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Donald Trump is due to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg this week, a prospect that worries veteran American diplomats and analysts. President Trump is new to diplomacy and known to shun preparation, while Putin, a former Soviet spymaster, is experienced and a focused tactician. The meeting could set the tone for the next four years of U.S.-Russia relations, with several global issues hanging in the balance. — Margaret Talev, Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov
Get ready, Great Britain. Ten years since the Bank of England last raised interest rates, policy makers are warning Britons to prepare for the next one. “Our foot is pretty much on the floor with the accelerator,” said Michael Saunders, a member of the BOE’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee in an interview with the Guardian. “Households should prepare for interest rates to go higher at some point.”
Don’t get your hopes up, Remainers. Theresa May’s shaky mandate after last month’s election disaster may not open the door to a softer Brexit after all. Her Northern Irish supporters, the Democratic Unionist Party, have always been hard-line Brexiteers, despite wanting to maintain a “frictionless border” with the Republic of Ireland. And opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime EU skeptic, won’t likely come to the rescue of pro-Europe Britons, either.
Growing differences. German carmaker Volkwagen and French energy giant Total this week announced major business deals in Iran, the first such agreements since sanctions were eased. As European companies cozy up to Tehran, the contrast with Donald Trump’s foreign policy becomes more stark. The more Europe is tied to Iran, the less willing it may be to undo the 2015 deal that rolled back sanctions.
Unwinding fast. One of the world’s hottest housing markets is suddenly cooling, sparking concerns of a bursting bubble after rapid price increases in recent years. Average home prices in Norway fell a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in June and plunged 3.1 percent in the capital, Oslo. Houses for sale increased by 17 percent from a year earlier.
Taking on Tesla. Volvo is the latest carmaker to join the electric car race, with plans to introduce five models by 2021. Volvo’s CEO didn’t mince words, saying in a statement, “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.” Conventional automakers from BMW to Audi are electrifying their line-ups to meet tightening emissions regulations and better compete with segment pioneer Tesla.
Warm welcome. Trump will precede the G-20 with a visit to Poland, where he can expect a friendlier reception than in Western Europe, where he has fallen out with the leaders of France and Germany. His visit to Warsaw will focus mainly on security, a subject on which he and Eastern European leaders largely agree.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha