Connect with us

Business

Macron, Le Pen Clash on Russia, EU in Angry TV Debate

Clayton Lee

Published

on

3/3
(C) Reuters. A woman walks past official campaign posters of French presidential election candidates Marine le Pen, leader of French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party, and French President Emmanuel Macron, candidate for his re-election, displayed
2/3

By Ingrid Melander, Elizabeth Pineau and Tassilo Hummel

PARIS (Reuters) -French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday accused his far-right rival Marine Le Pen of being in thrall to Russian President Vladimir Putin over a years-old Russian bank loan to her party during a fiery TV debate ahead of Sunday’s election.

While he also charged Le Pen with harbouring an undiminished desire to pull France out of the European Union (EU), she struck back with a pledge to put money back in the pockets of millions of French made poorer during his five-year presidency.

The debate – their only one of the campaign – was peppered with appeals of “don’t interrupt me” and accusations the other was not up to the job of leading France, a veto-wielding U.N. Security Council member and Europe’s second-largest economy.

“Stop mixing everything up,” a combative Macron told Le Pen during one heated exchange about France’s debt, which like others has swollen due to pandemic support measures.

“Don’t lecture me,” responded Le Pen, who avoided the pitfalls of a previous encounter in 2017, when her presidential bid unravelled as she mixed up her notes and lost her footing.

For Le Pen, who lags Macron in voter surveys by as much as 56-44, the debate was a chance to persuade voters she has the stature to be president and that they should not fear seeing the far-right in power.

A snap poll conducted for the BFM TV channel showed that 59% of respondents found Macron the more convincing of the two, however it was not clear how that would translate into voting intentions on Sunday.

Macron’s strongest lines of attack were on a loan to her party for its 2017 campaign contracted through a Russian bank.

“You depend on the Russian power, you depend on Mr. Putin,” Macron told his opponent.

“A lot of your choices can be explained by this dependence,” he said in an attack on Le Pen’s policy positions which he said still included a “project which dare not speak its name” to withdraw France from the 27-member EU.

Le Pen, who has toned down her once staunchly anti-EU rhetoric as part of a bid to broaden her electoral appeal, dismissed both the charge of wanting to leave the EU and of being compromised politically by the Russian bank loan.

“I am a completely free and independent woman,” she said.

ROOM TEMPERATURE PACT

With unemployment at a 13-year low, Macron said he was proud of job creation during his term and added: “the best way to gain purchasing power is to fight unemployment.”

The two candidates kept accusing each other of failing to respond to voters’ real concerns, with Le Pen saying that “in real life” her proposals would improve voters’ situations much more than her opponent.

“I will make it my absolute priority over the next five years to give the French their money back,” Le Pen said, adding that the French had “suffered” throughout Macron’s mandate.

The election presents voters with two opposing visions of France: Macron offers a pro-European, liberal platform, while Le Pen’s nationalist manifesto is founded on deep Euroscepticism.

Much haggling went on behind the scenes ahead of the debate, from the temperature of the room to flipping a coin to decide which theme they would start with – the cost of living – to who would speak first – Le Pen.

With both candidates dismissing the other’s plans as unrealistic but not scoring any obvious knock-out blows, it may not be clear what impact the debate has on the electorate.

Only 14% of voters were waiting for the debate to decide who to vote for, while 12% said it would be decisive for whether they will vote at all, a poll by OpinionWay-Kea Partners for Les Echos newspaper showed.

That said, after more than half of the electorate voted for far-right or hard-left candidates in the first round on April 10, Macron’s lead in opinion polls is much narrower than five years ago, when he beat Le Pen with 66.1% of the vote.

Since then, Le Pen has at least partly succeeded in attracting mainstream voters while Macron is no longer the same disruptor from outside politics that he was in the 2017 debate, which at the time cemented his status as the clear front-runner.

Macron, Le Pen clash on Russia, EU in angry TV debate

Read More

Article: investing.com

Business

U.S. Senate Committee Backs Biden Nominee to Be Ukraine Ambassador

Clayton Lee

Published

on

By

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bridget Brink, nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testifies at her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next ambassador to Ukraine, veteran diplomat Bridget Brink, and planned to push for her quick confirmation by the full Senate.

Brink is expected to easily win confirmation to a crucial position that has been vacant for three years.

The committee held Brink’s confirmation hearing on May 10, just two weeks after Biden sent her name to the Senate. The quick action underscored the desire from both Biden’s Democrats and Republicans to send an ambassador to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as he faces Russia’s invasion.

The Senate is expected later this week to approve nearly $40 billion in military and humanitarian support for Kyiv.

A Michigan native who speaks Russian, Brink is currently U.S. ambassador to Slovakia. She has been a career diplomat for 25 years and has worked in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as in several senior positions across the State Department and White House National Security Council.

Brink was confirmed by unanimous voice vote in 2019, when former Republican President Donald Trump nominated her for the position in Bratislava.

U.S. Senate committee backs Biden nominee to be Ukraine ambassador

Read More

Article: investing.com

Continue Reading

Business

Japan’s Trade Gap Widens As Import Costs Surge on Supply Pressures

Clayton Lee

Published

on

By

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A cargo ship and containers are seen at an industrial port in Tokyo, Japan, February 15, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s exports logged a third straight month of double-digit gains in April led by U.S. demand, but surging global commodity costs inflated the country’s import bill to a record, adding to worries about the rising cost of living.

Shoring up the prospects of a private demand-led recovery, however, was a gauge of capital expenditure that posted its first monthly gain in three months.

The mixed data on Thursday followed the yen’s falls to two-decade lows beyond 131 to the dollar earlier in May, which stoked fears of worsening terms of trade and added financial burdens for the resource-poor Japanese economy as import costs soar.

A weak yen, once considered a boon to the export-led economy, is now having less of an impact as shipments grow smaller, given the ongoing shift by Japanese manufacturers to offshore production.

Japan’s exports rose 12.5% in April from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed, led by U.S.-bound shipments of cars and undershooting a 13.8% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll. It followed a 14.7% rise in March.

Imports rose 28.2% in the year to April, versus the median estimate for a 35.0% increase, as a weaker yen helped boost already surging global commodity prices.

That resulted in a trade deficit of 839.2 billion yen ($6.54 billion), narrower than the median estimate for a 1.150 trillion yen shortfall but posting a ninth straight month in the red.

Analysts have warned of the risks of prolonged cost-push inflation to the fragile economy with external factors, not domestic demand, pushing import bills higher.

Separate data showed on Thursday Japan’s core machinery orders rose 7.1% in March from the previous month, versus a 3.7% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

The volatile data series, regarded as a leading gauge of capital expenditure in the coming six to nine months, provided a glimmer of hope for a domestic demand-led recovery.

Japan’s economy shrank for the first time in two quarters in the January-March period as COVID-19 curbs hit the service sector and surging commodity prices created new pressures.

($1 = 128.3600 yen)

Japan’s trade gap widens as import costs surge on supply pressures

Read More

Article: investing.com

Continue Reading

Business

Barclays Appoints Hossein Zaimi As Asia Pacific Markets Head

Clayton Lee

Published

on

By

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A branch of Barclays Bank is seen, in London, Britain, February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Barclays (LON:BARC) said on Thursday Hossein Zaimi had been appointed as its head of markets for Asia Pacific and would join the bank after a long career at rival HSBC

Zaimi will remain based in Hong Kong and report to Adeel Khan and Stephen Dainton, co-heads of Barclays global markets business and Jaideep Khanna, the bank’s head of Asia Pacific, a statement said.

Zaimi spent more than 17 years at HSBC and was most recently the global head of equities and global co-head of securities financing.

Barclays appoints Hossein Zaimi as Asia Pacific markets head

Read More

Article: investing.com

Continue Reading

Trending

NewsW3.com