“Trump Is Leaving Japan Empty-Handed on Trade.”
For all the apparent chumminess between President Donald Trump and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, it hasn’t resulted in much concrete action to address Trump’s main complaint: fixing what he sees as an unfair trade relationship with Japan.
For Trump, more known for shoving a fellow leader aside than embracing one, the relationship with Abe is a way to show he can work with his peers around the globe. The two men also agree on a hard-line approach to North Korea.
But throughout Trump’s two-day visit, Abe publicly ducked any talk of major trade concessions even though Trump kept bringing it up. The only major investment cited — a $1 billion project in Tennessee from auto parts maker Denso Corp. — was old news, contrasting with Trump’s plan to announce billions of dollars in deals on his stop in China later this week.
One major problem for Abe is that he’s not sure what exactly the U.S. wants, according to Hiroyuki Kishi, a professor at Keio University and former trade ministry bureaucrat. On autos, for example, Japanese officials argue the market isn’t closed to American cars — consumers just don’t want to buy them.
For the U.S., the Japanese trade deficit is second only to that with China. Trump has made clear that he tends to see the numbers as a sort of fairness scorecard, and any figure with a minus for the U.S. almost automatically means the other side is somehow breaking the rules.
“Purge of Saudi princes, businessmen widens, travel curbs imposed.”
A campaign of mass arrests of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen widened on Monday after a top entrepreneur was reportedly held in the biggest anti-corruption purge of the kingdom’s affluent elite in its modern history.
The arrests are the latest in a series of dramatic steps by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to assert Saudi influence internationally and centralize his own power within a hereditary ruling system at home.
The campaign also lengthens an already daunting list of challenges undertaken by the 32-year-old since his father, King Salman, ascended the throne in 2015, including going to war in Yemen, cranking up Riyadh’s confrontation with arch-foe Iran and reforming the economy to lessen its reliance on oil. Both allies and adversaries are quietly astonished that a kingdom once obsessed with stability has acquired such a taste for assertive – some would say impulsive – policy-making.
A no-fly list has been drawn up and security forces in some Saudi airports were barring owners of private jets from taking off without a permit, pan-Arab daily Al-Asharq Al-Awsat said. Among those detained are 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers, according to Saudi officials. The allegations against the men include money laundering, bribery, extortion and taking advantage of public office for personal gain, a Saudi official told Reuters. Those accusations could not be independently verified and family members of those detained could not be reached.
The new anti-corruption committee has the power to seize assets at home and abroad before the results of its investigations are known. Investors worry that the crackdown could ultimately result in forced sales of equities, but the extent of the authorities’ intentions was not immediately clear.
“Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed.”
A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy, including the Queen’s private estate, secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary is shown to have a stake in a firm dealing with Russians sanctioned by the US. The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains 13.4m documents, mostly from one leading firm in offshore finance.
A key aide of Canada’s PM has been linked to offshore schemes that may have cost the nation millions of dollars in taxes, threatening to embarrass Justin Trudeau, who has campaigned to shut tax havens. Lord Ashcroft, a former Conservative party deputy chairman and a significant donor, may have ignored rules around how his offshore investments were managed. How questions were raised about the funding of a major shareholding in Everton FC. An oligarch with close links to the Kremlin, Alisher Usmanov, may have secretly taken ownership of a company responsible for anti-money laundering checks on Russian cash.
Most of the data comes from a company called Appleby, a Bermuda-founded legal services provider at the top end of the offshore industry, helping clients set up in overseas jurisdictions with low or zero tax rates. Its documents, and others mainly from corporate registries in Caribbean jurisdictions, were obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung. It has not revealed the source.
“Philippines hunts for possible new Islamic State ‘emir’ in South East Asia.”
The army terminated combat operations in southern Marawi two weeks ago after killing what it believed were the last remnants of a rebel alliance that held parts of the lakeside city for five months.
Following the country’s biggest security crisis in decades, troops have made significant gains in the week since they killed Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group and anointed “emir” of Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
His assumed deputy, Malaysian Mahmud Ahmad, was also believe killed, as was Omarkhayan Maute, a top operative in the alliance.
“We are still looking for Amin Baco,” Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, describing the Malaysian as the likely new “successor as the emir of those terrorists”.
More than 1,100 people – mostly militants – were killed and 350,000 displaced by the Marawi unrest, a crisis that shocked predominantly Catholic Philippines and led to unease about Islamic State gaining traction in Muslim parts of the island of Mindanao.
Police chief Ronaldo dela Rosa said he received similar information that Baco, an expert bomb-maker, had assumed the role of Islamic State’s point man.