Marine Le Pen has extended her lead in a poll of first round French voting intentions, which shows a sharp drop in support for her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron in the last week.
A poll conducted by Elabe for French broadcaster BFMTV today showed at least a 1.5 point swing towards the far-right Front National leader who is vowing to hold a referendum on France’s membership of the eurozone.
The eurosceptic Ms Le Pen has around 27-28 per cent of the popular vote according to the poll which varies on whether or not centrist candidate Francois Bayrou will take part in the election race in less than three months’ time.
Mr Macron, the country’s former economy minister who is running on a pro-business, pro-EU ticket, dropped five points in the first round voting intentions compared to the same poll conducted on February 7. Mr Macron has fallen into third place behind right-wing candidate Francois Fillon.
Despite being engulfed in an embezzlement scandal this month, Mr Fillon gained 3 points to 20 per cent.
US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, along with the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer began to patrol the South China Sea amid possible escalation of a conflict between the US and China over the region’s disputed territories. US officials have called the maneuvers a “routine operation.”
The operation came a few days after the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned Washington against undermining China’s sovereignty in the region.
“We urge the US not to take any actions that challenge China’s sovereignty and security,” Geng Shuang, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said earlier during a press briefing.
In his turn, new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson even before taking office said the United States should send to China a “clear signal” about the inadmissibility of its actions on the disputed islands in the South China Sea. In particular, he called the construction of artificial islands by China as well as Beijing’s claims to almost all of the resource-rich territories in the region as illegal.
Trump’s presidency might be second shortest in US history, says Ronald Feinman of Florida Atlantic University. William Henry Harrison holds the record for the shortest administration at 31 days. Trump looks set to beat that in just a couple of days; however, he has yet to outrule James A. Garfield, who was president for 199 days in 1881, but died “after terrible suffering and medical malpractice” when he was shot by an assassin.
If Trump manages to eclipse Garfield, the next contender to beat is Zachary Taylor, who served 16 months and five days for the third shortest presidential term in US history.
According to Feinman, who insisted that Hillary Clinton would win November’s presidential election with a 49 to 44 percent electoral majority, Trump will be either impeached or forced to resign in a matter of weeks. After that, Vice President Mike Pence will take the reins, according to US law.
So why would that happen, one might ask? According to Feinman’s blog post, the greatest sin of Donald Trump is failing to continue acting as US presidents did before him. Feinman cites the “abrupt ending of a phone call to the Australian Prime Minister, [US’s] loyal ally in four wars in the past;” Trump’s “seeming lack of respect for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel;” and “lack of strong support for NATO” as reasons for a possible premature ending to his administration. Feinman does not trouble himself to speculate as to whether the aforementioned respect and support are justified, though. He also names Trump’s puzzling attitude towards the longstanding One-China Policy as another reason he won’t be around long.
After a series of legal setbacks, Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration is preparing to roll out a revised version of his controversial travel ban next week.
Mr Trump said in a press conference that the new order would be issued “next week sometime,” and would be tailored to address legal concerns raised in court rulings on the ban, including one several weeks ago by a federal judge in Washington who temporarily halted the order’s implementation. The White House’s bid to overturn that ruling was rejected by a federal appeals court last week in a separate ruling.
On Thursday, Mr Trump defended the ban, saying its roll-out was “very smooth” notwithstanding the “bad court” and “bad decision.”
He added, without elaborating on the details, that the new order “is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision.”
Mr Trump’s Justice Department said in a court filing with the appeals court on Thursday that it would move forward with a new order rather than dragging out the legal fight, for now.
Warning India against playing the ‘Taiwan card’, an op-ed article in Global Times said that New Delhi will suffer losses by challenging “one China” policy.
The editorial titled ‘New Delhi will suffer losses if it plays Taiwan card’ reminded India that even the new US President Donald Trump has made a U-turn on challenging the ”one China” policy.
“By challenging China over the Taiwan question, India is playing with fire. At a time when new US President Donald Trump has put the brakes on challenging China over the Taiwan question, agreeing to change course and respecting the “one China” policy, India stands out as a provocateur,” the article said .
“High-level visits between India and Taiwan are not very frequent, so why did India invite the Taiwan delegation to visit at this time?” the article asked referring to Taiwanese MPs delegation.
It is the first such visit since the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen administration took office, it said.
Tsai, who won on elections last year is a strong supporter of Taiwan’s independence from China.
A payout of more than 100 million euros ($106 million) may be beckoning for options investors if the German 10-year yield drops to zero in the aftermath of France’s elections.
German 10-year bunds currently yield about 0.30 percent, so a decline to zero would represent a significant increase in demand for haven assets. That would mirror moves seen after the U.K.’s Brexit vote.
As Le Pen’s odds of victory in the French elections rises, so the spread between ‘risky’ France and ‘safe-haven’ Germany has soared…
Seoul expects further “provocations” from Pyongyang following North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test, the South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
“Given the country’s mentions of a high-angle launch and test of a new type of engine, the country is sending the message that it will not give up its nuclear ambitions, but will continue to engage in provocations down the road,” Jeong Joon-hee said, as cited by the Yonhap news agency.
The spokesman stressed that North Korea’s ballistic missile test posed a “serious military and security threat.”
On Sunday, the medium-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 was launched from an airbase in the western province of North Pyongan and traveled around 300 miles before plunging into the Sea of Japan. The test has been declared successful by Pyongyang.
In January, the North Korean Foreign Ministry announced that the country was ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) “anytime and anywhere.”
On Friday news reports surfaced indicating that Moscow would deport whistleblower Edward Snowden as ‘a gift’ to US President Donald Trump.
NBC news cited a senior US official who said that handing over the former National Security Agency contractor is one of several ways to “curry favor” with the White House.
Ben Winzer, Snowden’s ACLU attorney, told reporters that he and his client are unaware of any such plans, telling NBC, “Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern.”
Snowden himself fired back on the reports on Twitter saying, “Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.”
Trump has called Snowden a “traitor” and a “spy” and would undoubtedly gladly accept the gesture. Snowden leaked documents in 2013 detailing the massive surveillance capabilities of the US government. He fled the country and was granted asylum in Russia.
Rumors spread that President Barack Obama would pardon Snowden before he left office, but that never happened.
I think the relationship will also be very-much a benefit to Japan
It was a long talk
Promises to honor ‘one china’ policy
Abe hinted of a greater US presence around the disputed Senkaku islands. Trump said the US will defend all areas under Japanese ‘administrative control’.
What this looks like is that Trump backed off on supporting Taiwan in exchange for China backing off on the disputed islands and perhaps something regarding North Korea. In the early days of Trump’s win, he promised to review Taiwan’s status but he’s quickly backed down.