Trump tries to soothe anxious GOP senators | TheHill


Trump urged GOP senators to stay unified and play offense by taking the political fight to Democrats, repeating to them his accusation that senior Obama administration officials tried to sabotage his campaign and incoming administration in 2016 and 2017.

He sought to assuage their concerns about polls showing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a healthy lead in key states by emphasizing the enthusiasm advantage he has among base voters.

Source: Trump tries to soothe anxious GOP senators | TheHill

Trump Is Attacking the Final Safeguard Against Executive Abuses | Defense One


It’s more than a scandal about the Trump administration’s decimation of the inspector-general corps, with four firings in the past six weeks, including the inspectors general for the intelligence community and for the Department of Health and Human Services and the acting inspector general for the Defense Department—though it is that too.

In context, the war on inspectors general is the third and final front in Trump’s war on any kind of check on the executive branch.

In the past few months alone, the White House has argued that Congress doesn’t have the right to oversee the executive branch. It has sought to convince courts that matters of oversight shouldn’t be decided by the judicial branch, either.

And in going after inspectors general, an accountability mechanism embedded in the executive branch, it is staking a simple but sweeping claim: No one has the right to check the executive outside of quadrennial elections.

Source: Trump Is Attacking the Final Safeguard Against Executive Abuses – Defense One

The Pandemic’s Geopolitical Aftershocks Are Coming | Defense One


More than anything, though, for Western governments there is a simple underlying reality to the geopolitical second wave: cash, or a lack of it. “You’ve got more problems but less money to deal with them,” one senior adviser to the British government, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly about internal deliberations, told me.

Inside Downing Street, concern about COVID-19’s geopolitical second wave is real, with work under way to understand the potential threats and prepare for them. The British government expects protectionism to increase, supply chains to be brought back under national control, nation-states to be strengthened, and the U.S.-China relationship to become more antagonistic—changes that could be seen as simply the “firming up of some fundamentals,” in the words of the government adviser I spoke with.

Source: The Pandemic’s Geopolitical Aftershocks Are Coming – Defense One

Johnson & Johnson to stop selling talc baby powder in U.S. and Canada | Reuters


J&J faces more than 19,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming its talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen. Many are pending before a U.S. district judge in New Jersey.

“I wish my mother could be here to see this day,” said Crystal Deckard, whose mother Darlene Coker alleged Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma. She dropped the suit filed in 1999 after losing her fight to compel J&J to divulge internal records. Coker died of the cancer in 2009.

Source: Johnson & Johnson to stop selling talc baby powder in U.S. and Canada – Reuters

Corona Capital: French cars, Computers, Panties | Reuters


Covid-19 is finally forcing the French state to act like a regular shareholder. Earlier this month Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declared that French automakers would have to bring more production back home if they wanted government support.

Perhaps Clotilde Delbos, the interim chief executive of Renault, in which the government has a 15% stake, didn’t get the “dirigiste” memo.

Source: Breakingviews – Corona Capital: French cars, Computers, Panties – Reuters

Tensions escalate along LAC in Sikkim as China accuses India of trespass | The Hindu


Sikkim’s Naku La pass is one of four areas that have seen aggressive action between Chinese and Indian troops (including Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Patrol personnel) since mid-April this year, according to sources.

Similar skirmishes, including jostling, and fisticuffs between the soldiers have been reported along a stretch in Eastern Ladakh at three points of Pangong Tso lake, and the Galwan river nalah, the sources said, adding that both sides have rushed more personnel to the area and more than a dozen new Chinese boats had been observed on the lake.

Source: Tensions escalate along LAC in Sikkim as China accuses India of trespass – The Hindu

Israel’s Annexation of the West Bank Will Spell Trouble for Jordan and the Palestinians


While annexation could be months off—and might not happen at all—the responses from the two leaders who stand to be affected most by any Israeli move underscored just how sensitive the issue is, even after more than 50 years of Israeli occupation of the territory.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas said at a meeting for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, according to the official Wafa news agency.

Source: Israel’s Annexation of the West Bank Will Spell Trouble for Jordan and the Palestinians

Vestager: Discrepancy in state aid distorts single market, hampers recovery | EURACTIV.com


The European Union’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager has expressed concern about the “huge differences” in coronavirus state aid among member states, saying they were starting to distort the bloc’s single market.

Germany accounts for more than half of the emergency coronavirus state aid approved by the EU executive, prompting concerns that countries with the deepest pockets might be getting an unfair advantage in the bloc’s single market.

In an interview with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Vestager said there was a risk that the different levels of state aid among member states would distort competition and slow the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Vestager: Discrepancy in state aid distorts single market, hampers recovery – EURACTIV.com

EU recovery funds will come with strings attached  | EURACTIV.com


The EU’s unprecedented stimulus to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic will come with certain conditions which should reflect the extraordinary nature of this crisis and the European goals, senior MEPs and diplomats have said

All EU money comes with ‘conditionality’, an EU diplomat explained. The reason is simple: if you are spending everybody’s money, terms must apply.

Once member states know how much they will need to relaunch their economies, the big question will be what would be the conditions required in exchange for what could be greatest fiscal stimulus ever adopted in the EU history.

Source: EU recovery funds will come with strings attached  – EURACTIV.com

ECJ reiterates that rulings are binding, as German court fallout continues | EURACTIV.com


The European Court of Justice is the only legal body able to determine if an EU institution violated bloc law, the Luxembourg-based tribunal said on Friday (8 May), as the fallout from the German Constitutional Court’s European Central Bank ruling continued.

“In order to ensure that EU law is applied uniformly, the Court of Justice alone – which was created for that purpose by the member states – has jurisdiction to rule that an act of an EU institution is contrary to EU law,” the judiciary body said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Germany’s Constitutional Court questioned the proportionality of the ECB bond-buying program launched in 2015, and which was considered as a critical part of the EU’s response to the financial crisis.

The German judges claimed that the ECB exceeded its remit and dismissed an ECJ ruling from 2018 that backed the program, claiming wrongdoing in the assessment and insisting that it was “not bound” by the EU court’s decision.

Source: ECJ reiterates that rulings are binding, as German court fallout continues – EURACTIV.com