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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
June 12, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: G8 Protests Overshadow Summit

Neil Hall/Courtesy Reuters  

Neil Hall/Courtesy Reuters

London riot police raided (Guardian) the headquarters of an anti-G8 protest group on Tuesday and arrested fifty-seven people as demonstrations took place against next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland. Protestors also took to the streets Tuesday night as part of a four-day gathering against the summit, where the world's eight wealthiest countries will meet for a two-day conference. French resistance to a U.S.-EU trade deal has dominated the buildup to the talks, as have corporate transparency and corruption issues. Observers have voiced concerns about the security risk (Reuters) of hosting the conference near Enniskillen, the scene of a 1987 IRA bombing that killed eleven people at a commemoration of Britain's war dead.


"If lasting achievement does elude [British prime minister David] Cameron it will be for three reasons: vested interests have proved too strong; the pressure exerted from civil society has proved too weak; and he left it too late to cajole and persuade his fellow leaders. Reports suggest the prime minister is fully engaged – but successful G8 summits need years, not weeks, of hard graft," writes Larry Elliott for the Guardian.

"The Labour opposition claims Mr Cameron has been selling Britain short, settling for an unambitious agenda and failing to invest the political energy required to turn the G8 from a talking shop into an engine for progress," write George Parker, Claire Jones, and Jim Pickard for the Financial Times.

"The G8 leaders should put the issue of large-scale corporate 'land grabs' in developing countries on the agenda, promoting action to help improve their governance, transparency and accountability," writes Jim Clarken for the Independent.



Korean Talks Suspended

North Korea failed to answer South Korea's calls on a newly reopened communication line on Wednesday, a day after high-level government talks were called off (Yonhap). The meeting, which could have eased tensions, had been cancelled due to disagreements over the selection of delegates by both sides.

CFR's Scott Snyder discusses the renewed Korean dialogue in this blog post.

JAPAN: Japan and Britain will likely forge a defense intelligence-sharing accord at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland next week (JapanTimes).



India Calls for Economic Ties With Pakistan

The Indian high commissioner called on Pakistan to fully implement a roadmap for normalizing economic cooperation with India (ET). New Delhi has implemented several new policies toward this, including allowing investments from Pakistan and reducing the tariff lines.

AFGHANISTAN: A suicide car bomb killed at least seventeen people after striking a bus carrying Afghanistan's supreme court staff near the U.S. embassy in Kabul (al-Jazeera).



Iran's Aref Quits Presidential Race

Mohammad Reza Aref, one of the last remaining Iranian presidential candidates seen as reformist, dropped out (BBC) of this week's election after recent calls for him to quit in favor of moderate candidate Hassan Rowhani. Most of the six remaining candidates are close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The reform movement may yet be energized by the remaining moderate contender, says CFR's Ray Takeyh in this interview.

TURKEY: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet with a group of public figures Wednesday about the recent protests in Istanbul's Taksim Square, after riot police cleared protestors from the area (Reuters).

CFR's Steven Cook addresses why Erdogan has nothing to fear in this Foreign Affairs article.



Sudan to Officially Freeze Oil Flow to South

Sudan officially informed South Sudan on Tuesday that it would freeze their oil and economic agreements (Reuters), blocking its neighbor's crude exports unless the South gives up support for insurgents operating across their border. South Sudan denies that it is backing any rebels. Washington has called on Khartoum to reconsider.

KENYA: Kenya's members of parliament finally agreed to settle for a lower pay raise (al-Jazeera) after a deadlock in negotiations prompted public protests against the politicians.



Greek Journalists Defy Closing of Station

Journalists from a Greek public broadcaster staged a sit-in and continued programming after a budget decision necessary for the country's bailout cut state television and radio. Opposition political parties and unions joined the protests against the shutdown (DeutscheWelle).



Peru's Humala Visits White House

U.S. president Barack Obama met with Peruvian president Ollanta Humala at the White House on Tuesday in Washington's latest effort to seal a Trans-Pacific Partnership (MercoPress) trade deal. Delegations from the TPP hope to conclude the pact before the APEC summit in Bali in October.

VENEZUELA: Venezuela's electoral commission confirmed the victory of President Nicolas Maduro in the April election after carrying out an audit on collected votes (WSJ).



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