The Washington Post
“Justice Department charging Russian spies and criminal hackers in Yahoo intrusion”
The Justice Department is set to announce Wednesday the indictments of two Russian spies and two criminal hackers in connection with the heist of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014, marking the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials. The indictments target two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and two hackers hired by the Russians. The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage, according to officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges have not yet been announced. The indictments are part of the largest hacking case brought by the United States.
The charges are unrelated to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the move reflects the U.S. government’s increasing desire to hold foreign governments accountable for malicious acts in cyberspace. The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, but officials have said that taking steps such as charges and imposing sanctions can be a deterrent. People also sometimes slip up and travel to a country that is able and willing to transfer them to the United States for prosecution.
The Washington Post
“China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war — but if there is one, you’d lose”
China’s premier told the United States on Wednesday: We don’t want a trade war with you, but if one breaks out, your companies would bear the brunt. Yet despite tensions over jobs, currency rates and “security matters,” Li Keqiang told a news conference in Beijing ahead of the first visit by the new U.S. secretary of state that he remained optimistic about the future of China’s relationship with the United States. While a trade war would have a disproportionate effect on American firms such as Apple that outsource manufacturing to China, economist Christopher Balding said it is not accurate to say that the U.S. economy as a whole is more vulnerable.
The two countries share extensive common interests and should “sit down to talk to each other” to build trust and narrow differences, Li told journalists at the end of China’s annual parliamentary session. He added that diplomats were working toward a face-to-face meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Trump. Experts say China has been pushing hard to arrange such a meeting, realizing how important personal chemistry between the two leaders could be in maintaining stable ties, and U.S. media has since reported that one has been tentatively scheduled for April 6-7 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.
“Netherlands election tests populism in Europe as ‘Dutch Trump’ causes stir”
Dutch voters went to the polls on Wednesday and the whole world was watching.
Mostly because of the man Fox News caught up with as he voted in The Hague. Geert Wilders has caused a stir here with his populist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Islam rhetoric – and for months he was leading in the polls. His nationalist stands are setting the tone for elections in Europe and have echoes of last year’s presidential race in the United States. Fox News asked him if he believes he got a “bump” from Donald Trump’s victory. “I am not Donald Trump,” he replied. “I am Geert Wilders from the Netherlands. And I believe what is happening in America can happen all over the world.”
In recent weeks, Wilders has been sliding a bit in the polls. In the parliamentary election, his Freedom party is now second in the polls behind the party of incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Fox News asked Wilders if some of the “speed bumps” the Trump administration was hitting might be causing a reverse cautionary “Trump effect” among voters here. “That certainly could be the case,” he admitted. “However, I was active politically long before Mr. Trump took office. So, I am not comparing myself to him.”
“At least 31 people killed after Damascus suicide bombings, reports say”
At least 31 people have been killed and dozens more wounded after two suicide bomb attacks in Damascus, state media reported, the second double bombing in the Syrian capital in five days. On Wednesday, the UN Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said negotiations to end the war must speed up.
The first suicide bomber targeted the Palace of Justice, the main courthouse in central Damascus near the Old City. The justice minister, Najem al-Ahmad, told reporters the initial death toll was 31, mostly civilians.The second suicide blast struck a restaurant in the al-Rabweh area, to the west of the first attack, causing several casualties, state media reported.
The explosion hit the courthouse at a time when the area was crowded with lawyers, judges and civilians, harming a large number of people, Ahmed al-Sayyid, a senior state legal official told state-run al-Ikhbariya TV.
“Loonie, Peso Jump After Peter Navarro Says He Wants US, Canadian, Mexican Trade «Powerhouse»”
Peter Navarro is again making headlines, and moving markets, when moments ago, Trump’s top trade advisor was quoted by Bloomberg as saying he wants the US, Canada and Mexico to form a trade «powerhouse», supposedly one which is quite different from the existing «NAFTA» trade arrangement. Navarro is said to be «quietly working to forge an alliance with Mexico, even as U.S. plans to build a border wall and threats to withdraw from Nafta continue to inflame tensions with its third-largest trading partner.» Navarro, who as head of the White House National Trade Council will play a leading role in the effort to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, said in an interview the U.S. wants Mexico and Canada to unite in a regional manufacturing “powerhouse” that will keep out parts from other countries.
As Bloomberg also adds, Navarro’s comments hint at the strategy the U.S. may use to negotiate a successor to the 23-year-old NAFTA agreemenet. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said serious talks with Mexico and Canada should begin in the “latter part” of this year. Since the comment appears less combative than some more aggressive trade-related statements out of the administration, the market has taken it in stride and has sent both the Canadian Loonie and the Mexican Peso to session highs.