Fruit Flare-Up – China’s turned to a new weapon in its dispute with the Philippines over contested South China Sea islands. State-run People’s Daily gleefully reports that “fruit from the Philippines will receive stricter inspections for harmful organisms at Chinese borders, a potential setback for exporters from the country.” Meanwhile, the Philippine Star says the Philippine government denied it had helped organize the biggest protests yet Friday staged by civic groups over the spat.
The Cost of Trade – Following revelations that global bank J.P. Morgan lost $2 billion at a London trading desk last night, the BBC argues that this will “put a dent in the bank’s profits” but will not come close to “eliminating” the bank, which the piece describes as having “a reputation for being one of the better managed and more cautious” of the global banks. It suggests the “surprise factor” of the incident will reopen debate over whether regulators “need to take more decisive action to curb the complexity of investment banks.”
Landmark Duel - Reuters reports on Egypt’s first presidential debate: “Hopefuls Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh traded barbs about their past in a debate that captured the historic moment facing a nation preparing for its first real election for head of state.” The Jerusalem Post notes that both candidates have vowed to review the Camp David Accords, with Abol Fotouh calling Israel an “enemy” and Amr Moussa calling it an “adversary.”
Shrinking From Growth – As Socialist President-elect François Hollande prepares to take the reins in France, The Economist predicts that he will not follow his desired anti-austerity program as easily as the “public expects,” arguing that the fact he has “not wavered” on plans to reduce the country’s deficit to 3% of GDP means he “will have to implement a form of austerity.”
Franchise Fears – In light of a recent foiled al-Qaeda airplane bomb plot, The Wall Street Journal, analyzes the future threat of the terrorist organization, warning that its most influential and dangerous cell is in Yemen, where it is “far from finished.” It labels the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as the terrorist group’s “most dangerous franchise” and the one “most likely to strike America next.”
High Altitude - The AFP reveals Pakistan will host June talks with India over the disputed Siachen Glacier, with pressure growing to end the standoff after an April avalanche buried 140 people at a Pakistani army camp. “We want to resolve all issues through meaningful and result-oriented dialogue, and Siachen is an issue which is a source of concern for both the countries,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan told the news agency.