's counternarcotics ministry and the United Nations, which called the nine thousand tons produced a record. This CFR Backgrounder looks at global heroin flows. SRI LANKA: Government officials told the United Nations on Wednesday that they will take new steps to prevent torture by security forces (AP) following a report that at least fifty Sri Lankan men seeking asylum in Europe showed sign of beatings, rape, and brandings.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Former Lebanese PM Accepts Invitation to France Saad Hariri, who announced a surprise resignation earlier this month (France 24) while in Saudi Arabia, has accepted an invitation to France from President Emmanuel Macron. Hariri said he believed there was a plot against his life when he resigned. IRAN: The United Kingdom reportedly plans to transfer $527 million (Telegraph) it owes to Iran for an arms deal during the 1970s as it seeks the release of a British charity worker jailed there since last year (RFE/RL).  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Regional Leaders to Hold Zimbabwe Crisis Talks Members of southern Africa's regional bloc will convene in Botswana (FT) on Thursday after Zimbabwe's armed forces seized control of government offices and confined President Robert Mugabe to his home. The regional leaders have called on the military to avoid an "unconstitutional" transfer of power. CFR's John Campbell discusses the struggle between two factions in Zimbabwe's ruling party. ANGOLA: Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Africa's richest woman, was dismissed by President Joao Lourenco (BBC) as the head of Angola's state oil company.  EUROPE Russia Moves to Designate Outside Media as 'Foreign Agents' The lower house of parliament unanimously passed a measure that would permit authorities to designate foreign media outlets (RFE/RL) as "foreign agents." The move comes after the U.S. Justice Department ordered two Russian media outlets (DW) operating in the United States to register as foreign agents. EU: The labor market has improved (DW) in twenty-six of the European Union's twenty-eight states this year, according to the latest social justice index from the Germany-based Bertelsmann Foundation. Denmark, Sweden, and Finland ranked in the top three. AMERICAS After Two Decades, Haiti to Revive Military Haiti will formally unveil on Saturday a reconstituted national army, which will start with 150 recruits but could reach as many as five thousand. The country disbanded its army (VOA) in 1995 following a series of bloody coups.  UNITED STATES Judge Blocks Punitive Measures Against Sanctuary City A federal judge ruled on Wednesday in favor of the city of Philadelphia, which challenged the Justice Department's withholding of federal grant funds for public safety equipment over the city's declaration it would limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement (VOA). Nicholas J. Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center and one of the few U.S. officials who have continuously worked in counterterrorism positions (NYT) since the 9/11 attacks, will step down next month.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. 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Date: November 16, 2017 at 10:52PM

Daily Brief: Zimbabwe Leadership Uncertain as Military Seizes Control


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 15, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Zimbabwe Leadership Uncertain as Military Seizes Control An army chief of staff in Zimbabwe has denied a coup is underway (FT) in the country, after the armed forces seized control of the state TV station and government offices in what he called a bid to oust "criminals." South African President Jacob Zuma said ninety-three-year-old President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, is safe but confined to his home (Al Jazeera). Zuma has dispatched his defense minister and security officials (Guardian) to meet with Mugabe and the Zimbabwean armed forces. The move comes a week after Mugabe fired his vice president in what appeared to be a move to put his wife, Grace, on track to succeed him.  ANALYSIS "Mugabe (and presumably Grace) remains very popular in rural areas, where he is credited with expelling the white farmers and redistributing their land to those that work it, but he is deeply unpopular in urban areas," writes CFR's John Campbell. "The military takeover comes at a delicate moment for Zimbabwe, where an estimated 95 percent of the workforce is jobless and as many as three million Zimbabweans have gone into exile," Godfrey Marawanyika, Desmond Kumbuka, and Brian Latham write for Bloomberg. "The United States should make it a priority to consult with South Africa and other SADC governments on steps they could take individually and together to limit instability and violence in Zimbabwe," George F. Ward writes in a CFR Contingency Planning Memorandum. PACIFIC RIM Tillerson, in Myanmar, Calls to Investigate Rohingya Abuses The U.S. secretary of state, meeting with State Counselor Aung Sang Suu Kyi and a top military commander, said the United States may consider targeted sanctions on Myanmar but that broad-based ones are not advisable. Tillerson urged the Myanmar leaders to investigate credible reports of atrocities (NYT) in the country. CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick says the United States should have taken action to impose sanctions on the Myanmar military earlier. AUSTRALIA: Millions of voters in a postal referendum backed legalizing same-sex marriage (SMH) 62 percent to 38 percent. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on parliament to pass legislation by Christmas. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Afghan Minister Touts New Trade Route Afghanistan's chief minister said the new Chabahar Port in Iran will reduce Afghanistan's reliance on a route through Pakistan (PTI) and provide Kabul a new option for trade with India. He also said the country plans to sign a transit agreement with Uzbekistan in the coming days. INDIA: Lawyers for a Scottish Sikh activist say he was tortured by police in Punjab State (BBC). Authorities have accused him of financing purchases of weapons used against Hindu leaders.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Iran Vows Probe Into Building Collapses Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said faults in the construction of state-built buildings that toppled in a Sunday earthquake (CBS/AP) will be subject to a government probe. The death toll from the quake in Iran has risen to 530. YEMEN: In a boost to the Saudi-backed government fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, the United States released about $205 million in central bank funds (FT) that were frozen during the Barack Obama administration to pressure warring sides in Yemen to reach a political solution.  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Sudan Moves to Normalize Currency to Attract Investment Sudan's finance minister said the country plans to unify its official and unofficial currency rates and cut subsidies for fuel and electricity in a bid to attract foreign investment after long-standing U.S. sanctions on the country were lifted (Reuters). The U.S. deputy secretary of state will visit the country (Sudan Tribune) on Thursday. EUROPE Climate Talk Delegates Back Global Insurance Proposal On the sidelines of UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, the host nation pledged $125 million for an international insurance scheme to provide coverage for four hundred million people (Reuters) who are poor or vulnerable to natural disasters. The proposal was first backed by Group of Seven (G7) countries in 2015. SERBIA: Serbia will host joint military exercises with the United States (RFE/RL) in Belgrade starting on Friday. The defense minister of neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina said he expects his country will be approved for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by the end of the year. Ivo H. Daalder discusses Russia's military buildup in Foreign Affairs. AMERICAS Mexico Arrests Cartel Leader Accused of Migrant Massacre Mexican security forces have arrested a leader of the Zetas cartel (AP) accused of organizing a 2010 massacre of seventy-two Central American migrants in Tamaulipas State. He is also accused of involvement in the killing earlier this year of an activist mother who spent years searching for her missing daughter. BOLIVIA: Bolivia's armed forces have inaugurated their new headquarters in a building expropriated from the U.S. Agency for International Development (LAHT). President Evo Morales said the facility was formerly a "symbol of interference." UNITED STATES House Backs Major Defense Bill The U.S. House of Representatives has backed President Donald J. Trump's call for increased military spending (Reuters) through a nearly $700 billion defense authorization bill, though appropriation of the funds depends on congressional approval of the Trump administration’s proposed budget. The bill would also increase active troop levels by sixteen thousand. President Trump's special advisor on climate said the United States may seek ways to stay in international climate talks (BBC), such as by reviving a George W. Bush-era forum on energy security and climate change CFR's Reuben E. Brigety II writes in Foreign Policy that the U.S. abandonment of the Paris Agreement on climate is a disaster.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. 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Date: November 15, 2017 at 11:05PM

Daily Brief: Trump Touts Asia Tour as Success


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 14, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Trump Touts Asia Tour as Success U.S. President Donald J. Trump departed the Philippines to return home after a twelve-day tour to five Asian countries, skipping the plenary meeting of the East Asia Summit. On Twitter, Trump wrote that after his visits, U.S. trade partners "know that the rules have changed" and that trade deficits must be reduced (Bloomberg). Trump also wrote he plans to make a "major statement" upon his return to Washington. While in Manila on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised concern over rights abuses (Reuters) against Rohingya refugees in Myanmar and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, issues largely avoided by leaders at the summit. ANALYSIS "In addition to the fact that Trump's meeting with [Philippines President Rodrigo] Duterte probably hurt the cause of human rights in the Philippines, it is unclear whether the meeting achieved anything substantial on key issues including the South China Sea," writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick. "Trump ­focused primarily on tough talk about trade, terrorism and North Korea's nuclear program, while saying little about chronic ­human rights abuses in a region that is home to some of the world's most brutal authoritarian regimes," David Nakamura and Emily Rauhala write for the Washington Post. "Trump's sharp criticism toward China [at the APEC summit]—in sharp contrast to what he had just said during his three-day visit to Beijing—actually deepened anxiety in the Asia-Pacific region. It reaffirmed for the world that Trump is a man who will change his position and tone instantly for convenience and his own interests," Charlotte Gao writes for The Diplomat. PACIFIC RIM American Detained Attempting to Enter North Korea South Korean police have detained a Louisiana man (Korea Times) who tried to cross the Korean border into the North without a permit for what local authorities called "political purposes." The incident came after a North Korean soldier successfully defected to the South (WaPo), though he was shot by soldiers from the North and is now hospitalized.   SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Dozens of Afghan Security Forces Dead in Taliban Attacks An estimated seventy police officers and five Afghan soldiers have been killed (NYT) in a series of militant attacks on more than a dozen police posts in Afghanistan's south and west over the last two days. A police spokesman said Taliban assailants used night-vision goggles, lasers, and a stolen police truck to carry out the attacks. CFR's Courtney Cooper argues that now is the right time to talk to the Taliban.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Lawmakers Declare U.S. Support in Yemen Unauthorized The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. assistance to a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen was not authorized under existing legislation (Politico). The resolution acknowledges the Pentagon's sharing of targeting information and refueling warplanes for the coalition. SYRIA: More than fifty people in a rebel-held town in Aleppo Province have died in air strikes believed to have been carried out by the Syrian government or Russia (BBC). The town is part of a so-called de-escalation zone established by Russia, Iran, and Turkey earlier this year.  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Zimbabwean Military Warns It May Intervene Zimbabwe's top military chief said on Monday his forces will "not hesitate to step in" in "matters of protecting" the country amid political turmoil in President Robert Mugabe's government (NYT). The general said Zimbabweans are "extremely disturbed" by Mugabe's recent purge of officials from the ruling party. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: UN-backed peacekeepers in sub-Saharan Africa have lost enough weapons and ammunition (Al Jazeera) over the past twenty years to supply an army, according to a new report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. EUROPE May Accuses Putin of Political Interference UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russian President Vladimir Putin's government on Monday of election meddling, saying it planted "fake stories" to "sow discord in the West" (BBC). May also said Russia has repeatedly violated the airspace of European countries. CFR's Shannon K. O'Neil writes that upcoming Mexican elections are vulnerable to Russian interference. FRANCE: The gender equality minister has announced the government is considering setting an age (BBC) below which all sex would be considered rape, as part of an anti-sexism and sexual violence bill to be introduced next year. AMERICAS S&P Declares Venezuela in Default The credit ratings agency S&P has declared Venezuela in default after the country missed an interest payment to investors (Bloomberg), while another agency declared the state oil company in default. A meeting between government negotiators and creditors in Caracas on Monday lasted just a half hour. CFR's Michael P. Dempsey writes in The Hill that the U.S. public should not ignore the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. SOUTH AMERICA: The trial of former soccer officials from Paraguay, Peru, and Brazil charged with racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud (BBC) began in New York on Monday. UNITED STATES Justice Dept. May Appoint Second Special Counsel The Justice Department said Monday it is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate allegations that donations to the Clinton Foundation (NYT) were tied to a decision by the Barack Obama administration to approve a Russian nuclear agency's purchase of a company that had access to uranium in the United States. Exports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States fell to a thirty-year low (Bloomberg) last month as the kingdom has restricted supply in a bid to raise prices.  GLOBAL Report: Governments Upping Social Media Manipulation Online manipulation and disinformation campaigns played "important" roles in elections (RFE/RL) in at least eighteen nations last year, according to a new report by the research and advocacy group Freedom House.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: November 14, 2017 at 11:04PM

Daily Brief: Major Quake Kills Hundreds in Iran, Iraq


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 13, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Major Quake Kills Hundreds in Iran, Iraq At least 349 people are reported dead in Iran and Iraq following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake late on Sunday, with casualties falling heavily on the Iranian side of the border. Iranian authorities have reported at least 341 dead and more than five thousand injured in cities near the border (IRNA) while, in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region, at least eight people were killed (NYT) and five hundred injured. The EU foreign policy chief has offered humanitarian aid to Iran (Al Jazeera) and a Turkish cargo plane carrying aid and emergency personnel (AP) has arrived in northern Iraq. Iran, which sits along numerous fault lines, saw tens of thousands die (AFP) in major earthquakes in 1990 and 2003.  ANALYSIS "[Iranian] Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari [said] that the rebuilding carried out in Iran's border areas which were destroyed during the deadly war with Iraq in the 1980s had prevented a lot of casualties," Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Monavar Khalaj write for the Financial Times. "After [Iran's 2012] quake, the United States, which does not maintain normal diplomatic relations with Iran, sent several planeloads of aid," Thomas Erdbrink writes for the New York Times. "The big driver here is the clash between the Arabia and Eurasia tectonic plates. The former is pushing north by a couple of centimeters a year," Jonathan Amos writes for the BBC. PACIFIC RIM Trump Boasts 'Great' Relationship With Duterte U.S. President Donald J. Trump met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (NYT) on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' summit in Manila. A spokeswoman for Trump said the pair "briefly" spoke about human rights (Phil Star) in the context of Manila's crackdown on illegal drugs. CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick writes in World Politics Review that Duterte is failing to deliver where it matters. VIETNAM: During a visit to Vietnam over the weekend (Al Jazeera), President Trump urged Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to buy U.S. weapons systems, saying the United States makes "the greatest missiles in the world" (White House). This CFR Backgrounder looks at the evolution of U.S.-Vietnam ties. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Blasphemy Law Protesters Block Islamabad Highway Hundreds of protesters opposing a revision to one of Pakistan's blasphemy laws (Al Jazeera) have blocked a main entrance into the capital city. The demonstrators are calling on the law and justice minister to resign even after the legislation has been amended to return to its original language. INDIA: Hundreds of activists gathered on Sunday for New Delhi's tenth annual gay pride parade (AP), even as same-sex relations continue to be illegal in the country.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Saudi Arabia to Reopen Yemeni Ports The Saudi mission to the United Nations said on Monday it will reopen all Yemeni ports under its control and requested that UN inspectors monitor the areas to prevent weapons smuggling (DW). The United Nations and tens of international aid groups condemned Saudi Arabia's closure of the ports last week, saying it could push millions of Yemenis to "starvation and death" (WSJ).  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Report: A Hundred Militants Dead in U.S., Somali Strikes Three U.S. air strikes and a Somali mine-planting operation killed up to a hundred alleged members of the militant group al-Shabab (NYT) over the last week. The latest strikes bring the United States' total (AP) for attacks in Somalia this year to twenty-six. SOMALIA: Voters in the breakaway region of Somaliland cast their ballots for a new president (Bloomberg) on Monday as President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud is set to step down after seven years in power. EUROPE Spanish Prime Minister Visits Catalan Capital Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited Barcelona for the first time (Guardian) since Madrid imposed direct rule in Catalonia following an October independence referendum by the regional government. Rajoy said regional elections next month will help Catalonia recover from the "havoc of separatism." TURKEY: The Turkish embassy in Washington has called U.S. media reports alleging former White House aide Michael Flynn was offered millions of dollars to kidnap and deliver a U.S.-based cleric (BBC) sought by Turkey "ludicrous." AMERICAS Venezuela Heads Into Debt Restructuring Talks A new debt renegotiation committee in Caracas will meet with creditors on Monday (DW) for talks on restructuring some $60 billion in bonds to Venezuela (Reuters). U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan officials involved in the negotiations are expected to keep many foreign creditors from participating.  CFR's Michael P. Dempsey writes in The Hill that the U.S. public should not ignore the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. ARGENTINA: German automaker Volkswagen has announced it will invest $650 million (LAHT) in a plant in the town of Pacheco; President Mauricio Macri welcomed the move as a signal of a favorable investment climate in Argentina. UNITED STATES Former Intel Chiefs: Trump Vulnerable to Foreign Leaders Former national intelligence chief James Clapper and former CIA head John Brennan have warned that President Trump could be "played by foreign leaders" (Guardian). The comments came after Trump said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. GLOBAL Report: Carbon Emissions to Rise After Four Years Global carbon dioxide emissions are predicted to rise by 2 percent this year (BBC), according to a report from the international research consortium Global Carbon Project. Emissions in China are predicted to jump 3.5 percent (FT) as the country has entered an economic recovery, in part due to boosts in coal and steel prices last year.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: November 13, 2017 at 11:07PM

Daily Brief: Countries Push to Revive TPP at Pacific Summit


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 9, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Countries Push to Revive TPP at Pacific Summit Editor's note: There will be no Daily Brief on Friday, November 10, for Veteran's Day. The eleven countries remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are pushing to establish a new free trade agreement (WaPo) on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit underway in Da Nang, Vietnam, even after the United States announced its exit from the pact earlier this year. U.S. President Donald J. Trump will address a CEO forum (WSJ) on the sidelines of APEC on Friday; Trump may also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin (CNBC). The summit will conclude with a leaders' meeting (Vietnam News) on Saturday, after which Trump will fly to Hanoi to meet with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang (FT). He will then continue on to the Philippines. ANALYSIS "The meeting will be overshadowed by regional anxieties over trade, and scepticism or anger over the changing role of the U.S.—traditionally seen in Vietnam and the rest of the region as a counterweight to China—under Mr. Trump," John Reed writes for the Financial Times. "[Trump] prefers bilateral agreements to multilateral ones like the TPP, which he called a 'disaster' and a 'rape of our country.' But now that it’s time to deal, he's finding that trading partners aren't so pliable after all," Peter Coy, Enda Curran, and Justin Sink write for Bloomberg. "Just as Trump has walked back his denigration of America's European and Asian allies, he should stifle his inclination for protectionism and unilateral action," Douglas H. Paal writes for Project Syndicate. PACIFIC RIM China Pushes Ahead on Alaska Pipeline Deal Chinese petrochemical firm Sinopec Group, the China Investment Corp., and the Bank of China Ltd. have agreed to move ahead on a $43 billion pipeline project (Bloomberg) with the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. Western companies have distanced themselves from the venture as cost estimates rose and the timeline for constructing the pipeline was extended.  SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA EU's Top Diplomat to Visit Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan The EU foreign policy chief is traveling to the two Central Asian nations a month after the bloc began negotiations to update its bilateral agreement with Kyrgyzstan (RFE/RL), which was signed in 1999. She will also meet with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. SRI LANKA: Some fifty men from the Tamil ethnic group who are seeking asylum in Europe say they were subject to extensive abuses, including rape, abduction, and torture, by Sri Lankan security personnel (AP) from early 2016 to July of this year. One advocacy group reported Sri Lanka is the most common country of origin among asylum seekers it has evaluated for evidence of torture (Guardian).  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA UN Labor Agency Drops Complaint Against Qatar The International Labor Organization has closed a case against Qatar (BBC) over its treatment of migrant workers, citing recent reforms there including establishing a minimum wage and permitting employees to leave the country without their company's permission. The reforms are expected to affect some two million workers (Middle East Eye). IRAN: President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday defended a missile attack on the Saudi capital last week by Houthi rebels, which Riyadh decried as an "act of war" by Iran, saying Saudi Arabia would likely see a "positive reaction" if it would stop its own bombardment of Yemen (NYT). SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Angolan Wealth Fund Manager Accused of Corruption The asset manager of Angola's sovereign wealth fund (BBC), set up to invest revenue from its natural resource wealth, was paid more than $41 million in less than two years by offshore companies, according to the so-called Paradise Papers leak. The manager, Jean-Claude Bastos, has denied wrongdoing (Bloomberg). ZIMBABWE: The country's ousted vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has fled Zimbabwe amid death threats (BBC), according to his allies. President Robert Mugabe, who dismissed the former ally earlier this week, accused Mnangagwa of trying to wrest power from him.  EUROPE NATO Agrees to New Military Commands NATO defense ministers have backed proposals for two new headquarters in Europe (Reuters) to address rising tensions with Russia, including alleged Russian violations of the INF Treaty, an arms control agreement it has with the United States. The decision marks the first expansion of NATO operations (WaPo) since the end of the Cold War. This CFR Backgrounder looks at the uncertain future of the INF Treaty. The European Commission has predicted economic growth in the United Kingdom will drop to 1.1 percent in 2019 (FT), lagging well behind expected eurozone growth of 1.9 percent. AMERICAS U.S. Tightens Restrictions on Cuba Tourism New U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba ban Americans from doing business with 180 entities linked to the Cuban military (Miami Herald), which include dozens of hotels, marinas, and tour agencies. Travelers are also required to show detailed schedules (DW) that demonstrate "meaningful interaction" with the Cuban people while there. This CFR Backgrounder looks at the evolution of U.S.-Cuba relations. VENEZUELA: EU member states have agreed to impose an arms embargo on Venezuela (BBC) and a ban on sales of any equipment the state can use to suppress the opposition. Frank O. Mora writes in Foreign Affairs that a U.S. intervention in Venezuela would be risky, counterproductive, and expensive. UNITED STATES U.S. Ends Program for Central American Child Migrants The State Department has announced it is terminating on Thursday an Obama-era program that allowed children fleeing violence in three Central American countries (Reuters) to apply for refugee status there before making the perilous journey to the United States. The Trump administration said the majority of applicants were not eligible for refugee status. The number of career diplomats in the United States (Guardian) has dropped 60 percent since January, according to the country's foreign service association, due to a hiring freeze and a drop in the number of promotions.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. 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Date: November 09, 2017 at 11:05PM

Daily Brief: Trump, in Beijing, Presses for Action on North Korea


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 8, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Trump, in Beijing, Presses for Action on North Korea U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for a visit during which North Korea and the U.S.-China trade imbalance are expected to top the agenda. In an address to South Korea's National Assembly earlier in the day, Trump called on China to confront North Korea, saying the "longer we wait, the greater the danger grows" (NYT). U.S. and Chinese companies signed trade deals worth $9 billion on Wednesday, including one Chinese retailer's purchase of $1.2 billion in U.S. beef and pork (AP). Details of other deals were not yet made public. On the eve of Trump's visit, the U.S. Senate approved new sanctions targeting Chinese banks that do business with North Korea (Reuters). ANALYSIS "The U.S. and China have managed to keep their ties on a relatively even keel, despite the disappearance of the original rationale for their relationship—shared antipathy toward the Soviet Union—when the Cold War ended a quarter-century ago," CFR President Richard N. Haass writes for Project Syndicate. "Trump's China and Asia strategies remain muddled because of competing factions within his administration and his tenuous domestic position. Xi, accordingly, will seek to manage Trump, giving him a lavish welcome in China but few policy wins of any lasting significance," Mira Rapp-Hooper writes for Foreign Affairs. "The United States' ability to enunciate and pursue a coherent Asia strategy balancing firmness in defense of international law and norms, on the one hand, and prudence, on the other, will have an important impact on how the region views its leadership role," Lynn Kuok writes for the Brookings Institution. PACIFIC RIM Former Philippine President Charged Over Botched Raid Former President Benigno Aquino III was charged with graft and usurpation of authority over his authorization of a 2015 raid (Phil Star) against a suspected terrorist and bomb maker that led to the deaths of more than sixty people, including forty-four commandos.  SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA NATO to Increase Afghan Deployment The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has announced an additional three thousand troops (RFE/RL) for its training mission in Afghanistan, with half of the deployment coming from the United States. The additional troops bring the total for the NATO mission there to sixteen thousand. Mara Karlin writes in Foreign Affairs that building up militaries in weak states is not a panacea to enhance U.S. national security. INDIA: The Indian Medical Association has declared a public health emergency in New Delhi (Al Jazeera) as toxic smog enveloped the capital city this week. Authorities ordered schools closed and flights delayed as the chief minister of Delhi state called the city a "gas chamber" (NYT). MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Saudi Blockade Imperils Aid to Yemen The United Nations and Red Cross has called Saudi Arabia's closure of all routes into Yemen "catastrophic" for delivery of aid to the war-torn country (BBC). Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for launching a ballistic missile toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday, prompting the blockade. Saudi Arabia alleges Iran supplies weapons to the rebel group through these routes. SYRIA: Syria has announced its intention to join the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate at a conference in Bonn, Germany, making the United States the only nation (WaPo) outside the pact.  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA U.S. Commends DRC on New Election Schedule The U.S. State Department said it "notes the importance" (Africa News) of an announcement this week by the Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral commission that a long-awaited election to replace President Joseph Kabila will be held December 2018. The vote has been repeatedly delayed since late 2016 (Reuters). Philip Kleinfeld discusses rights abuses in DRC's Kasai region in Foreign Affairs. ERITREA: Eritrea is the top country of origin among African asylum seekers (Africa News) in Libya, and is second only to Syria among all those seeking asylum in the country, according to new data from the United Nations. EUROPE Turkish Court Upholds Sentence for Opposition Lawmaker A Turkish court rejected an appeals court's order to retry Enis Berberoglu (Reuters), chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party. Berberoglu was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for military espionage over allegedly sending to a newspaper video of the Turkish military shipping weapons into Syria. CFR's Steven A. Cook writes in Foreign Policy that the U.S.-Turkey alliance was built on a myth. SWEDEN: Sweden said Tuesday it will start negotiations to buy a $1.2 billion missile defense system (DW) from the U.S. weapons manufacturer Raytheon, turning down a system by the Franco-Italian company Eurosam. AMERICAS Argentina's Macri Says Prosecutor's Death Was Murder President Mauricio Macri said Tuesday that a high-profile prosecutor who died under mysterious circumstances was murdered (AP). The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, died four days after he accused former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of covering up Iran's role in a 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center that killed eighty-five people. URUGUAY: Uruguay's foreign minister has asked Caracas to pay debt owed to Uruguayan companies stemming from a 2015 deal that allowed Venezuela to purchase more than two hundred thousand tons of food products (LAHT) for $300 million. UNITED STATES U.S. Charges British Defense Firm Over Bribery The Justice Department has announced criminal charges against four people accused of a bribery scheme to help the British defense manufacturer Rolls-Royce win contracts in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan (RFE/RL). The company admitted in January to paying officials at state energy firms in Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Iraq, Kazakhstan, and Thailand. Democrat Ralph Northam won Tuesday's gubernatorial race in Virginia (WaPo) with 54 percent of the vote, saying in a victory speech that voters want to "end the politics that have torn this country apart." Democrats also took the governorship in New Jersey and won a contested New Hampshire mayoral race (NYT).          Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: November 08, 2017 at 11:03PM