Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 30th of May, 2017 :-
1. EU, China seek tighter bond to face Trump :-
The EU and China will attempt to deepen ties at a summit Thursday amid rising worry about the direction taken by US President Donald Trump on trade and climate change.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will meet EU president Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker with hopes of forging an answer to Trump’s “America First” challenge.
But years of skirmishes over trade and human rights will make a deeper alliance difficult.
The incentive to strengthen links with Beijing is strong after German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU’s most powerful leader, on Sunday warned that the EU can no longer depend on longtime ally US as a reliable partner.
Li, China’s second most powerful leader after President Xi Jinping, will also visit Germany where he will meet Merkel and sign a cooperation deal on electric cars.
“There’s a lot we can offer each other,” said vice foreign minister Wang Chao in the run-up to the European tour by Li.
The Brussels talks follow a tense international tour by Trump in which the unpredictable tycoon refused pleas by his European counterparts to adhere to the 2015 Paris climate accord.
The EU, US and China each roughly represent the same weight in the world economy and an exit by Washington from the climate deal would leave its only chance of survival in the hands of Brussels and Beijing.
Given the context, China’s premier and the heads of the European Union’s main institutions are expected to deliver a strong statement in support of the Paris agreement.
But besides climate, big obstacles to a deeper diplomatic breakthrough remain.
Also on the agenda is an EU-China investment accord that has been under negotiation since 2013 and that is largely seen as a dry run for a full trade deal.
But those talks are at a standstill over longstanding disagreements on the lack of access given to European companies in China and a fight over cheap Chinese exports that Europeans say are unfairly flooding their market.
China, the EU’s second-largest trade partner, “needs to walk the talk,” said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem at a business conference last week.
“The welcome commitments from China about liberalisation have not been matched by concrete action,” she added.
Many had hoped that President Xi Jinping’s fervent defence of globalisation at the World Economic Forum in January would signal a new open trade era for China.
“We have heard a lot of positive signals coming out of China when it comes to market opening and freer trade, but we hope this week we will lead to some concrete result,” the European Chamber of Commerce’s Mats Harborn told Bloomberg TV.
But Li Chenggang, assistant minister of commerce, told a news briefing in Beijing that “the two sides don’t see eye to eye on all issues”.
China’s militarisation of islands in the South China Sea and the increase in authoritarianism under Xi have also rung alarm bells for Europeans.
“EU leaders need to make good on their pledges and make human rights and the freeing of peaceful activists a top strategic priority in the EU’s relationship with China,” said Human Rights Watch’s EU director Lotte Leicht.
In a letter to Juncker and Tusk, several groups of rights activists, including Human Rights Watch, urged the EU to take up these concerns with China’s leadership.
“While EU officials are willing to engage in very public, critical battles with China over steel tariffs, solar panels, or the South China Sea, most EU officials are not willing to engage publicly in such debates over China’s use of torture and arbitrary detention,” the letter said.
2. Modi calls Berlin reliable partner after meeting with Merkel :-
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held wide-ranging talks with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in a move to further strengthen the bilateral partnership between the two countries.
Both the leaders held the fourth India-Germany Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) to set a roadmap for the bilateral strategic ties, PTI said.
“We are looking at outcome oriented momentum in India- Germany ties and a quantum jump specially in economic ties. We had wide ranging discussions today. India-Germany partnership will help our nations and also help the world,” he said.
Merkel and Modi also discussed a number of issues like trade, skill development, cyber security and terrorism.
Modi said that Germany will always find India as powerful, prepared and a capable partner.
“Pace of development of our relations is fast, direction positive and destination clear. Germany will always find India as powerful, prepared and capable partner,” Modi said at a joint press interaction after holding talks with Merkel, PTI reported.
The German Chancellor said that Berlin wants to develop ties with New Delhi but not at the cost of its trans-Atlantic relationship, Reuters reported.
“That’s of huge importance and in no way directed against any other relationships and certainly not against the trans-Atlantic ties, which have historically been very important for us and will remain so in future.”
On Monday, Merkel underlined her doubts about the reliability of the United States as an ally but said she was a “convinced trans-Atlanticist”, fine-tuning her message after surprising Washington with her frankness a day earlier.
3. New one rupee note to come out soon :-
New one rupee notes with predominantly pink-green on obverse and reverse in combination with other colours will be soon put into circulation.
The notes bearing the rupee symbol have been printed by the Government of India.
At present, one rupee coins are minted. Printing of one rupee notes was discontinued in 1994 but was relaunched in 2015.
“The Reserve Bank of India will soon put into circulation currency notes in one rupee denomination,” the central bank said in a statement.
The note will bear the signature of Shaktikanta Das, Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Rest other currency notes bear the signature of the RBI Governor.
The numbering will be in black at right hand bottom portion of the note.
On the reverse side, the year ‘2017’ is mentioned. There is also representation of One Rupee coin with rupee symbol having floral design and the surrounding design consists of the picture of ‘Sagar Samrat’ the oil exploration platform.
“The colour of One Rupee Currency Note shall be predominantly pink green on obverse and reverse in combination with others,” the RBI said.
4. Twin car bomb attack kills 27 in Baghdad :-
Two car bombs killed at least 27 people in Baghdad and wounded about 80 others in streets packed with crowds preparing for the Ramadan fast early on Tuesday, security sources said.
Militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the first blast that killed at least 13 people and wounded 40 just after midnight (2100 GMT on Monday) in the Iraqi capital’s commercial Karrada district.
A few hours later, a second bombing killed seven people and wounded 38 more near a government office in Karkh district. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The attackers struck during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when many people stay up past midnight and eat out to prepare for the next day’s fast.
Karrada was hit by a massive truck bomb in July 2016 that killed at least 324 people, the deadliest attack in Iraq since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.
Islamic State has been retreating in Iraq since the end of 2015 in the face of US-backed government forces and Iranian-backed Shi’ite paramilitary groups.
It is now besieged in an enclave in the northern city of Mosul, which it has used as its de facto capital in Iraq. Islamic State declared a “caliphate” over parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014.