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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
June 17, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: Syria to Top G8 Conference Agenda

Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters  

Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters

World leaders are in Northern Ireland on Monday for the G8 summit (BBC) set to be dominated by the ongoing conflict in Syria, for which UK prime minister David Cameron said he hoped summit members would find "common ground." U.S. president Barack Obama will meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin (Reuters) on Monday after Putin clashed with Western leaders over plans to arm Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow, Syria's key ally, has staunchly opposed U.S. plans to arm the rebels. The two-day summit is also expected to focus on global economic issues (Bloomberg), including the launch of talks for an EU-U.S. free-trade deal.


"David Cameron's call for today's Ulster meeting to agree action against tax havens is original, sensible, and needs international concord to push it through. Success would be a real triumph for him. A treaty will take time, but it is good to start now. So why spoil it with Syria?" writes Simon Jenkins for The Guardian.

"The differences between Russia's position on Syria and that of the West [were] thrown into stark relief by the Downing Street meeting between President Putin and the prime minister. They are so deep that they look set to overshadow this G8 summit in Northern Ireland unless, as Mr. Cameron hopes, the discussion can focus on bolstering chances for some kind of renewed peace talks in Geneva," writes Jonathan Marcus for the BBC.

"Today, corporation tax is levied on a company's profits, not its revenues or where its customers are located. But if the rules being suggested for US companies – essentially that they should pay corporation tax where their sales are generated – were applied to European multinationals (of which there are many), it would mean more money for the U.S. Treasury and less for domestic exchequers," writes Eric Schmidt for the Financial Times.



North Korea Proposes Nuclear Talks

North Korea's top nuclear envoy will visit Beijing this week for talks with senior Chinese officials a day after Pyongyang proposed high-level discussions (Yonhap) with Washington aimed at easing tensions and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

This CFR Backgrounder traces the history and development of the China-North Korea relationship.

CHINA: A state-backed Chinese newspaper said on Monday that extraditing ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States would be a "betrayal" of his trust and a "face-losing outcome" for Beijing (SCMP).



Women’s Rights Struggle in Afghan Parliament

Afghanistan officials said that conservative male parliamentarians quietly removed a legal requirement that women make up at least a quarter of all provincial elected officials, a move engineered in mid-May but only discovered recently by women members of parliament.

PAKISTAN: U.S. secretary of state John Kerry called Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday to congratulate his election and discuss regional issues (Dawn).



Turkey Unions to Strike

Five trade unions will participate Monday in Turkey's nationwide antigovernment demonstrations and stage a one-day strike (Hurriyet) following the police intervention in Taksim Square on Friday. Turkey's interior minister said workers joining the strike will face consequences.

CFR experts outline three things to know about the protests in this video.



Sudans Attempt to Ease Tensions

The Sudanese government announced its official acceptance of proposals made by the head of the African Union aimed at easing tensions with the South (SudanTribune). The agreement comes after the Chinese special envoy to Africa held talks in Khartoum Sunday in the wake of Sudan's decision last week to block flow of oil to Juba.

MALI: Al-Qaeda's North African branch, known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, announced that one of its top leaders was killed in fighting with France. The statement comes three months after Paris first announced his death (al-Jazeera).



Czech PM Resigns

Czech Republic prime minister Petr Necas announced Sunday that he would submit his resignation (NYT) Monday following a corruption scandal involving a senior aide. Czech prosecutors had charged several people, including Necas's chief of staff, for corruption on Friday.



Republican Senators Speak Out on Immigration

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Robert Menendez told conservatives on Sunday that Republicans' hopes to reclaim the White House in 2016 will hinge on how they treat the immigration overhaul (WaPo) currently being debated in the Senate.

VENEZUELA: Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro is meeting Monday with Pope Francis (ElUniversal) at the Vatican. Maduro will also meet with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on his first official trip to Europe.



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