Shutting down consulates
The United States ordered China to shut down its consulate in Houston, citing issues of intelectual property theft. This development heightens the downward trend in relations between both powers, which in the last few years have been decaying. Beijing immediately threatened the US with retaliation. Following the shutdown order, Houston police and fire department arrived at the location, realizing that reports of a fire incident were actually documents being burned outdoors in the consulate building, a fact which hasn’t gone unnoticed.
To date, the Chinese response made itself manifest with the shut down order for the american consulate in the city of Chengdu, without any set date for the building to be vacated, however.
Hezbollah and Israel
Following attacks by Israel in Syrian territory on Iranian targets last Monday, resulting in the deaths of five members of the Iranian militia, Hezbollah claimed the death of one of its fighters. This was the first casualty among Hezbollah ranks since the 2019 attack by IDF, in which two ‘kamikaze’ drone pilots, allegedly trained by the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), were killed.
Concerning the outcome of the attack, Hezbollah threatened the state of Israel with revenge, with several media elements and social media accounts associated with it spreading images and messages alluding to retaliation. In response, Israeli forces strenghtened their presence in the north of the country, so as to better deal with any potential threat.
Agreement in the EU regarding the stimulus package
After weeks of frenetic negotiations and the longtime conflict between the so called “savers” of northern Europe and the “spenders” of the South, the leaders of EU’s 27 countries reached a compromise in a deal for the creation of an economic recovery fund, something which was viewed as an imperative for the continuing stability of the continent, given the consequences of the pandemic which have ravaged the world economy since March 2020.
Some members still consider that, despite the agreement, the established numbers are insufficient, and are already lobbying for a further deal for a new wave of stimulus, in the face of economic difficulties.
- Ethiopia states it has achieved the first year target water level for the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, in the Nile River.
- The IRGC confirms the explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility was a sabotage event.
- Chinese financial regulators are preparing for a rise in non-performing loans, as a result of Covid-19 economic impacts.
- The European economy began trending back to growth, despite warnings regardling unemployment levels.
- French authorities have decided to limit licence renewals for Huawei equipment for telecom operators, which de facto consists in a prohibition after 2028.
- China launched its first unmanned Mars mission.
- The prime-ministers of four German states urged that the US didn’t go through with troop withdrawals from German territories.
- The European Council authorized the signing of a trade deal with China, after 10 years of negotiations. This agreement contemplates mostly protected geographic origin products.
- The USA concluded its biggest loan in sub-Saharan Africa for a LNG project in Mozambique, in a move that forebodes future competition with China over influence in the continent.
- Japan, Australia and the US took part in joint naval exercises in the vicinity of Guam.
- After demolishing part of a dam in a Yangtze river tributary over pressure from flooding, chinese authorities state that there is no risk of damage to the Three Gorges Dam.