Russian president Vladimir Putin’s constitutional amendment plans are seen as a power shakeup that will assure his seat at the table beyond his current term, which ends in 2024. Photo: SNK777 / Shutterstock
Mixed views on trade deal, ESM reform, German growth, Brexit party, Japanese paternity leave and a quick guide to what’s on this weekend. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Putin’s plans to keep control
Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced plans for constitutional amendments that would limit the terms of his successors and grant more power to parliament and the prime minister CNN, CNBC, and the BBC report. The entire Russian government, including prime minister Dmitri Medvedev, resigned upon the news. The Guardian reckons that as Putin’s term as president draws to a close in 2024, “pride and an interest in self-preservation dictate that he keep his hands on the levers of power.” The New York Times has six takeaways from what it calls the “power shakeup”. The Daily Beast cites one former Russian parliamentarian saying that the changes signal “a course toward unchangeable power”.
Impeachment moves to trial mode
The lengthy impeachment process against US president Donald Trump has moved to its next phase after the House of Representatives delivered articles to the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, NPR, Reuters and CNBC report. It signals a trial in the Senate that could begin next week. The Washington Post reckons White House lawyers are trying to “engineer the fastest impeachment trial in American history”. Politico reports on Senate plans to restrict media access during the trial, a move that even some Republicans are saying is a mistake. Senators, too, will face restrictions including a ban on using smartphones, that “effectively turn them into high school students” Business Insider reveals. And House speaker Nancy Pelosi sparked fury among Republicans with a stunt that saw her sign the articles of impeachment using dozens of personalised pens that she later handed out as souvenirs, The Guardian reports.
Trade deal phase one signed
US president Donald Trump and Chinese vice premier Liu He on Wednesday signed a phase one trade deal that will result in China purchasing an additional $200 billion in US goods over the next two years. CNBC has details of those purchases. Tyler Cowen on Bloomberg reckons the deal is a win for Trump as it leaves the US economy intact and enhances the president’s credibility. The BBC also has a victory for Trump among its list of winners and losers from the deal. But Reuters reports on analysts who say the deal doesn’t address structural economic issues and “sets hard-to-achieve purchase targets”.
ESM reform plans delayed
Reforms that would have allowed the European Stability Mechanism to play a role in future rescues of failing banks have been pushed back to March, Reuters reports. Italy had vetoed the original reforms last December.
German growth slows
Germany’s economy grew by just 0.6% in 2019, representing a significant slowdown compared to 1.5% and 2.2% growth in 2018 and 2017 respectively, CNBC reports.
Syrian air strikes
The Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib was targeted by air strikes that left at least 18 dead despite a ceasefire being in place, the BBC reports.
Brexit party go-ahead
Leave Means Leave has won approval to hold a party in Parliament Square in London on 31 January, the night that the UK formally leaves the European Union, the BBC reports.
Shinjiro Koizumi, Japan's environment minister, has broken new ground by announcing that he will take two weeks of paternity leave in the three months after his child is born, the BBC reports. Only 6% of fathers took any form of paternity leave in 2018 in Japan.
Today's breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts