Meanwhile, Trump's discount of a new China trade deal, India's plan to invite Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercise, California prison's release of over 8,000 inmates and oil price also make headlines today.
Britons warned of 'thorough' EU border checks after transition period ends
The European Commission has given a stark warning of the barriers that will go up between the EU and the UK when the post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year, whatever the outcome of negotiations.
Britons are told that they will be "subject to thorough checks" at borders when entering EU countries (apart from Ireland) and the Schengen area, as they will be "treated as third-country nationals".
EU pet passports will no longer be valid for people traveling with animals from the UK to the EU, and the UK driving licenses will not be automatically recognized but will be subject to the approval of individual countries.
The EU ban on additional mobile roaming charges will no longer be guaranteed for travelers between the UK and the continent, leaving British and EU operators free to slap on extra fees.
UK nationals will not need visas to stay in EU countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, as long as they don't work and Britain acts likewise for EU visitors. But passengers may no longer be protected by EU consumer rights when traveling between the EU and the UK depending on the mode of transport, the Commission says.
The warnings come in a document published on Thursday, which calls for awareness of "these broad and far-reaching changes, which will arise under any scenario" (in italics in the original text).
The Commission makes it clear that the changes are the consequence of the British government's choices on future relations, and on the decision not to extend the transition period, as reported by Euro News.
Trump discounts chances of new China trade deal
President Donald Trump on Friday downplayed the chances of a new China trade deal as he blasted that country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The President told reporters that the US relationship with China has been “severely damaged”.
Accordingly, Trump also told reporters on Air Force One that he has “other things in mind” than a second trade agreement, known as phase two, with the world’s second-largest economy.
“They could have stopped the plague, they could have stopped it, they didn’t stop it,” he said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which started in China before spreading globally. “They stopped it from going into the remaining portions of China from Wuhan province. They could have stopped the plague, they didn’t.”
Trump signed a phase one trade deal with China in January that focused on increasing U.S. exports of agricultural, energy and other products. The president had hoped the deal would boost his reelection bid, but China has said recently it will struggle to complete its purchase requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic.
|President Donald Trump downplayed the chances of a new China trade deal as he blasted that country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic (Photo: Politico)|
In June, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee that he was “very happy” with China’s implementation of the phase one deal, but logistical problems created by the coronavirus had delayed phase two negotiations.
The president has also stepped up his criticism of China’s handling of the pandemic as Covid-19 cases surge in the U.S. and he trails former Vice President Joe Biden in most swing states. In recent weeks, Trump has invoked the racial epithet “kung flu” to describe the coronavirus. Cabinet officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called it the “Wuhan virus,” a reference to the province where the pandemic is thought to have originated.
The rising tensions between the United States and China will continue to focus attention on whether either side will pull out of the deal, potentially setting the stage for Trump to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, Politico reported.
India set to invite Australia to Malabar naval exercise
India plans to invite Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercise that has so far included just Japan and the U.S., as it seeks to strengthen its relationship with other Asia-Pacific countries. The move that could risk China’s ire.
The decision to include Australia in the drills -- the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will be engaged at a military level -- comes as Beijing and New Delhi are caught up in their worst border tensions in four decades.
India has yet to issue a formal invitation, but officials said it was in the pipeline after both sides agreed to improve defense cooperation at a virtual summit on June 4. Japan and the United States have already been invited to join the exercise, SCMP said.
As reported by Hindustan Times, the exercise will bring together the navies of India, Japan, Australia and the U.S. in the Bay of Bengal at the end of the year, according to senior Indian officials who asked not to be identified, citing rules.
|India plans to invite Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercise (Photo: Hindustan Times)|
“Such a move involves not just geopolitical considerations but also logistical ones since it would mean at least four navies participating. The question is how do we still ensure the exercise remains meaningful for all the four?” said an Indian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Diplomatic sources said the move would be a logical next step after the virtual summit between the two countries, where they signed a mutual logistics support agreement, a document that will allow the two militaries to access each other’s bases and help the militaries share resources.
Relations between India and China have hit their lowest point in decades following a stand-off along their disputed Himalayan border and a clash on June 15 in the Galway Valley that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and resulted in an undisclosed number of Chinese casualties.
California to release 8,000 prisoners to slow pandemic
Several California prisons have suffered large coronavirus outbreaks and the state corrections department said inmates could be eligible for release by the end of August.
The release marks the biggest move yet by California to “decompress” prison populations and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by creating more space for social distancing and quarantines, Reuters commented.
Prisoners with a year or less left to serve will be eligible for release. Among prisoners excluded from early release are those convicted of violent felonies and sex crimes, the department said.
The move follows a reduction in inmate populations statewide by around 10,000 since the pandemic began.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday nearly 2,400 people in California’s 35 prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 1,314 at San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco.
|The release marks the biggest move yet by California to “decompress” prison populations (Photo: CBS News)|
Marathon Petroleum Restarts Texas Refinery
Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE: MPC) began restarting its 585,000 bpd refining complex in Galveston Bay that has been shuttered for more than a month now, according to Reuters sources.
The complex—America’s second-largest refinery after Motiva--was shut on May 23rd as part of a massive overhaul.
Marathon did not confirm the plans to restart, but the sources indicate that its 225,000 bpd Pipestill 3B crude distillation unit will be back in production sometime early next week. Pipestill 3B is one of two units tasked with breaking down crude oil into feedstocks for the remaining production units, which are also shuttered.
Some of those units, according to the sources, are expected to be back up by the end of this month.
The refinery overhaul was supposed to take place in March, but Marathon pushed back the work in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by the large number of contract workers that the work would require.
|Marathon Petroleum Corp began restarting its 585,000 bpd refining complex in Galveston Bay (Photo: Oil and Gas Journal)|
The refinery is capable of producing gasoline, distillates, aromatics, heavy fuel oil, dry gas, fuel-grade coke, propylene, and sulfur, according to Marathon’s website.
Marathon’s Galveston Bay refinery has been rocked with cases of the coronavirus, infecting as many as 100 workers so far, Reuters sources said yesterday, most of which were the contract workers tasked with this overhaul.
Marathon Petroleum Corp’s stock was trading up nearly 9% on Friday, Oil Price reported.
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