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Trump Faces Criminal Charges, Finland Joins NATO

Shemesh Shahar
Latest News
March 31 2023 08:09AM

Trump Faces Criminal Charges

Donald Trump faces criminal charges for his alleged role in covering up hush-money payments made to an adult film actress. A grand jury in New York voted to indict him, and he is expected to turn himself in on Tuesday. Mr Trump denies any wrongdoing, and this is just one of several legal challenges he faces.

Finland Joins NATO

Finland has decided to join NATO after Turkey’s parliament ratified its bid to join the alliance. This move marks the end of Finland’s longstanding military neutrality policy. Hungary has already given its approval, but Sweden’s bid is still opposed by Turkey and Hungary. The Nordic countries had sought to join NATO together after Russia invaded Ukraine, given Finland’s long border with Russia.

Biden Condemns Russia

The Biden administration has strongly condemned Russia’s arrest of a Wall Street Journal reporter on spying charges. Evan Gershkovich is the first journalist working for an American paper to be detained by Russia for espionage since the Cold War. Russia’s domestic security service claims that he was gathering confidential information about Russia’s military factories.

Japan Restricts Semiconductor Exports

Japan will restrict its exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, tightening its technology trade controls, as part of global efforts to curb China’s production of chips. Nikon and Tokyo Electron, among other Japanese companies that play an important role in the semiconductor supply chain, will require government permission to export their products to any country. Japan’s government did not specify China as the target of its measures.

Emerging Markets Debt Struggle

Over 25% of emerging market countries have been excluded from international bond markets due to recent chaos in the banking sector that has led investors to avoid high-risk assets. This approach towards high-yield debt has worsened the credit status of these countries, making it even more difficult for them to raise funds. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) research shows that about 27% of emerging market sovereigns have yields compared to equivalent US Treasuries of above 9 percentage points, the level at which market access becomes restricted.

US-China Tension Hinders Global Innovation

The World Bank has warned that the US-China trade dispute, which is causing technology decoupling and trade restrictions, is hindering knowledge generation and innovation in both countries. This poses a long-term threat to growth across Asia. The bank’s semi-annual economic update for the region stated that the deepening division between the world’s two largest economies now poses “the most immediate challenge” in Asia-Pacific. The “adverse effects of recent restrictions” on companies in China and the US as well as their top trading partners have been documented.


The UK has reached an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade bloc consisting of 11 members in the Asia-Pacific region. The UK will be the first country to join the CPTPP since its establishment in 2018. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that the trade deal will bring economic benefits to the UK and boost his “Asia-Pacific” tilt in Britain’s foreign policy.

UK Low-Paid Rise

The Low Pay Commission announced that low-paid workers in the UK will receive a pay rise that matches inflation. This move increases the national living wage to £10.42 per hour from April. According to the LPC, the 92p rise represents a 9.7% increase on 2022, meaning that 2 million workers will be paid at or close to the statutory earnings floor.

Austria Investigates Kurz

Austrian prosecutors are investigating whether former chancellor Sebastian Kurz bribed the owners of the country’s largest newspaper for favorable political coverage. Premises across Vienna, including those of the publisher of the mass-market tabloid Kronen Zeitung and the free sheet Heute, were raided on Thursday. The prosecutor for economic crimes and corruption said that the investigation into “grand corruption” in Austria had expanded to include potential charges of embezzlement and bribery in the media industry.

UK Invests in Crime

The U.K. government plans to invest £400 million, equivalent to $495 million, in several government agencies over three years as part of a new plan to crack down on economic crime. It will hire 475 financial crime investigators and change laws around corporate crime. The government and private sector will each provide £200 million. The government will invest £100 million in data analytics and other technology to aid law enforcement. The investigators will work to disrupt money laundering, the criminal use of cryptocurrencies, and increase asset recovery. The government will create a group aimed at identifying and seizing illicit cryptocurrencies.

IMF Suggests BoJ to Raise Interest Rate

The International Monetary Fund has suggested that the Bank of Japan should outline conditions for raising its negative interest rate and avoid a premature exit from monetary easing to improve communication. According to the IMF’s latest Article IV consultation report on Japan, abrupt policy framework changes would impose risks on the economy. The central bank is set for its first governorship change in a decade.