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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 21/09/2020

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 21/09/2020

Stunning new mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg pops up in Washington - Front  Page Live

The Washington Post – Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim / Republicans prepare to move quickly on Supreme Court opening as Trump weighs top contenders

  • As President Trump prepares to nominate a successor to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week, Republican leaders moved urgently Sunday to make the political and procedural case for bucking recent precedent and filling the vacancy before the next presidential term.
  • Democratic leaders, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, accused Republicans of political opportunism and hypocrisy and vowed to fight any effort to rush confirmation of a Trump nominee in the GOP-controlled Senate.
  • Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said over the weekend that whoever is elected president in November should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement. Trump advisers saw Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) as a possible third defection.
  • Republican leaders said Sunday they were pressing ahead to seize a monumental chance to solidify the court’s rightward ideological shift by replacing Ginsburg, a liberal icon, with a conservative jurist. Trump said Saturday night that he would nominate a woman.
  • Foreign Policy – Michael Hirsh / Ginsburg’s death could change the 2020 presidential race

Bloomberg – Yueqi Yang, Jennifer Surane and Yalman Onaran / Global bank crackdown seen as failing to curb suspect flows

  • A wave of hefty fines against major banks in the past decade spurred an explosion in the number of transactions that lenders flag as suspect to the U.S. government. It’s not clear all the scrutiny is making a difference.
  • Banks moved money for people or entities they couldn’t identify, and in many cases failed to file the required suspicious activity reports until years afterward, according to an investigation released over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
  • The report, based on leaked documents obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the consortium, said that in some cases the banks kept moving illicit funds after receiving warnings from U.S. officials.
  • The documents revealed Sunday shed light on a faulty system where banks complain about reports that get no follow-up from authorities, while critics say lenders are checking off boxes without taking meaningful steps to stop financial crime.
  • International Consortium of Investigative Journalism – Will Fitzgibbon, Amy Wilson-Chapman and Ben Hallman / What is the FinCEN Files investigation?

The Economist / The UN renews its vows in a 75th-birthday general non-assembly

  • This year’s gathering was meant to be special, marking the 75th anniversary of the UN’s founding in 1945. But the constraints of covid-19 have ensured that the UNGA of 2020 will stand out in a different way: as a general non-assembly.
  • World leaders are not travelling to New York. Instead, they will deliver pre-recorded video messages to the session’s general debate that starts on September 22nd. Until recently it seemed that President Donald Trump might at least be an exception, coming to the UN to speak in person. But last week his chief of staff confirmed that he would stay away after all.
  • The formal commemoration on September 21st of the UN’s 75th anniversary will thus be a subdued affair. Even before covid-19 disrupted arrangements, it was planned to be low-key. The mood is strikingly different from the euphoria that greeted the organisation’s birth at the end of the second world war.
  • “We are not here to celebrate,” says the UN’s anniversary declaration, due to be approved by the General Assembly on September 21st. “We are here to take action.” The declaration, which amounts to a renewal of vows and a commitment to “reinvigorated multilateralism”, was hammered out this summer after hiccups over the wording on human rights and the Paris Agreement.
  • The Guardian – Patrick Wintour / Bye bye bilaterals: UN general assembly to embrace Zoom diplomacy

The Atlantic – Michael Schuman / Why America is afraid ot TikTok

  • Zhang Yiming embodies what the United States wanted China to be. He is the founder and chief executive of a company, ByteDance, that owns a wildly popular social-media platform, TikTok. He is a serial entrepreneur, having built multiple apps and search engines. Zhang’s story is one not of a copycat or a cost-cutter—the tired stereotypes of the Chinese business owner—but of an innovator.
  • The United States believed that it could transform Communist China into a society more like its own—wealthy, free, inventive, and open, a place where a nobody like Zhang, with little more than smarts and the tools of capitalism, could build the businesses and think of the ideas that would change the world.
  • TikTok may be Chinese, but it has been embraced by Americans as their own. While Facebook is for sharing baby pictures, Twitter is for political ranting, and Instagram is for showing off how popular you are, TikTok has a certain silly simplicity—a forum where you can dance in your living room, lip-synch bad jokes, capture animal antics, and share other slivers of your personal life.
  • Fears are percolating in the U.S. that Beijing, thanks to its growing technological might, may be amassing an immense storehouse of information that could be used to identify or blackmail American citizens—or for purposes we haven’t yet thought of. The worry is that TikTok could be a powerful vacuum, sucking up images of and details on unsuspecting Americans to feed Beijing’s voracious appetite.
  • Wired – Will Knight / As Trump squeezes China, Alipay’s star rises

Today’s obituary:

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.


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