Monday 15th - The BESA Times
Seventy-First Edition - Monday 15th Every week a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days
Julian Assange was on Thursday arrested by UK police in London after Ecuador withdrew his asylum. The 47-year-old activist and co-founder of WikiLeaks took refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 and was granted political asylum on the grounds that his human rights may be violated if he was extradited to Sweden, where he faced charges for rape and molestation. Mr. Assange denied the allegations and he said that he was always happy to answer the Swedish investigation, but the real reason why he sought political asylum was because of the risk of extradition to the US. Hours after Mr. Assange was dragged from the embassy, a US federal court unveiled a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. That relates specifically to a claim that in 2010 he agreed to help Private Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, to crack a password that would have provided access to a US government network used to store classified material. The aim was to help Private Manning get the information to WikiLeaks so they could publicly disseminate the information online. If found guilty, Mr. Assange faces up to five years in prison. The news of Assange’s arrest will most likely reignite the heated debate where the boundaries of investigative reporting are.
The Brexit drama is set to continue as Theresa May and the EU have agreed on a delay of the UK’s departure from the Union until October 31st in order to avoid a disorderly “hard” Brexit. The members of the British parliament have so far failed to approve the prime minister’s exit plan due to different opinions on the hottest issues of the withdrawal agreement, with disagreements even within the governing Conservative party, therefore, Theresa May has now turned to opposition Labour party to help pass her Brexit deal in a desperate bid to avoid holding European parliamentary elections in a month’s time. But the move to start cross-party discussions has sparked a lot of controversy, since a large number of Tory MPs are against working with Labour party’s leader Mr. Corbyn and oppose his plans to soften Brexit, notably through a customs union with Brussels, which could limit the UK’s ability to strike comprehensive trade deals around the world. Many Labour MPs are on the other hand hostile to the idea of any deal with the Conservatives that does not include a second EU referendum, so the only certain thing is once again that the uncertainty, surrounding when, how or if even the United Kingdom’s departure from the European union will happen, is here to stay.
The United States have opened a new front in their ongoing trade war, as a longstanding transatlantic dispute over state support for Airbus and Boeing led the US this week to threaten punitive tariffs against $11bn of EU products as a consequence of the WTO ruling against aid granted to Airbus, while Mr. Trump is separately considering whether to impose additional duties on imports of cars. The European Commission has in response drafted a list of $12bn worth of US products that could be targeted with punitive tariffs, as it is entitled to do after the World Trade Organization ruled last month that Washington had kept granting illegal subsidies to the US aircraft manufacturer. EU diplomats fear that the WTO battle over Boeing and Airbus, which dates back to 2004, might feed broader transatlantic trade tensions and that Mr. Trump will turn even more hostile to the EU once he resolves his trade dispute with China.
DID YOU KNOW?
Including dividends, the S&P 500 gained 135% from March 2009 through January 2013, during what people remember as the “Great Recession.” It gained the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the “greatest bull market in history.”
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE COMING WEEK?
Concerns about global growth following a string of soft data from China unnerved investors earlier this year. Next week investors tune into GDP figures from the world’s second-largest economy. In the US, the economic calendar is busy with investors looking to home builder confidence and housing starts to get a pulse on the housing market. Retail sales, industrial production and trade data will also help provide clues on the health of the broader economy. The earnings season got off to a strong start following upbeat results from JPMorgan on Friday, while Wells Fargo also topped expectations. Banks are among the 50 companies on the S&P 500 reporting results next week.
WRITTEN BY MARTIN ZAVRL
PLEASE DIRECT ANY INQUIRY TO AS.BESA@UNIBOCCONI.IT
THANKS FOR READING THE BESA TIMES, FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK TO RECEIVE IT NEXT WEEK!