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Macron loses parliamentary majority

Macron faces tough battle for control of parliament as France votesThe euro has largely shrugged off the results of France’s parliamentary election on Sunday. The result was the loss of the absolute majority in the lower house for Macron’s allies. That will water down his ambitions in his second term. The numbers aren’t complete yet but his alliance is on track to win 234 seats, well short of the 289 needed for a majority.

Taiwan: Chinese military action against Taiwan with it global trade much more than Russia

If you looking for more bad news, Taiwan’s topic trade negotiator John Deng is on the wires saying in a Reuters interview:

  • Chinese military action against Taiwan would hit global trade much more than Russia’s Ukraine invasion
  • There would be a worldwide shortage of the semiconductors an event of China military attack
  • Taiwan is working with India on settling its tech tariffs dispute before WTO ruling

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently urged Congress to pass the CHIPS for America Act. That bill aims to incentivize investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and development and supply chain security, providing income tax credit for chip equipment or manufacturing facility investment through 2026.

The CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) for America Act was passed in January 2021. However, Congress has yet to agree on a bill that would appropriate resources for its various programs. This despite a rare bipartisan support for expanding domestic chip manufacturing.

Companies like Intel have pledged billions of dollars on plants in Arizona and Ohio. However, they are looking for assistance from the US government as a matter of national safety.

The invasion of Taiwan by China would certainly be another wrench in what is a very fragile economy that is exposed from a number of different fronts including oil, food, other  commodities , and chips. All of which have led to higher inflation.

Finnish President, Sweden’s King swiftly leave Baltic Sea island as Russian navy approach

Via UK media:

  • President of Finland and his wife abruptly flew out off the Baltic island chain
  • Strategic Åland islands are a demilitarised and vulnerable region of Finland
  • Hours before Putin had issued veiled threat about retaking Russian lands
  • Russian navy had been spotted in the Baltic near the undefended islands
  • The Baltic has been very tense since Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO

And:

  • innish President Sauli Niinistö and wife Jenni Haukio… had been due to have dinner with Sweden’s King Carl Gustav XVI and Queen Silvia but that was cancelled.
  • Sweden’s royal pair stayed on and attended the opening of an evening concert but left part-way through

And:

  • Local news sites reported Russian frigates had begun a drill in the Baltic Sea off the enclave of Kaliningrad. Nato are also conducting exercises in the region.

Link here for more.

There is not much margin for error in this ongoing tension.

sweden finland russia nato 10 June 2022

OIl – France, Britain & Germany say they condemn Iran’s actions in response to a IAEA

France, Britain and Germany:

  • condemn Iran’s actions in response to an IAEA board resolution, they say Iran aggravates the situation and complicate efforts to return to the nuclear deal
  • Iran’s actions exacerbate the situation and complicate efforts to restore full implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • Iran’s actions cast further doubt on its commitment to a successful nuclear deal outcome.

Background is that IAEA Director Grossi said Iran told IAEA it plans to disconnect 27 IAEA cameras as of today. Grossi says not restoring monitoring in the next 3 or 4 weeks could be fatal for the Iran nuclear deal.

iran eu us 08 May 2022

Reports that Putin had treatment for advanced cancer, survived an assassination attempt

This comes via a US media report ICYMI. Newsweek cites an intelligence report with info via:

  • three U.S. intelligence leaders who have read the reports tell Newsweek

The report was produced at the end of May.

  • Putin seems to have re-emerged after undergoing treatment in April for advanced cancer
  • the assessments also confirm that there was an assassination attempt on Putin’s life in March

There are plenty of caveats in the report, this one is notable:

  • “We need to be mindful of the influence of wishful thinking,” cautions the retired Air Force leader. “We learned—or didn’t learn—that lesson the hard way with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.”
putin 11 May 2022

Russia bans 963 Americans, including Biden and Harris — but not Trump & Rand Paul

Russia has banned nearly 1,000 Americans, including President Biden, Vice President Harris, and many others from the US administration, from entering the country.

This comes in response to the US support of Ukraine. From a Foreign Ministry news release:

  • “In the context of response to the constantly imposed anti-Russian sanctions by the United States and in connection with incoming requests about the personal composition of our national ‘stop list,’ the Russian Foreign Ministry publishes a list of American citizens who are permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation”

Former President Trump was not banned. Current Senator Rand Paul, who delayed a Senate vote on aid for Ukraine last week when he was the only senator to object was also not banned. The only prominent Trump administration official included in the ban is former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

Russia also banned former senators John McCain, Harry Reid, and Orrin Hatch, even though they are all dead.Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden by a larger than expected margin.

European Union making a last-ditch attempt to save the Iran nuclear deal, break deadlock

The ongoing saga of the attempt to restart talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in … still ongoing.

A couple of weekend updates.

The Financial Times reported the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the news outlet that he was seeking a “middle way” to end the impasse

Aljazeera have an ungated report separately:

  • EU coordinator Enrique Mora to visit Tehran on Tuesday (he is the EU coordinator for talks on restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers)
  • Iran making positive statements on the planned visit: “Considering the EU’s role in exchanging viewpoints between Tehran and Washington, Enrique Mora’s trip to Tehran can be regarded as a new step for constructive negotiations surrounding the few but important remaining issues,”. But added, less positively: “Iran has remained in the negotiations despite “the persistence of hostile approaches by the US against our country” that it said goes against the spirit of constructive negotiations.”

Pretty much every weekend we get some form of update on these negotiations. Talks to revive the nuke deal between Iran and the world have been on hold since March, though. Do not hold your breath.

iran eu us 08 May 2022

UK Times – Russia ‘is already paving the way for a takeover of Moldova’

Updating from the UK Times, the paper cites Ukrainian military sources:

  • One said there were a “number of indicators” pointing to an attack in the near future
  • A successful takeover would lead to Russian troops moving into the Black Sea port of Odesa, in Ukraine, from the west.
  • “We believe the Kremlin has already taken the decision to attack Moldova. The fate of Moldova is very crucial. If the Russians start to take control, we will, militarily, be an easier target and the threat to Ukraine will be existential,” said the source.

Times is gated, link here if you can access it

moldova 02 May 2022

Russia repeats that military operation in Ukraine is going according to plan

  • Any possible contact of our forces with NATO’s could lead to consequences that would be hard to correct
  • US exerting pressure on other countries with regards to Russia’s G20 membership
  • Some countries are holding their own sovereign positions despite US pressure

As things stand, Russia is insisting that everything is as per what they thought out to be and it does look like the situation in Ukraine may drag on for quite some time yet. In other news, Moscow is also reaffirming that Putin plans to attend the G20 summit later this year in Indonesia – scheduled to be held in November.

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