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Friday, June 2


Friday, June 2



Photo: EPA
Photo: EPA

Just hours after Donald Trump announced he would pull the US out of the Paris agreement, European and Chinese leaders will outline how they plan to take the lead on global climate policy.

European diplomats have been miffed by the Trump administration’s disregard for climate change, causing a rift in transatlantic relations. Sensing its moment, China is set to capitalise on this schism by taking a leadership role on a key global issue for the first time.

Producing 30% of global carbon emissions, China is ideally placed—and perhaps even obligated—to lead on climate policy. The country will introduce an emissions trading scheme in July, which will receive an $11 million boost from the EU in today’s announcement, and plans to spend more than $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020.

With many of its cities choked in smog, Beijing wants to move away from ‘dirty’ manufacturing and retool its factories to produce less polluting high-tech goods. If successful, China will do what it does best and bring down manufacturing costs for things like solar panels and wind turbines. This could well see Beijing become the first renewable energy superpower—a worrying prospect for those sitting in the White House, one would think.

Delve deeper: Will Trump pull the plug on Paris?



Photo: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters
Photo: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

Developing: as we go to press reports are emerging of a live fire incident at the Resorts World Manila entertainment precinct. Explosions and gunfire were heard early on Friday morning local time. ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack in response to the government siege on Marawi. Security forces have resisted this characterisation, labelling the incident a robbery.

More than 150 people have died since ISIS-linked militants laid siege to the southern Philippine city of Marawi last week. Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana insisted his forces would “normalise” the situation by today—false hope.

On the back foot in Iraq and Syria, ISIS has urged supporters to open up a new front in the Philippines in a bid to establish new wilayats (‘provinces’). The island of Mindanao in the country’s south has long served as a refuge for Islamist extremists, who travel by boat from neighbouring Indonesia or Malaysia, skirting porous border controls.

Amid efforts to expedite the fight, a government airstrike killed ten of its own soldiers in a disastrous “friendly fire” incident on Thursday. All up 38 security forces have been killed over the past 11 days.

Under pressure, President Duterte says he “will not talk to terrorists”, despite urging Muate militants to enter into dialogue with the government just last week. Duterte has also suspended peace talks with communist rebels also active in Mindanao after they ordered ‘more tactical offensives’ in response to his declaration of martial law.



Photo: Leah Farrell
Photo: Leah Farrell

Ireland is set to make history on Friday with Leo Varadkar poised to become the Catholic country’s first openly gay prime minister. The 38-year-old welfare minister is expected to replace current PM Enda Kenny, who announced he would resign in February after a police scandal marred his tenure.

Ireland’s new leader will look across the Irish Sea, where the UK is set to hold elections one week from today. That vote will influence Brexit talks, which will have a profound impact on Ireland.

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The UK is Ireland’s second largest trading partner; the IMF says the impact of Brexit will have a “negative and significant” impact on the Irish economy.

Even more important is the question of Northern Ireland. Mr Varadkar, who foresees “a united Ireland at some point in the future”, says he wants Northern Ireland to remain in the EU’s Single Market. With a political stalemate between unionists and republicans afflicting the North, serious questions are being asked about just how united the United Kingdom is.



The Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-level annual security conference, will begin in Singapore. The summit brings together the Asia Pacific’s top defence ministers and security policy-makers. Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull will deliver the keynote speech on Friday evening but US Defence Secretary James Mattis is expected to steal the spotlight when he addresses delegates on Saturday morning. North Korea, the South China Sea dispute and cyber security are expected to dominate the agenda.

S&P, a ratings agency, will review South Africa’s credit rating. S&P and Moody’s both downgraded the rating to junk status in April after President Jacob Zuma fired his highly respected finance minister. Mr Zuma survived a no-confidence vote on Thursday, deflating investors’ hopes for an end to South Africa’s political turmoil.

US employment data for May will be released, with economists estimating 185,000 jobs were added in the past month. Jobs data is a key measure of economic performance and business confidence.

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