The US Congress decided in 1995 that the US embassy should move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Some 22 years later, President Donald Trump is making history by enforcing that decision and recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
He does so in spite of overwhelming global opposition from both allies and enemies, and this could see the Middle East – a notoriously volatile and turbulent region – engulfed in even more conflict. The US will be the first country to have an embassy in Jerusalem, while 86 other states have them in Tel Aviv.
This could have major implications for relations with both Middle Eastern countries and western allies such as France and Germany, and is another example of Trump’s willingness to act unilaterally against the advice of his own officials and experts.
Critics say that, rather than bringing peace, the decision will exacerbate the long-lasting conflict in the area.
South Korea Bitcoin Regulation on The Horizon
South Korea’s government held an emergency meeting to discuss the impact of cryptocurrency speculation last Wednesday. Banning minors from investing and introducing capital gains tax on cryptocurrency were suggested as means of protecting citizens, reports say.
The meeting was a response to talk of cryptocurrencies being in an asset bubble and the impact investing is having on younger generations. New measures to tackle this problem could be announced by the end of the week, according to Reuters.
Why It’s Important
South Korean exchange Bithumb – the worlds busiest – has hit it off with students. The ease of opening an account and the option to invest small amounts has caught the attention of many young people.
This group’s obsession with the digital assets prompted the emergency meeting. President Moon recently expressed his fear of students joining the trend and becoming obsessed with the rapid price changes of cryptocurrency prices. He labelled this a “serious pathological phenomenon.”
“Some even abandoned their studies and part-time jobs as they believed they could make much more money by investing in bitcoin,” said Reuter Correspondent Dahee Kim. The trend appears to be causing social problems in the country.
The country banned initial coin offerings back in September.
UK Defence Row Escalates
New defence secretary Gavin Williamson has vowed to protect the UK’s defence budget.
Williamson, at just 41, is the youngest member of Theresa May’s cabinet and his colleagues are rumoured to be treating him as such. Those who have worked with Williamson in the past, however, contend that he is not someone to be underestimated and point to his meteoric rise through the Conservative party as evidence of this. The Ministry of Defence is presently united around Williamson’s determination to maintain current spending levels, which has put the department at loggerheads with the Treasury. The department has a £20bn funding deficit over the next ten years, which chancellor Philip Hammond insists must come out of cost savings.
Europe Warns Trump on Tax
Finance ministers from Europe’s largest economies have said that Trump’s tax plans breach global agreements.
Europe’s leading finance ministers, including UK chancellor Philip Hammond, penned a letter to the White House in which they raised the possibility of retaliation if the Republicans push on with their tax reforms. Europe is worried that Trump’s “America First” doctrine will undermine global trade patterns and escalate ongoing tensions between the US and its key allies. With the UK looking to its closest ally for support post-Brexit, it is unlikely that Hammond’s latest move will sweeten any future US-UK trade deal. Meanwhile, Trump is unlikely to care about shaking up current trading arrangements, given that he ran for office on the platform of making the US more competitive.
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