The Washington Post – Gerry Shih, Eva Dou and Anne Gearan / As U.S.-China rhetoric grows harsher, new risks emerge with Taiwan drawn into the mix
- Rising tensions between the United States and China brought fresh mudslinging Wednesday as a sharp dispute over responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic spills into new forums such as Taiwan.
- In the span of several hours, the feud swung from Taipei to Beijing to the Internet, where an animated “credibility test” on Chinese state TV’s Twitter feed mocked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. President Trump then lashed out at China for a “worldwide killing” from covid-19 — part of messages that could become talking points in the presidential election campaign.
- The White House salvos have sought to keep a focus on China’s early response to the virus and what Trump has called a “China-centric” deference at the World Health Organization. China, in turn, has portrayed itself as a good global citizen willing to work with the United Nations and other countries to defeat the pandemic.
- But the longer-range Trump strategy appeared aimed at deflecting attention from the U.S. handling of the pandemic — including the sometimes conflicting messages from the Trump administration and health experts and a reported covid-19 death toll that is the highest in the world.
- Foreign Policy – James Palmer / Why the WHO investigation won’t work
Financial Times – Miles Johnson and Davide Ghiglione / Italy’s record casts shadow over hopes of post-Covid recovery
- While the Italian economy is expected to regain ground in the second half of the year, its recent history of failing to recover from recessions sets a grim precedent. This week as small businesses across Italy reopened after nearly two months of lockdown, Franco Magliocchetti, a 32-year-old restaurateur in Rome, spent most of his day sat glancing at rows of empty tables.
- Mr Magliocchetti and his business partner, Fabio Trovato, are crossing their fingers that the lifting of restrictions will see the country bounce back from what is forecast to be the sharpest recession in its modern history. Business is so slow that they do not know how much longer they will be able to stay open unless it improves.
- As the lockdown eased he and Mr Trovato introduced a takeaway “aperitivo” and vacuum-sealed meals, but they are still struggling. On a normal weekend the restaurant would make around €10,000. Last week they failed to make €2,500. Out of twelve employees, eight remain on temporary leave.
- Unlike other eurozone countries, Italy’s economy has never recovered from the last crisis, with gross domestic product below where it was in real terms in 2008 even before the coronavirus pandemic began. Italy’s GDP per capita adjusted for price changes remains lower than it was in 2000. While Italy has languished, Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands have all grown by this measure.
- The Guardian – Rebecca Smithers / Hundreds of charities in UK added to waiting list for food redistribution
Haaretz – Jack Khoury / Abbas ‘ending agreements’ with U.S., Israel over annexation leaves Palestinians skeptical
- Palestinians have proved apathetic to President Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration Tuesday that the Palestine Liberation Organization saw itself released from its commitments to the United States and Israel – he has made announcements like that before.
- Abbas made his statement during a live broadcast of a Palestinian leadership meeting. Some of the officials present complained that Abbas’ position had not been discussed at the meeting or explained to the participants.
- A Fatah official told Haaretz it’s not clear “if all contact and coordination with Israel really stops now and we give back the keys, or if it was a declaration of the official Palestinian position and there hasn’t yet been a decision to bury the agreements.”
- Meanwhile, the Palestinians, too, are continuing their battle against the coronavirus. Before Tuesday’s meeting, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced that from Friday, the eve of Eid al-Fitr, a lockdown would be imposed on Palestinian cities, and all stores would be closed except for bakeries and pharmacies until after the holiday.
- The New York Times – David M. Halbfinger, Adam Rasgon and Mohammed Najib / Abbas, cornered by Israeli annexation, opts for ‘Judgment Day’ scenario
Bloomberg – Ewa Krukowska / Greener farms and healthier food key to EU’s climate plan
- The European Union is seeking to reduce the environmental footprint of its farming and food production industry, forging ahead with its ambitious Green Deal agenda to make the bloc climate-neutral by the middle of the century.
- The “Farm to Fork” strategy maps out the ways for the region to halve the use of pesticides and antibiotics, boost organic farming, promote plant-based proteins and make every link of the food system more sustainable. A separate plan on biodiversity lays out steps to restore ecosystems and cut pollution.
- The EU wants to make environmental cleanup one of the pillars of an economic plan to recover from the coronavirus crisis. “This is the concrete translation of what we had announced in the Green Deal,” said Frans Timmermans.
- Greening agriculture is one of the biggest challenges in the fight against climate change, with food systems responsible for as much as 30% of global greenhouse-gas emissions and a contributor to the loss of biodiversity. At the same time, extreme weather events linked to rising temperatures undermine farming and seafood production.
- Euractiv – Frédéric Simon / LEAKED: Europe’s draft ‘green recovery’ plan
- Politico – Sarah Cammarata / EU’s point man for the Arctic shrugs off Russia, China tension
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.