MACRON-PUTIN HAVE FRANK TALKS
French President Emmanuel Macron met Russin President Vladmir Putin on Monday for the first time since being elected. While he spared Putin the crushing handshake Trump got, Macron didn’t hold back with the Russian leader during talks, raising questions about just how strained ties between the two nations would remain.
Speaking after talks between the two leaders, Macron repeated his claim that official Russian publications acted like tools of propaganda during the French election. He also told Putin, who is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, that if Syria used chemical weapons it would invite retaliation from France. Putin was equally frank, denying the involvement of Russia in any attempts to influence the French election and questioning the independence of France’s Syria policy.
MAY AND CORBYN GO HEAD TO HEAD
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn sparred in their first televised showdown on who should be the next Prime Minister of the UK. After May refused to debate with Corbyn face-to-face, the two leaders faced questions from a studio audience and an anchor. And the verdict seems to be that both emerged unscathed.
Corbyn, the Labour Party candidate, survived the brickbats and stuck to his position on various issues. May, the Conservative Party candidate, was mocked with gifs, but she might have managed to convince voters that “they don’t have to like her to want her in charge”.
TRUDEAU WANTS AN APOLOGY FROM THE POPE
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday sought an apology from Pope Francis for the role of the Catholic Church in running the residential school system in Canada where indigenous children were abused for decades. “I told him how important it is for Canadians to move forward on real reconciliation with the indigenous peoples and I highlighted how he could help by issuing an apology,” Trudeau told reporters after the meeting. The Vatican did not comment on Trudeau’s request.
Other churches which ran the schools with the Catholic Church have apologised in the past.. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the issue, has sought the apology as part of the healing process for survivors.
PULL UP THE KILLER GRAPHICS FOR TRUMP
Donald Trump may have had harsh words for the intelligence community when he began his term, but the US President is now more than comfortable with his daily intelligence briefings. Armed with a Diet Coke, Trump reportedly likes to get his briefings every morning in the company of top officials that he can consult on the spot. Trump also prefers the information to be visual. So there are a lot of maps, charts, videos and ‘killer graphics’ to help the president understand the information being presented. He likes to get to the point quickly, which some fear may mean he’s missing the nuance in the information he’s getting. The recent reported information leak to the Russian ambassador is suspected to be a result of that.
THE END OF THE LINE FOR JARED KUSHNER?
Accused of seeking secret back-channel communication with the Russians, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and US President Donald Trump’s adviser, is neck-deep in trouble. Democrats want Kushner’s security clearance revoked and a Congressional panel investigation. He also faces an FBI investigation. And it might well be the end of the line for the multi-tasking, millionaire son-in-law of the President.
This column predicts that Kushner could soon spend most of his time with his personal lawyer and his life “will be a study in misery”. Kushner and wife Ivanka might even need to return to New York if they are unable to survive this scandal. And for Donald Trump, it will mean the loss of two key aides that could only reinforce his status as the loneliest man in Washington DC.