In Brief – N.32 – March 27, 2016

President Vladimir Putin gave an order to begin withdrawing the main part of Russian troops from Syria on March 15, 2016. “We were able to significantly hinder and in some places completely stop resource support for terrorists by intercepting hydrocarbon trade,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

As financial conditions are highly accommodative, Japan’s economy has continued its moderate recovery trend, said the BOJ. The pick-up in exports has recently paused, industrial production has continued to be more or less flat and inflation expectations have recently weakened.

It’s not in America’s interest to see Venezuela fail, because if Venezuela fails then that could have an impact on the economies of Colombia or Central America or Mexico, and that in turn can affect US economy,” President Barack Obama said in an interview.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won pivotal primaries on March 15, 2016, while Gov. John Kasich’s long-awaited debut victory in his home state of Ohio raised the chances of a historic GOP convention fight.

February 2016 US retail sales slumped for 2nd straight month as consumer spending was anything but robust, according to a new government report.

China’s parliament has ended its annual session by approving a new 5-year economic plan, as Premier Li Keqiang said the country will push ahead with economic reforms. The aim of the plan is to achieve 6.7-7% growth a year by 2020 in the world’s 2nd-largest economy.

Brazil’s political crisis deepened as a judge blocked the appointment of former President Lula da Silva as chief of staff to his successor just moments after his tumultuous swearing-in ceremony held amid heated protests.

Oil producers including Gulf members of the OPEC would support holding talks in April 2016 on a deal to freeze output even if Iran declines to participate, increasing the likelihood of the first global supply deal in 15 years.

Israel’s Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is said to be helping the FBI’s attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters. If successful, the FBI wouldn’t need Apple’s support any longer.

The visit to Argentina, coming on the heels of President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba, aimed at highlighting the more US-friendly Macri government and potential to play a greater role in hemispheric affairs.

The FCC is currently consulting on proposals to changes to the rules on how ISPs can gather and utilize customer data. “Every broadband consumer should have the right to know what information is being collected and how it is used,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

“If tomorrow I am the President of the French republic, I’ll review diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a number of Gulf States according to the capacity they’ll have to question their ties with Islamic movements,” said Bruno Le Maire.

On March 7, 2016, the public prosecutor’s office in Paris opened a judicial inquiry into investment fund LSK whose chairman till October 2014 has been former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Backed by Russian air forces, the Syrian military would be moments away from reconquering the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS. This development confirmed Cyceon’s article saying that the Russian withdrawal also resulted from Syrian troops’ renewed capacity to take over.