December 1, 2016 / 12:46 PM / a year ago

Thursday Morning Briefing: Russia in the spotlight

Ukraine's two-day missile drill would avoid the airspace over Crimea, its military said, sidestepping a possible confrontation with Russia which annexed the peninsula in 2014. News of the tests angered the Kremlin, prompting it to put its air defense forces on high alert and maneuver warships in the Black Sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev walk after the president delivered his annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 1, 2016. Sputnik/Pool/Dmitry Astakhov

Digits of the day: 300,000

Russia said, somewhat cryptically, that it would participate in OPEC's deal to cut production to mitigate a global supply glut. The world's third-largest oil producer said it would cut production by 300,000 barrels a day, but it didn't say from what level it would cut. OPEC is slated to hold talks with non-OPEC producers on Dec. 9. Until then, it's worth remembering that Russia's economy is under pressure from international sanctions (cf. Ukraine). And Russia doesn't exactly have a great track record in oil supply deals.

The deal has sent the oil market up nearly 11 percent. But traders aren't convinced the rally will last, noting the agreement may only draw more supplies from storage tanks and more crude shipments from the United States. And even without increased supplies from elsewhere, if the 1.5-million-barrel deal is implemented, the cuts would not be deep enough to shrink a glut that began to build in mid-2014.

Around the world

President Vladimir Putin struck an unusually conciliatory tone in his annual state of the nation address, saying Moscow wanted to get on with the incoming Trump administration. Putin has used previous set-piece speeches to lash out at the West and the United States in particular, but he reined in his criticism this time round and focused most of his speech on domestic social and economic issues.

 Quote of the day:

"We are ready to cooperate with the new U.S. administration. We have a shared responsibility to ensure international security." – Russian President Vladimir Putin The plane that crashed in Colombia, virtually wiping out an entire Brazilian soccer team, was running out of fuel, had no electrical power, and was preparing for an emergency landing, according to the pilot's final words.\ Rebels in Aleppo plan to form a new military alliance to better organize the defense of parts of the city they control from a ferocious assault by the government and its allies. N.B.: Number of people displaced in Aleppo so far: 400,000.

Around the country

One of Donald Trump's greatest strengths in building a worldwide luxury brand has been an obsessive attention to detail, down to the curtains hanging in hotel rooms and the marble lining the lobby floor. But that may not work so well in the Oval Office. More than 2,000 U.S. military veterans plan to form a human shield to protect protesters of a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota, organizers said. The announcement comes just ahead of a federal deadline for activists to leave the camp they assembled on federal land. North Dakota law enforcement backed away from a previous plan to cut off supplies to the camp as treatment of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters has come increasingly under the microscope. The death toll from wildfires blazing in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee rose to seven even as drenching rains helped firefighters suppress flames that have left whole neighborhoods in ruins.

Fire in the rainforest

Trucks loaded with tree trunks are burned by agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources in northern Brazil, Nov. 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Trucks loaded with tree trunks are burned by agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources in northern Brazil, Nov. 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Around Wall Street

Carrier, the heating and air-conditioning company that drew the ire of Donald Trump during the election, got financial incentives from Indiana and a pledge from the president-elect to improve the climate for business in the United States in exchange for keeping more than 1,000 jobs in the state rather than moving them overseas. It didn't give a value for the financial incentives, but a source briefed on the matter said it was a fraction of the $65 million that Carrier planned to save by moving production to Mexico. Censorship on China's top social messaging app WeChat goes beyond the country's borders, according to a report by Citizen Lab. Messages from overseas accounts containing terms deemed sensitive by the Chinese government, such as references to the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, do not appear if sent to or from an account linked to a Chinese phone number. Speculators convinced the euro zone faces fresh instability have zeroed in on Sunday's constitutional reform referendum in Italy, amassing huge bets on a slump in Italian banks and bonds should Prime Minister Matteo Renzi lose the vote. Call it the Brexit effect.

Today's reason to live

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below