North America

Revenge of the TPP?

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on the menu for a number of Asia-Pacific countries Scott B. MacDonald  And with America on the sidelines, U.S. exports could suffer. The National Interest One of the first actions that Donald Trump did when he came into office was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal he called a “disaster.” According to him, past U.S. leaders were inept on trade and his administration’s approach would strike tougher, ... Read More »

WSJ: Mueller probes Flynn role in plot to deliver cleric to Turkey

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Washington (CNN) – Former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn and his son are alleged to have been offered as much as $15 million to forcibly remove from the US a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, The Wall Street Journal… Miranda Green CNN The Journal reported the FBI questioned at least four people in regards to a mid-December meeting in New York at the “21” Club. Discussions between Flynn and Turkish representatives supposedly took place there, according to the… The ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

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US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, which is known in China as the Xisha Islands, January 29, 2016.   REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Fight for Your Right to Proxy

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Are shareholders finally on equal footing with corporate executives — or have investors become drunk on power? Alicia McElhaney When Institutional Investor published a report on proxy reform in its April 1991 issue, corporate governance was on the precipice of change. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and College Retirement Equities Fund were lobbying the Securities and Exchange Commission to give institutions a say in corporate governance, as Stephen Clark reported in “Push Comes to Shove on Proxy Reform.” The raft of ... Read More »

Will the Easy-Money Era Lead to a Recession?

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The Fed has already achieved its objective of escaping 0 percent Now the goal is to avoid recession. Samuel Rines As Janet Yellen readies for her departure from the Federal Reserve, a sentiment creeping into markets that the era of “easy money” is over—as if somehow the Yellen Fed was the root of all easiness. The National Interest Yellen’s Fed was the first in recent history to oversee only rate increases—and not encounter a recession. That is quite the accomplishment: ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

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The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

‘It’s been a night from hell’: Homeless pushed out of Santa Ana River face uncertain futures

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Lisa Weber pushed her red-rimmed glasses higher on the bridge of her nose Thursday morning as she pondered how best to move her belongings off the dirt trail she has called home for months. Hannah Fry Los Angeles Times Her blue eyes seemed to show a glimmer of hope in contrast with her doleful expression. A friend living in a tent farther down the trail passed by and waved. ‘I’m not scared because I have a plan’ Back to sleeping ... Read More »

Xi’s up, Trump is down, but it may not matter

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(CNN) – On the face of it, summit meetings this week between China’s domineering leader Xi Jinping and the scandal-plagued, unpopular US President Donald Trump are shaping up as a massive mismatch of political fortunes. Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN Xi is fresh from a Communist Party Congress that enshrined him as the strongest Chinese patriarch since Mao Zedong. His personal prestige is mirrored in his nation’s soaring self-confidence: China is now stronger than at any time in the modern era ... Read More »

America’s Crisis of Courage

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Character remains the issue that confronts us in almost every story about national politics today Eliot A. Cohen The Atlantic The American crisis is, at its root, a crisis of character.Yes, many other forces and phenomena are in play: the crash of 2008; technologically driven changes to the economy; gerrymandering and sociological divisions between coast and heartland, urban and rural life; cultural clashes over the norms of marriage, drug use, and religious liberty; wars that have not gone well; the ... Read More »

Endowments Boom as Colleges Bury Earnings Overseas

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American universities are using offshore strategies to swell their coffers, skirt taxes and obscure investments that could spark campus protests. STEPHANIE SAUL The New York Times In 2006, the endowments of Indiana University and Texas Christian University invested millions of dollars in a partnership, hoping to mint riches from oil, gas and coal. The partnership was formed by the Houston-based Quintana Capital Group, whose principals include Donald L. Evans, an influential Texan and longtime supporter of former President George W. ... Read More »

Coincidence or coordination?

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Russians approached at least nine people in Trump’s orbit during the campaign and presidential transition Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger The Washington Post Through family, business and campaign operatives, Russian nationals repeatedly sought contact with Donald Trump’s world, starting only a few months after his presidential bid was announced in 2015. They forwarded proposals to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, brought a Trump adviser to Russia to speak and repeatedly sought meetings with Trump and his aides. Special ... Read More »

Trump: ‘No dictator’ should underestimate US resolve

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President Donald Trump on Nov. 5 issued a stern warning that “no dictator” should underestimate the United States as he started an Asian tour dominated by the North Korea nuclear crisis. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Speaking to cheering military personnel at Yokota Air Base just west of Tokyo minutes after landing, Trump donned a bomber jacket and said “no one, no dictator, no regime and no nation should underestimate… American resolve.” “Every once in a while in the past, ... Read More »

Lira crashes as Erdogan, Turkish gov’t implicated in Iran money-laundering scheme

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Case of Reza Zarrab seen as flash point in US-Turkey relations Asia Times The Turkish lira plummeted Friday after reports surfaced that a trader accused of helping Iran evade sanctions invoked the name of Turkish President Recep Erdogan as part of a money-laundering scheme. Bloomberg reports, citing court documents, that US prosecutors say the scheme was supported by Turkey’s… The lira dropped to its weakest point since January, hovering around an all-time low for the currency. From Bloomberg: ”US prosecutors in ... Read More »

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

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Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed Boris Zilberman Foundation for Defense of Democracies  While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin wants the deal not only for monetary reasons, but also to chip away at NATO unity and to validate such sales to other nations traditionally aligned with the West. For ... Read More »

Cyprus gave Manafort bank records to Mueller: report

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Authorities in Cyprus reportedly gave documents about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s financial activities to special counsel Robert Mueller. Avery Anapol TheHill Citing people familiar with Mueller’s investigation, Bloomberg  reports that Cyprus gave Mueller’s team documents relating to Manafort and his associate Richard Gates just dates before they were indicted Monday. The 12-count indictment, stemming from Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, charges Manafort and Gates with money laundering and conspiracy against the United States, among… Cyprus gave Manafort… Read More »