Monday Morning Briefing: U.S. prods Iran for talks to ease Gulf tensions






Top News

President Trump said on Sunday he was not seeking war with Tehran after a senior Iranian military commander warned any conflict in the Gulf region could spread uncontrollably and threaten the lives of U.S. troops. Tensions remain high between longtime foes Iran and the United States after Trump said on Friday that he called off a military strike to retaliate for Iran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. drone out of concern it would have been a disproportionate response.

Iran said U.S. cyber attacks on its military had been a failure, while also hinting that it could be willing to discuss new concessions with Washington if the United States were to lift sanctions and offer new incentives. “They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack,” Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister for information and communications technology, said on Twitter.

Talk of Middle East peace is in the air again, as politicians are set to gather in Bahrain to launch the latest in a long line of initiatives to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thousands of words and millions of dollars will likely be expended at the U.S.-led conference on June 25-26 aimed at boosting the Palestinian economy, as the first phase of President Donald Trump's long-delayed peace plan gets under way. Bearing witness to the difficulty of the task are the scars left by wars past across the landscape of Israel, the Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights.

More than 100 people blocked a Hong Kong government building in protest against proposed legislation allowing extraditions to mainland China that they want scrapped. The activists, mostly students, are demanding the bill be withdrawn, the government drop all charges against those arrested in recent protests and stop referring to the demonstrations as a riot, which could potentially lead to heavier jail terms.

Australia’s state broadcaster and the media company News Corp said they will challenge the legality of recent police raids on their staff saying the action was unconstitutional and a threat to media freedom. The police and the news organizations said at the time the raids were in connection with reports alleging troop misconduct in Afghanistan and unrealized plans to let Australia’s intelligence forces snoop on Australians’ emails, text messages and bank accounts.

Turkey

Turkey’s opposition has dealt President Tayyip Erdogan a stinging blow by winning control of Istanbul in a re-run mayoral election, breaking his aura of invincibility and delivering a message from voters unhappy over his policies. Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party secured 54.21% of votes, according to state-owned Anadolu news agency - a far wider victory margin than his narrow win three months ago.

The Turkish lira, bonds and shares gained after opposition wins Istanbul election. One banker said the outcome had removed a source of political uncertainty and markets were hoping the government would now shift its attention to the economic reforms that Turkey needs.





Business

FedEx has apologized for returning a package which the sender said contained a Huawei smartphone, blaming an “operational error” as it works to comply with U.S. restrictions on business with China’s Huawei. The error came less than a month after FedEx apologized for misdirecting packages sent between offices of Huawei.
Oil prices rose, extending vast gains last week prompted by tensions between Iran and the United States, as Washington was set to announce new sanctions on Tehran. Meanwhile, global supply may remain tight as OPEC and its allies including Russia appear likely to extend their oil cut pact at their meeting July 1-2 in Vienna, according to analysts.
From companies building palm-sized satellites to those aiming to propel satellites into space using cleaner fuels, a new wave of space technology startups are mushrooming in India, catching the attention of investors keen to join the space race. Bengaluru-based Bellatrix Aerospace, which wants to propel satellites into orbit using electric and non-toxic chemical thrusters, has raised $3 million from a group of investors, co-founder Yashas Karanam told Reuters.
Bitcoin tested 15-month highs after jumping more than 10% over the weekend, with analysts ascribing the spike to growing optimism over the adoption of cryptocurrencies after Facebook unveiled its Libra digital coin.


Politics

Democrat O'Rourke proposes 'war tax' on affluent U.S. families without military members

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke proposed taxing affluent American families who do not have members in the U.S. military as a way to fund healthcare for veterans.
3 min read

U.S. lawmakers threaten to subpoena Trump aide Conway

A U.S. House of Representatives panel warned in a letter it could subpoena the testimony of Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, if she does not appear at a scheduled hearing this week.
3 Min Read

Democratic Mayor Buttigieg faces growing fallout over police shooting in his city

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg faced growing fallout over a fatal police shooting in South Bend, an incident that has exposed simmering racial tensions in the Indiana city where he is mayor and which is complicating his presidential ambitions.
4 min read

As legal glare turns to Trump, his faith in Supreme Court may be tested

Trump’s fondness for the Supreme Court could be tested by a series of legal disputes targeting him personally – from his taxes and businesses to his 2016 election campaign – that ultimately may be decided by the justices. Here are the U.S. Supreme Court’s most consequential cases in its current term, which runs from Oct. 2018 to June 2019.
10 min read



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