Sep 25, 2018

EU, Russia and China reach payments deal to counter Trump's Iran move

Federica Mogherini (L), European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

The U.K., Germany, France, Russia and China have agreed to establish a special payments system to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran stemming from President Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Financial Times reports.

The big picture: The payments channel would be an alternative to SWIFT, the backbone of the global financial system that allows Iran to get paid for oil, pay for its imports and finance its activities abroad. The five countries involved in the agreement remain committed to doing business with Iran, which the International Atomic Energy Agency says is still complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. President Trump, meanwhile, has threatened that anyone doing business with Iran will not be able to do business with the U.S.

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In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday he hopes to reach a trade deal with his ""true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country "except he's a very tough negotiator."

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Modi demonstrated the importance of the visit with a "Namaste Trump" rally at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

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Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Go deeperArrow59 mins ago - Health

Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.