Fdd's overnight brief

July 1, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


A plan that is gaining currency in the government and military envisions creating geographical “islands” or “bubbles” where Palestinians who are unconnected to Hamas can live in temporary shelter while the Israeli military mops up remaining insurgents. – Wall Street Journal

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men poured into the streets of Jerusalem on Sunday night to protest against mandatory military conscription, part of a rekindled debate roiling the country after Israel’s top court ruled that the military must start drafting religious students. – Wall Street Journal

Gaza’s remaining hospitals, health centers and oxygen stations will stop working within 48 hours as the fuel needed to operate generators runs out, Gaza’s Health Ministry said in a statement shared to Telegram at noon local time Sunday. – Washington Post

A U.S.-built floating pier made for delivering aid to Gaza by sea that has been bedeviled by problems has once again been dismantled due to expected high seas, the Pentagon said. The pier was removed from its anchored position in Gaza and would be towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod, Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Friday. – Washington Post

Israeli officials have tentatively agreed to legalize five Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move that could further inflame tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and draw the ire of the international community. – New York Times

Israeli forces advanced further on Sunday into the Shejaia neighbourhood of northern Gaza and also pushed deeper into western and central Rafah in the south, killing at least six Palestinians and destroying several homes, residents said. – Reuters

A senior official of the militant Islamist group Hamas, Osama Hamdan, said on Saturday there has been no progress in ceasefire talks with Israel over the Gaza war. – Reuters

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Saturday that Iran’s message of an “obliterating war” made it worthy of destruction. ⁠”A regime that threatens destruction deserves to be destroyed,” Katz said in a post on X. He also said Israel will act with full force against Iran-backed Hezbollah if it does not stop firing at Israel from Lebanon and move away from the border. – Reuters

Israeli tech startups raised $2.9 billion in the second quarter of 2024, the highest level in two years, IVC Data and Insights and LeumiTech said on Sunday, showing that the sector’s cash-raising ability remains robust despite Israel’s war with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. – Reuters

Israel’s finance minister has extended a waiver that allows cooperation between its banking system and Palestinian banks in the occupied West Bank, the minister’s spokesperson said on Sunday. – Reuters

Israel released the director of Gaza’s main hospital on Monday, seven months after the military raided the facility over allegations it was being used as a Hamas command center. – Associated Press

The government unanimously approved Likud MK Danny Danon as the next ambassador to the United Nations on Sunday, replacing Gilad Erdan. This will be Danon’s second stint at Turtle Bay. He served as Israel’s envoy to the UN from 2015 to 2020. – Times of Israel

An Israeli man was attacked and lightly injured Saturday evening when he drove into the Palestinian West Bank town of Qalandiya. According to the Kan public broadcaster, the 84-year-old man entered the Palestinian town to refuel his car. – Times of Israel

Editorial: At the same time, if the policy, even after October 7, leaves room for a future accommodation with the Palestinians that would cede areas in Judea and Samaria and consolidate some settlements, then there’s also no reason for last week’s cabinet declaration, which would make that already unlikely reality even more distant. The punishment of more settlements as a reaction to regional events must be taken off the table. It should be policy, not a knee-jerk reaction, that drives the government’s decisions. It’s time to decide. – Jerusalem Post

Tamir Hayman writes: Israel must act swiftly, embracing the Gulf states’ willingness to assist with the post-war Gaza order, even if it means accepting a role for a reformed PA. In turn this requires a large-scale deal for hostage release. Concurrently, Israel will transition from waging war to fighting terror through ongoing, intelligence-guided actions targeting the arrest or elimination of terrorists within the Palestinian territory. – Jerusalem Post


The winner of Iran’s presidential election will inherit domestic discord and an economy battered by sanctions, but also a strength: Tehran has more sway on the international stage than in decades. – Wall Street Journal

Iranians will have the choice between a reformist presidential candidate who favors more engagement with the West and a hard-line adviser to Iran’s supreme leader who opposes compromise after a long day of voting that saw record low turnout for an Iranian presidential election. – Wall Street Journal

Except for the fraying posters of Iran’s presidential candidates plastered on highway overpasses, there were few signs this weekend that the country had held a presidential election on Friday and was heading to a runoff. – New York Times

Iran has installed half the advanced uranium-enriching machines it said earlier this month it would quickly add to its Fordow site dug into a mountain but has not yet brought them online, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report seen by Reuters. – Reuters

Prisoners in Iran are being forced to vote in the country’s presidential elections under the threat of extended prison time and or up to 74 lashings, according to a Kurdish human rights group cited by Iran International in a report published on Friday. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters a third summer, the 700-mile front line is the site of a bloody chess match, with each side moving pieces around in search of an advantage without conceding ground elsewhere. – Wall Street Journal

The powerful glide-bombs that Russia has used to such great effect to pound Ukrainian cities into rubble have also been falling on its own territory, an internal Russian document has revealed. At least 38 of the bombs, which have been credited with helping drive Russia’s recent territorial advances, crashed into the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine between April 2023 and April 2024. – Washington Post

When thousands of Russian forces poured into northeast Ukraine last month, it wasn’t clear whether the Kharkiv region could avoid reoccupation, or whether the country’s second-largest city — just 18 miles from the Russian border — would be safe for a wedding. – Washington Post

A Russian missile attack on a small town in southeastern Ukraine and the fiery inferno that followed killed at least seven civilians, including three children, the country’s authorities said as they surveyed on Sunday the deadly toll of two days of fierce Russian assaults. – New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin declared on Friday that Russia would produce new intermediate-range nuclear-capable missiles and then decide whether to deploy them within range of NATO nations in Europe and American allies in Asia. – New York Times

The United States, Britain, France confronted Russia at the United Nations Security Council on Friday over accusations it is violating an arms embargo on North Korea by using missiles and munitions from Pyongyang in its war against Ukraine. – Reuters

Russian forces have taken over the villages of Spirne and Novooleksandrivka in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that 10 people, all civilians, were handed back to Ukraine as part of an exchange of detainees after several years of captivity in Russia and its ally Belarus. – Reuters

Peter Coy writes: I get that the Europeans want their institutions to be seen as reliable places to keep money, but the solution is for the G7 to present a united front. If all G7 members act together to seize Russian assets, Russia and other would-be evildoers won’t be able to play one nation off against another. This is no time for diffidence. – New York Times

Thomas Graham writes: With sufficient time and Western help, Ukraine can forge a credible deterrent against Russia outside of NATO. But it never will so long as NATO holds out the illusion of membership and tempts Ukraine to pursue it. It’s long past time to abandon that fantasy and focus on what is feasible and sufficient for Ukraine’s security. – The Hill

Michael S. Bernstam and Steven R. Rosefielde write: Russia may disagree with the use of its assets for helping Ukraine. Ukraine may disagree with not disbursing Russian assets directly as war reparations. This is their prerogative. Once the independent trust fund exists as a juridical entity with its own balance sheet, both Russia and Ukraine can — and indeed should — sue it in the International Court of Arbitration. Each side can submit its claims and evidence of financial loss and war destruction. Then the tort arbitration hearings can turn into a war crimes trial, which otherwise may never happen. – The Hill


U.S. officials say they are working to quiet fighting between Israel and Hezbollah that has pushed Lebanon to the brink of all-out war — an effort complicated by the administration’s struggle to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, analysts and diplomats said. – Washington Post

U.S., European and Arab mediators are pressing to keep stepped-up cross-border attacks between Israel and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militants from spiraling into a wider Middle East war that the world has feared for months. – Associated Press

The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp entered the eastern Mediterranean Sea this week as the U.S. positions warships to try to keep fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon from escalating into a wider war in the Middle East. – Associated Press

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah publicly thanked Iran for its support of Lebanon on Saturday. Hezbollah’s leader thanked Iran following the Islamic Republic’s envoy to the UN addressing Friday night’s tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, and after he posted on his official X, formerly Twitter, account that, “if Israel expands its activities in Lebanon, a war of annihilation will ensue.” – Jerusalem Post

Eighteen Israeli soldiers were wounded, including one seriously, in a Hezbollah drone attack in northern Israel on Sunday, the military said. According to the Israel Defense Forces, several drones were launched from Lebanon on Sunday afternoon, setting off sirens in the Galilee Panhandle and northern Golan Heights. – Times of Israel

Alexander Langlois writes: Ultimately, the risks associated with an Israel-Hezbollah war present a doomsday scenario for American policymakers, but one they can and should avoid. It must be made clear now that the United States will not back an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Anything short of this approach leaves Washington complicit in a firestorm of its own making. – The National Interest


Turkish police detained at least 15 protesters in Istanbul on Sunday for participating at a banned LGBT Pride rally, after searching the streets having arrived at the scene after participants had dispersed, a Reuters witness said. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he did not rule out a possible meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to help restore bilateral relations between the neighbours. – Reuters

There was anger in Turkey over opposition leader Ozgur Ozel, who said in a TV interview on Saturday that Hamas is a terrorist organization, a stance he has also previously voiced. Ozel stated, “Hamas rains bombs on innocent people in the middle of the night, with balloons, drones, and I don’t know what else.” – Jerusalem Post

An El Al flight from Warsaw en route to Tel Aviv was not allowed to refuel after making an emergency landing in Antalya, Turkey, on Sunday to evacuate a passenger in need of medical attention. – Times of Israel


The Saudi embassy in Lebanon, citing recent developments in the country, called on its citizens to leave and advised against traveling there, Maariv reported on Saturday evening. – Jerusalem Post

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati stated on Saturday that Israel must stop its campaign in Gaza and cease attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon, Lebanese state media reported. – Jerusalem Post

Neville Teller writes: The people of Lebanon resented their sons being recruited by Hezbollah and sent to Syria to support its president, Bashar Assad, in his fight against his democratic opponents. How much more would they oppose a call by Nasrallah to take up arms against Israel? This is why Nasrallah refrains from taking the decisive step, and would much prefer to point to Israel as the instigator of the conflict. – Jerusalem Post


Yet more than 115,000 Gazans have crossed into Egypt since October, the Palestinian Authority’s embassy here estimates. Most remain in limbo, with no legal status and nowhere else to go. They are members of a new diaspora of Palestinians, a people already haunted by memories of displacement. – Washington Post

Egypt is looking to raise its target for the renewable share of energy generation to 58% by 2040 in an updated strategy for expanding green power, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said on Saturday. – Reuters

Egypt’s sovereign fund has signed four agreements worth $33 billion in the field of green ammonia with European developers, a cabinet statement said on Sunday. – Reuters

European firms are signing deals potentially worth over 40 billion euros ($42.85 billion) with Egyptian partners, the EU Commission chief told an investment conference in Cairo on Saturday, part of a drive to bolster Egypt’s fragile economy. – Reuters


Yemen’s Houthi militant group on Friday claimed responsibility for attacking a Liberia-flagged vessel in the Red Sea that a maritime agency said had survived five missiles, while also saying they targeted three other vessels including two in the Mediterranean. – Reuters

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said on Sunday it had received a report of an incident 13 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s Al Mukha, but that the vessel and its crew were safe. – Jerusalem Post

The US military said on Sunday it had destroyed three Houthi uncrewed surface vessels (USV) in the past 24 hours in the Red Sea as part of a “self-defense engagement.” – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco (2223.SE) has signed contracts worth more than $25 billion for the second phase of the expansion of its Jafurah gas field and the third phase of expanding its main gas network, its CEO Amin Nasser said on Sunday. – Reuters

Net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Saudi Arabia rose 5.6% to 9.5 billion riyals ($2.53 billion) in the first quarter of 2024, government data showed on Sunday. – Reuters

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may cut prices for crude grades it sells to Asia for a second month in August, tracking weakness in Middle East benchmark Dubai, trade sources said on Friday. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

Hardly anyone has escaped from North Korea these past four years, since leader Kim Jong Un shuttered his country’s border with China in the earliest days of the pandemic. But Kang Gyu-rin and her mother, aunt and a family friend are among the few. To do so, they used a perilous route that has become almost the only option for escape: by sea. – Washington Post

An online petition calling for South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to be impeached experienced delays and disruptions due to the large number of people trying to sign it, the speaker of the parliament said, promising to fix the issue as soon as possible. – Reuters

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on Monday and the second may have failed and blown up during an irregular flight, possibly raining debris inland, South Korea’s military said. – Reuters

North Korea criticised a joint military exercise by South Korea, Japan and the United States held this month, state media said on Sunday, saying such drills show the relationship among three countries has developed into “the Asian version of NATO”. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un kicked off a key meeting of the country’s ruling party on Friday, state media KCNA reported on Saturday, a little over a week after Pyongyang and Moscow struck a military defense pact that raised alarms for the United States. – Reuters

Bruce W. Bennett writes: For some time, North Korea was able to send large numbers of munitions for use against Ukraine and reap substantial financial and other rewards. But is North Korea running out of outdated war reserve stocks it can continue sending to Russia? And how dangerous are those munitions? Will Russia reduce its support of North Korea when it is no longer getting significant North Korean assistance? And if North Korea does send military forces to fight in Ukraine, Kim will be increasing instability in North Korea that the United States and South Korea should be prepared to exploit. – The National Interest


China’s expulsion of two former defense ministers from the Chinese Communist Party this week signaled a sharp escalation in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s years-long effort to root out corruption and ensure total loyalty in the armed forces. – Washington Post

China’s top social media companies have condemned online hate speech targeting Japanese, delivering a vigorous response to comments triggered by a knife attack last week that killed one person and injured a Japanese mother and child. – Reuters

Most Taiwanese can visit China with no need to worry and can come “in high spirits”, the Chinese government said, condemning Taiwan for warning its citizens not to go following a threat from Beijing to execute “diehard” separatists. – Reuters

Emails sent to a Chinese dissident living in the Netherlands over his petition for asylum for his family members detained last year in Thailand were apparently fake, Dutch authorities said Friday. – Associated Press

China is likely to detain more Taiwanese people under a law that targets supporters of independence in a bid to pile pressure on the new president, senior security officials from the island said. – Bloomberg

Mark R. Whittington writes: In the longer term, the Artemis program must proceed on schedule. Artemis II still seems to be a go for the latter part of 2025. The first human expedition around the moon in decades will go a long way toward reestablishing the U.S. and its allies as the dominant space powers on Earth. In 2026 or slightly later, the “second giant leap for mankind” should occur with the Artemis III mission. If it occurs before a Chinese lunar landing, the second race to the moon will have been won, with all that implies. – The Hill

Gordon G. Chang writes: The Chinese appear to believe that AI makes their nuclear arsenal more fearsome. If they do adopt this view, they will be right. For instance, decapitation strikes by adversaries would no longer make sense, because killing China’s national leaders could lead to an automated nuclear strike. Moreover, China, which routinely has made threats to launch nuclear weapons first, could use AI to improve those initial attacks. – The Hill

Joel Thayer writes: Unbelievably, there are at least 150 million Chinese routers in our global networks; some may even be used by our own government. Think about the implications of that. We now know that routers allow hackers to peer through walls by using Wi-Fi signals to create de facto heat maps and show where people are throughout the buildings, or even map out classified areas. Imagine these routers are placed in the Pentagon or military bases, which some are. It’s why Congress needs to pass the ROUTERS Act, so that we can effectively target investigations to triage that threat. – The Hill

James Holmes writes: The thuggish conduct of Chinese maritime forces of late could signal that Chinese Communist magnates have decided the time is ripe to seize the offensive. The balance of forces favors them. If so the China Coast Guard and fellow sea services will unleash more and more overbearing tactics. They are already hovering right at the brink between peace and war. They could press their advantage. That being the case, it behooves Southeast Asian states and their extraregional allies and partners to embrace the reality that a martial mentality reigns in China—and to ponder what they are prepared to do should Beijing escalate further. Inaction courts defeat and disaster. – The National Interest

South Asia

Taliban officials attended a rare, United Nations-led conference of global envoys to Afghanistan on Sunday, the first such meeting Taliban representatives have agreed to engage in, after organizers said Afghan women would be excluded from the talks. – New York Times

Pakistan’s finance minister said on Sunday he was “very confident” his country would secure a new funding programme from the International Monetary Fund after the cash-strapped country’s annual fiscal budget passed into law. – Reuters

A roof collapse at New Delhi’s main airport highlights Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s challenges to make India a global aviation hub and raises questions about the rapid pace of infrastructure development in India. – Reuters

The Maldives, which has raised U.S. and Indian concerns by signing defense agreements with China, sees all the big powers in the Indo-Pacific as important partners and considers regional stability vital, its Washington ambassador said on Friday. – Reuters

Five Indian soldiers were killed when a military tank they were travelling in sank while crossing a river in the remote region of Ladakh that borders China, officials said Saturday. – Associated Press

Pakistan’s lower house of Parliament on Friday denounced a U.S. congressional resolution that called this week for an independent investigation into allegations that Pakistan’s parliamentary elections earlier this year were massively rigged. – Associated Press

India’s opposition groups and lawyers have raised concerns about the rollout of new criminal laws, saying the changes are being implemented too hastily and without proper consultation. – Bloomberg

Syed Mohammad Ali writes: Unfortunately, decades of US aid and technical advice to Pakistan have been unable to overcome elite capture, and may have instead exacerbated it. Chinese energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan have done little to provide much-needed micro-economic stimulation either. It seems unlikely that profit-oriented investments by the Gulf monarchies will be able to offer more meaningful opportunities for ordinary Pakistanis, even if they do provide some help with stabilizing the economy and keeping the shaky coalition government afloat. – Middle East Institute


Residents of this village on the Gulf of Thailand say they have been warned not to talk about the big expansion taking place at the nearby naval base or the two hulking gray Chinese warships docked there, dominating the waterfront. – Wall Street Journal

Myanmar’s central bank denied a U.N. report that the country’s military government can still access money and weapons for its war against anti-coup forces, saying financial institutions under the bank’s supervision followed prescribed procedures. – Reuters

Myanmar arrested four executives of supermarket chains, including an official of a Japanese joint venture, for selling rice at inflated prices, state media said on Monday, as the war-torn country’s ruling junta struggles to stabilise its economy. – Reuters

The World Bank said on Saturday its board of executive directors has approved $1.25 billion in loans for the Philippines’ education and public infrastructure sectors. – Reuters


Marine Le Pen’s National Rally notched a victory in the first round of parliamentary elections across France on Sunday, according to projections that showed her far-right party moving one step closer to its goal of winning control of the National Assembly and taking the reins of government. – Wall Street Journal

The Hungarian Prime Minister, an outspoken fan of former President Donald Trump and an icon of European right-wing nationalism, adopted the motto—abbreviated as MEGA—for his country’s six months in the rotating presidency of the European Union, starting Monday. – Wall Street Journal

Inside a stately art nouveau building in central Vienna, special-forces officers armed with submachine guns guard the home of Christo Grozev, an investigative journalist whose Academy Award-winning documentary exposed the Kremlin’s attempt to kill opposition leader Alexei Navalny. – Wall Street Journal

France’s far-right National Rally took the commanding lead in projections released by the public broadcaster in the first round of national legislative elections on Sunday, cementing the prominence of the party’s 28-year-old president, Jordan Bardella. – Washington Post

An attacker who fired a crossbow at a police officer guarding the Israeli embassy in Belgrade was shot dead on Saturday in what President Aleksandar Vucic called a terrorist attack against Serbia. – Reuters

Human rights groups returned to a Dutch court Friday seeking stricter enforcement of a court order to halt Dutch exports to Israel of parts for F-35 fighter jets used in the Gaza war, saying that the parts likely still wind up in Israel via the United States. – Associated Press

Editorial: If RN does take power, it will have to work with Mr. Macron, whose term doesn’t end until 2027. The conservative Giorgia Meloni in Italy has proven to be a pragmatist in office, and the demands of governance have a way of imposing that on the most outspoken democratic leaders. We may soon get a chance to see if the populist right can govern in France, which could be a useful lesson. – Wall Street Journal

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: This weekend begins two rounds of balloting, with Sunday’s vote winnowing contenders from many parties. Candidates who pass the vote threshold advance to the next round the following Sunday, usually a two- or three-person contest. With French voters preoccupied by domestic problems, foreign policy isn’t this election’s crucial issue. But as global threats proliferate, a weakened France would be a loss for Europe and the world. – Wall Street Journal

Adrian Wooldrige writes: The British seized on the election campaign that comes to an end this week as a chance to give the Conservative Party a good kicking. This is understandable after the past 14 years of arrogance, incompetence and trauma. But elections are about more than getting rid of the old lot. They are about bringing in a new lot too. The Labour Party’s agenda, with its warmed-up corporatism, sullen egalitarianism and public-sector fetishism, gives little cause for hope and a great deal of cause for angst. – Bloomberg


At least 18 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in a series of suicide bombings, all carried out by women, on Saturday afternoon in northeastern Nigeria.They included one explosion that went off at the wedding of a young couple and another at a funeral, according to local officials. – New York Times

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former opposition leader John Steenhuisen as minister of agriculture on Sunday, bringing the Democratic Alliance and other parties into his new coalition cabinet. – Reuters

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani has won the country’s presidential election, according to provisional results from over 99.27% of polling stations released by the West African nation’s electoral commission Sunday. – Reuters

Kenyan activists on Friday circulated calls for fresh protests, strikes and sit-ins demanding President William Ruto quit, after nationwide demonstrations forced him to U-turn on proposed tax hikes. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved the second review of Ghana’s $3 billion loan programme on Friday, allowing for the immediate disbursement of around $360 million, the Fund said. – Reuters

Fighters from Sudan’s notorious paramilitary group looted homes and shops and took over the main hospital in a central city, forcing tens of thousands to flee, residents said Sunday, as a new front opened in a a 14-month war that has pushed the African country to the brink of famine. – Associated Press

The Americas

Uruguayans on Sunday chose the presidential contenders who will contest October elections, as opinion polls show the left-wing opposition edging ahead with voters concerned about public safety and rising inequality. – Reuters

Guatemala’s top court on Friday issued a resolution that called for “good manners” and authorities to protect moral values at this year’s annual LGBT pride parade, after a lawyer sought to ban the march and prevent children from attending. – Reuters

A Panamanian court has acquitted 28 people charged with money-laundering under cases linked to the Panama Papers and “Operation Car Wash” scandals, the country’s judicial branch said in a statement on Friday. – Reuters

Arturo Mcfields writes: Instead of minimizing or underestimating the dangerous developments in this communist regime, the international community must work with other democracies in the region to monitor the situation in Nicaragua closely. Yes, the migration problems that Ortega’s regime is helping create call for stronger security measures at the U.S. border. But most importantly, they call for a comprehensive, preventive and proactive foreign policy in Central America. – The Hill

Latin America

A global financial watchdog has censored Monaco and Venezuela for not doing enough to strengthen their anti-money-laundering and counterterrorist financing systems. – Wall Street Journal

Colombian armed group the Segunda Marquetalia on Sunday agreed to a unilateral ceasefire, after several days of peace talks in Caracas, which are part of President Gustavo Petro’s efforts to end 60 years of unrest in his country. – Reuters

Detained Bolivian general Juan Jose Zuniga was ordered to six months “preventive detention” for his role leading a failed coup against the government earlier in the week, a top prosecutor said on Friday. – Reuters

China and Peru have achieved “substantial conclusion of negotiations” on the upgrading of a free trade agreement between both countries, Chinese state media said on Friday. – Reuters

A judge in Ecuador on Sunday ordered that more than a dozen suspects including judges, attorneys and government officials be held in jail while authorities investigate judicial rulings that allegedly favored criminals. – Associated Press

Argentina’s lower house on Friday approved President Javier Milei’s sweeping economic overhaul bills, sealing a much-needed legislative victory for the libertarian leader after six months of bruising battles and raucous protests that had raised questions about his ability to govern. – Associated Press

North America

López Obrador’s knack for whipping up support, and his relish for basking in it, has investors and opponents worried he isn’t simply passing the baton to his successor and protégée, President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, but will instead run the country from behind the scenes. – Wall Street Journal

The Biden administration will protect from deportation more than 300,000 Haitians and allow them to work in the country, U.S. officials announced Friday, the latest move to shield immigrants from returning to countries in dire conditions. – New York Times

Canada’s gross domestic product increased 0.3% in April, matching market expectations, as growth rebounded in sectors including wholesale trade and manufacturing, and the economy likely expanded further in May, data showed on Friday. – Reuters

United States

Tech companies scouring the country for electricity supplies have zeroed in on a key target: America’s nuclear-power plants. The owners of roughly a third of U.S. nuclear-power plants are in talks with tech companies to provide electricity to new data centers needed to meet the demands of an artificial-intelligence boom. – Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump’s allies are assuring officials in Japan and South Korea that the Republican presidential candidate will support a Biden-era effort to deepen three-way ties aimed at countering China and North Korea, five people familiar with the conversations said. – Reuters

Editorial: A Biden withdrawal would create some temporary panic as Democrats seek a new nominee. Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t the answer. But others would come to the fore as candidates, and the Democratic convention would command the attention of the world. You know Mr. Trump is counting on Democrats to stick with Mr. Biden, but the country deserves a better choice. – Wall Street Journal

Alyssa Blakemore writes: The Biden administration cannot on one hand denounce antisemitism, while on the other, consider importing the same ideologies that espouse it. Lawmakers may be obligated to the needs of their constituents, but the president must consider the inherent risks of admission to the beleaguered families of U.S. citizens. Mass admission of Palestinians into the U.S. should be an easy “no.” – The Hill


South Korea’s SK Hynix (000660.KS),, the world no.2 memory chip maker, will invest 103 trillion won ($74.6 billion) through 2028 to strengthen its chips business, focusing on AI, its parent SK Group said on Sunday. – Reuters

The Federal Communications Commission is pressing telecommunications carriers for more transparency around efforts to curb the use of voice-cloned robocalls that impersonate political candidates over their networks. – Cyberscoop

A prominent children’s hospital in Chicago confirmed that almost 800,000 people had sensitive health information leaked during a ransomware attack earlier this year. – The Record


The House on Friday passed 217-198 its annual defense spending bill for fiscal 2025, with appropriators rebuffing intense bipartisan pressure from their colleagues over attack submarine and F-35 fighter jet purchases. – Defense News

A pair of the Army’s next-generation rotary-wing engines were delivered to Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky ahead of integration into the UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopter, the company announced. – Defense News

Luis Simon writes: When they meet in Washington, NATO leaders should remember that America’s focus on Asia and the strengthening Sino-Russian partnership underscore the growing interdependence between the European and Indo-Pacific theaters. The Ukraine war is a formidable example in this regard. This does not mean European and Indo-Pacific countries should extend mutual defense commitments to each other. But it means the time has come for them to think big about their partnership and move beyond the declaratory and transnational level onto a more concrete one stressing inter-state deterrence. – War on the Rocks


Long War

The U.N. cultural agency has discovered five bombs hidden within the walls of the historic al-Nouri Mosque in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq, a remnant of the Islamic State militant group’s rule over the area, UNESCO said in a statement Saturday. – Associated Press

A decade after the Islamic State militant group declared its caliphate in large parts of Iraq and Syria, the extremists no longer control any land, have lost many prominent leaders and are mostly out of the world news headlines. – Associated Press

An Israeli drone strike on Sunday killed a Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander and wounded five in the Nur Shams camp in the West Bank city of Tulkarem. – Times of Israel