CHINA’S GIFTS TO TRUMP BUSINESS
The Chinese government granted preliminary approval for nine Donald Trump trademarks it had previously rejected. Is Beijing giving his family business special treatment? The speed with which these appeals were decided is mind-blowing. The trademarks include: branded spa and massage services, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate companies, restaurants, bars, and bodyguards, social escorts and concierge services.
The Trump Organization now has at least 125 trademarks in China formally or provisionally approved. Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress filed a federal lawsuit this week accusing Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from business dealings with foreign governments — including collecting payments from foreign diplomats who stay in his hotels and accepting trademark approvals from foreign governments for his company’s goods and services. It is the third such lawsuit.
SINGAPORE’S FAMILY FEUD NOW ON FACEBOOK
In an unusually embarrassing public escalation of a family feud, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings have accused him of misusing his position to advance his personal agenda and of betraying the legacy of their father Lee Kuan Yew.
At the centre of the dispute is a house that belonged to their father. The two younger Lees said their older brother had taken steps to hinder their father’s will, which called for the house to be demolished. They accused him of wanting to preserve it as a monument for his political advantage.
Lee Kuan Yew served as the prime minister from 1959 until 1990. He was accused of suppressing freedoms, but successfully transforming the resource-poor Singapore into a wealthy international business centre. Public criticism of leaders is rare in Singapore, and the open rift within the Lee family has shocked many.
BRITAIN’S NEW DIVIDING LINE IS AGE, NOT CLASS
Historically, social class was the stark dividing line in British politics. The right-wing Conservatives were the party of the middle class and the upper crust, while left-wing Labour was the party of the working stiffs. Now another dividing line along age has opened up. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour was stronger where the younger voters were: 66 per cent of 18- to 19-year-old voters backed Labour in last week’s election, while 69 per cent of voters over 70-years-old voted for the Theresa May-lead Conservative Party. Labour ran a more social media-savvy campaign and made promises to cut student tuition fees. By and large, young voters had also opposed Brexit.
About 30 per cent of 25-to 44-year-olds who had voted Conservative in the last election appeared to have defected to Labour.
GERMANY IS NOT TREATING GREECE NICELY
Poor Alexis Tsipras. For days, the Greek Prime Minister has been working the phones, trying to secure the best possible terms for his country as it enters the last mile of its seemingly endless cycle of bailouts. So far, his efforts have won him more mockery than respect — especially in Germany.
“He keeps calling the whole time, and Chancellor Angela Merkel says again and again, ‘Alexis, this issue is for the finance ministers,’” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said.
Eurozone finance ministers will decide whether to release a €7 billion tranche of aid to Greece. No one doubts Athens will get the money. But Tsipras wants debt relief to crawl out from under the €300 billion debt. That means convincing Germany, the country to which Greece owes the most. Berlin refuses to budge.
A MOSQUE NAMED MARY IN UAE
‘Mary, Jesus’ Mother’ is the new name for a UAE mosque. A district in Abu Dhabi renamed a mosque to “consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions”.
Officials said that it was a tribute to how people from more than 200 nations are living in comfort and security in the UAE. This is the latest in a series of developments aimed at embracing the diversity of religious faiths. In February last year, the government created the new Ministry of Tolerance. In June, the UAE Cabinet approved a new National Tolerance Programme based on seven key pillars — Islam, Constitution, Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and ethics of the UAE, international conventions, archaeology and history, humanity and common values. This week, a church in Al Ain opened its doors for Maghrib prayers.
Picture Courtesy: Twitter @IvankaTrump