Financial Times – James Politi, Aime Williams, Christian Shepherd & Tom Mitchell / Trump-Xi trade talks likely at G20 summit, says US
- Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, stated that there was a possibility of a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G20 summit that will be held in Japan next month, in order to rescue a deal and avoid the escalation in the trade war.
- “We don’t think the Chinese have come far enough. We will wait and see. The talks will continue,” Larry Kudlow defended. “And I will say this, the G20 meeting in Japan toward the end of June next month, the chances that president Trump and president Xi will get together at that meeting are probably pretty good,” he added.
- Both countries were close to a trade deal ten days ago, but the US accused Chine of not complying with the agreements and watering the agreement in order for it to be hard to enforce. On Sunday, Donald Trump continued to prod China “We are right where we want to be with China,” he tweeted. “Remember, they broke the deal with us & tried to renegotiate. We will be taking in Tens of Billions of Dollars in Tariffs from China.”
The Washington Post – Max Bearak / Cyril Ramaphosa and the African National Congress narrowly win South Africa’s elections
- The African National Congress, led by union leader-turned-business magnate Cyril Ramaphosa, has retained a slim majority of seats in South Africa’s parliament, giving Ramaphosa a weak mandate for a full five-year term as president. The election took place 25 years after the ANC conducted South Africa out of the former state of apartheid into a democratic state.
- “Our people have spoken — and they have done so clearly and emphatically,” Ramaphosa said during an acceptance statement “They have voted for a united South Africa in which all may realize their potential. They have voted for a more equal society, free from poverty, hunger and want. They have voted for a country at peace with itself and the world.”
- After Ramaphosa took over from Jacob Zuma last year, he has replaced many of his predecessor’s appointments in the cabinet and in state-owned enterprises, trying to restore investor confidence in an economy that recently slipped in and out of recession. He also approved a judicial inquiry into Zuma’s alleged improprieties.
- Out of the 47 opposition parties in the South African election, only two are major players: the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA), which has a traditionally white voter base centered in Western Cape province and the city of Cape Town; and the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by former ANC youth league president Julius Malema, who advocates seizing land from white farmers and redistributing it among the poor black population
Foreign Policy – Henri J. Barkey / Erdogan Just Committed Political Suicide
- By canceling the results, Erdogan is compounding the mistake of inserting himself into the local elections. He mainly transformed the local election into a vote of confidence in his own leadership. The results thus became a personal disaster for Erdogan, as his party lost some of the country’s most important municipalities, including Ankara, Adana, Mersin, and Izmir.
- He is now doubling down on that first mistake. Erdogan risks a tremendous backlash from an electorate that will deem the action as unfair and may deliver him another humiliating defeat despite the fact that he and his party will mobilize to cheat and therefore, gain the election.
- Why does he take this risk? There are three distinct explanations. First, Istanbul is not only the largest city but is also the country’s economic and cultural capital. Second, Istanbul is the home base of Erdogan, since he was elected mayor in 1994. Finally, Erdogan recognizes that after nearly two decades of rule the Turkish public may simply be tiring of him.
The New York Times – Anne Barnard / Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent
- As Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, closes in on victory over an eight-year revolt, a secret, industrial-scale system of arbitrary arrests and torture prisons has been pivotal to his success. While the Syrian military, backed by Russia and Iran, fought armed rebels for territory, the government waged a ruthless war on civilians, throwing hundreds of thousands into filthy dungeons where thousands were tortured and killed.
- Nearly 128,000 have never emerged, and are presumed to be either dead or still in custody, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent monitoring group that keeps the most rigorous tally. Nearly 14,000 were “killed under torture.” Many prisoners die from conditions so dire that a United Nations investigation labeled the process “extermination.”
- Now, even as the war winds down, the world’s attention fades and countries start to normalize relations with Syria, the pace of new arrests, torture and execution is increasing. The numbers peaked in the conflict’s bloodiest early years, but last year the Syrian Network recorded 5,607 new arrests that it classifies as arbitrary — more than 100 per week and nearly 25 percent more than the year before.
- Kidnappings and killings by the Islamic State captured more attention in the West, but the Syrian prison system has vacuumed up many more times the number of people detained by ISIS in Syria. Government detention accounts for around 90 percent of the disappearances tallied by the Syrian Network.
The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.