LE FIGARO (FRANCE): À Bruxelles, le vrai-faux débat des candidats à la présidence de la Commission européenne. Les cinq personnalités désignées par chaque famille politique au Parlement européen pour briguer la tête de la prochaine Commission ont débattu le 23 mai à Bruxelles. Les cinq «Spitzenkandidats» n’ont pas accouché de grandes nouveautés, mais le sujet de l'extrême droite a émaillé presque chaque thématique abordée. Sur un plateau créé pour l'occasion au sein de l'hémicycle à Bruxelles, et face à un parterre de spectateurs comprenant assistants parlementaires, journalistes et membres de la société civile, les cinq «Spitzen» ont déroulé un échange policé sur de grands thèmes tels que l’immigration, l'innovation ou la défense, loin des débats houleux observés lors d'élections nationales en France ou ailleurs. À l'exception de quelques piques, chaque candidat s'est cantonné à jouer son rôle d'ambassadeur pour sa famille politique, à moins de deux semaines des élections.

POLITICO (USA): French President Emmanuel Macron wants a top job in Brussels for Italy's former Prime Minister Mario Draghi — it's just a matter of figuring out the right role. One of the biggest strategic questions around the EU election on June 6-9 is whether France will back a second term for Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission while relations between Paris and Berlin are frosty.

LE MONDE (FRANCE): La Chine poursuit ses manœuvres militaires autour de Taïwan, envoyant navires de guerre et avions de chasse autour de l’île. Pour le deuxième jour d’affilée, Pékin a mené des exercices militaires près de l’île, pour, selon un responsable militaire chinois, vérifier la « capacité de prendre le pouvoir et de frappes conjointes, ainsi que de contrôle de territoires clés ». Conformément à ses plans, Pékin poursuit ses exercices militaires autour de Taïwan. Des navires de guerre et avions de chasse chinois encerclent, vendredi 24 mai, pour le deuxième jour d’affilée, l’île autonome.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST (HONG KONG, CHINA): Harder to respond: why Beijing may prefer a blockade to armed conflict on Taiwan. PLA says military exercise is focused on naval and air combat readiness, seizing battlefield control, strike precision and patrols. Drill was planned before William Lai’s inauguration and calibrated to ‘signal displeasure, but hopefully not escalate’, says analyst. Beijing’s most recent drill near Taiwan just days after Taipei’s inauguration ceremony suggests it has a blockade strategy against the self-ruled island, say analysts who contend it would be preferable to direct armed conflict.

THE GUARDIAN (GB): China has begun a second day of military drills targeting Taiwan, this time testing its military’s ability to “seize power”, in what it says is punishment for “separatist acts” after the inauguration of the island’s new president on Monday. The exercises, which involve Chinese military units from the air force, rocket force, navy, army, and coast guard, were announced suddenly on Thursday morning, with maps showing five approximate target areas in the sea surrounding Taiwan’s main island. Other areas also targeted Taiwan’s offshore islands, which are close to the Chinese mainland. China’s defence ministry said the drills on Friday were testing its military’s capability to “seize power” and occupy key areas, in line with Beijing’s ultimate goal of annexing Taiwan. Taiwan’s government and people reject the prospect of Chinese rule, but China’s ruler Xi Jinping has not ruled out the use of force to take the island. Western intelligence has claimed Xi has told the People’s Liberation Army to be capable of an invasion by 2027.

THE MAINICHI SHIMBUN (JAPAN): South Korea said Thursday that a trilateral summit involving Japan and China is scheduled to be held in Seoul on Monday, the first of its kind in more than four years amid an increasingly unstable regional security environment. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang are expected to discuss a wide range of topics, including people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation. At the meeting, set to take place for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the three leaders are likely to exchange views on how to address issues related to North Korea, as Pyongyang has continued to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.

IZVESTIA (RUSSIA): Израиль и Саудовская Аравия не отказываются от возможной нормализации отношений, несмотря на происходящее в секторе Газа. Однако для заключения договора с Эр-Риядом Тель-Авиву придется пойти на серьезные уступки. Одна из них — согласие на создание независимого Палестинского государства, вопрос, над которым страны бьются не одно десятилетие. Впрочем, накануне несколько государств ЕС заявили о признании Палестины.

THE TIMES OF INDIA: Days after the Arab League called for the deployment of UN peacemakers in Gaza and West Bank, the department chief responded saying that the world can’t expect the United Nations to stop wars citing its limitations. Calling the mission in Israeli occupied Palestinian territories “very, very, very hypothetical” under secretary-general for peace operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix told that “peacekeeping has its limits,” and “imposing peace” is not part of the UN’s mandate. France and Russia, members of the UN Security Council, are also exploring a role for UN peacekeepers in Gaza.

THE WASHINGTON POST (USA): Biden administration straddles its own “red line” on Rafah invasion. The administration continues to describe Israel’s military action as “limited,” but it acknowledges civilian suffering is worsening. Nearly two weeks into an Israeli offensive in Rafah, an invasion that President Biden warned months ago could be a “red line” for continued U.S. support of its war in Gaza, the administration says that line has not yet been crossed.

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (GB): The fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, has worsened in the last three months, “significantly raising the risk of a fiscal collapse,” the World Bank said amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. “The rapidly widening gap between the amount of revenues coming in, and the amount needed to finance essential public expenditure, is driving a fiscal crisis,” it said.

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: Netanyahu will “soon” address joint session of US Congress, House speaker announces. Mike Johnson doesn’t reveal when speech will be, but says Schumer signed off. Official tells The Times of Israel that PM looking to make case for Israel, isn’t moved by potential fallout in US.

INDEPENDENT (GB): Vladimir Putin has arrived in Belarus for a two-day visit where he will discuss tactical nuclear exercises with his ally Alexander Lukashenko. Russia has begun stationing its nuclear weapons inside Belarus, which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, since its war against Ukraine began. The Belarus visit is part of a round of foreign tours Putin is conducting as he kicks off his fifth term in office, many of which involve drumming up support for his invasion of Ukraine.

O GLOBO (BRASIL): Rússia busca reformar comando militar com a prisão de generais em meio a acusações de corrupção. Detenções se multiplicaram no Ministério da Defesa e nos escalões superiores desde o final de abril, mas o Kremlin nega que haja uma campanha de perseguição em curso.

THE NEW YORK TIMES (USA): Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered India’s general election projecting supreme confidence. “Ab ki baar, 400 paar” went his party’s slogan, meaning this time his side was gunning to surpass 400 seats in the lower house of Parliament, a staggering majority. But as the seven-week voting period enters its final stretch, with results expected on June 4, India is witnessing something unusual from its powerful leader. It is seeing him sweat. As Mr. Modi crisscrosses the country for rallies in 100-degree heat, he has often appeared on the defensive, and sometimes rattled. He has frequently set aside his party’s main campaign message — that India is rising under his leadership — to counter his opponents’ portrayal of him as favoring business and caste elites. He has resorted to stoking anti-Muslim sentiments to fend off attempts to split his Hindu support base, only to deny his own words later. Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., is still a heavy favorite. But it is finding that the political opposition, counted out after big losses to Mr. Modi in the previous two national elections, has some fight left in it.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA (RUSSIA): Британские политические партии начали с четверга, 23 мая, свои предвыборные кампании после того, как премьер-министр Риши Сунак неожиданно объявил о досрочных парламентских выборах. По опросам, правящая Консервативная партия не является фаворитом выборов. Она отстает от лейбористов на более чем 20%. Почему Сунак решил рискнуть, приняв неожиданное даже для своих однопартийцев решение, остается загадкой. Лидер Лейбористской партии Кир Стармер вообще говорит о своем премьерстве как о вопросе решенном. Возможно, он настроен чересчур самонадеянно. Дело в том, что личный рейтинг Стармера хуже, чем у его партии. По опросу YouGov, его кандидатуру на пост премьера считают предпочтительной лишь 35% респондентов. Его политическую деятельность одобряют лишь 34% британцев. А негативно к Стармеру относятся больше половины – 51%.

CUMHURRIYET (TURKEY): With no flights before election, UK's Rwanda migrant scheme may never get off ground. The controversial plan to fly thousands of asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda may never get off the ground, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that there would be no deportations before a national election in July. Immigration will be one of the main battlegrounds at the election, and Sunak has sought to cast the Rwanda policy as the way of dealing with an expensive issue that the public wants tackled, while accusing Labour of having no answers.

NIKKEI (JAPAN): Malaysia’s Anwar to push ASEAN as “cohesive force” against regional tensions. Economy will be priority during 2025 chairmanship of the 10-member bloc. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim wants the Association Southeast Asian Nations to double down on the economic strengths that hold it together as it faces a crisis in Myanmar and tensions in the South China Sea. “What ASEAN needs is a more aggressive and dynamic approach to ensure that it remains to be a cohesive force,” Anwar said in an exclusive interview with Nikkei Asia and TV Tokyo on the sidelines of Nikkei’s Future of Asia summit in Tokyo.

GLOBAL TIMES (CHINA): China’s Ministry of Commerce reaffirmed the country’s commitment to green development and slammed “certain countries and regions” mulling to take restrictive measures against Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), in response to reports of a prominent Chinese expert calling for a temporary tariff hike on imported cars with large engines. The remarks marked a sharpened response to the US and the EU’s crackdown measures against Chinese EVs and other new-energy products, as Washington has set a date for imposing tariff increases on a slew of Chinese products and US officials are actively and publicly demanding US allies, particularly the EU, to follow suit. Chinese officials have repeatedly vowed to take all necessary measures to defend China’s interests. And experts said that when the US actually imposes the tariff moves and if the EU would do the same, China will definitely take countermeasures, though the specific moves and their scopes remain to be seen.

THE WASHINGTON TIMES (USA): Lawmakers say newly released documents show Hunter Biden lied to Congress. House lawmakers on Wednesday made public a slew of emails, phone records and other documents provided by IRS whistleblowers that they say show President Biden’s son Hunter Biden “repeatedly lied to Congress” when he gave closed-door testimony in February about his father’s involvement in his lucrative foreign business deals.

FINANCIAL TIMES (GB): Janet Yellen says many Americans still struggling with inflation. US Treasury secretary expresses concern over “substantial” increases in living costs.

LA NACION (ARGENTINA): Un showman frente a la amenaza de la recesión. Milei pretende ser reconocido mundialmente como un profeta extravagante, mientras los inversores esperan respuestas y el sistema energético engendra su crisis
En la concentración de este miércoles en el Luna Park Javier Milei volvió a indicar el perfil con el que prefiere ser reconocido. No es el de un líder político. Tampoco el de un jefe de Estado. Milei disfruta cuando se lo reconoce como un profeta extravagante. La presentación de Capitalismo, socialismo y la trampa neoclásica, su nueva obra editada por Planeta, se convirtió en parte de un show en el que cantó como astro de una banda.

DAWN (PAKISTAN): An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission and Pakistan have made significant progress towards reaching a staff-level agreement for an extended fund facility (EFF), the global lender said on Friday. The IMF has opened discussions with Pakistan on a new loan programme after Islamabad last month completed a short-term $3 billion programme, which helped stave off a sovereign debt default. Pakistan is likely to seek at least $6 billion under the new programme and request additional financing from the IMF.

THE ECONOMIC TIMES (INDIA): Atomic Energy Commission chairman Ajit Kumar Mohanty was hosted by the Russian Atomic Chief in Siberia’s Tomsk region in Russia on Thursday. The Russian Atomic Chief showed Mohanty the fourth-generation site that will host the safest atomic reactor in history. Russian state nuclear corporation-Rosatom head Alexey Likhachev said that India will get next-generation nuclear fuel this summer, further calling India a key partner in the nuclear area.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (USA): Behind the scenes of Scarlett Johansson’s battle with OpenAI. The most dramatic episode yet in the collision between Hollywood and the exploding world of AI demonstrates deep anxiety in creative industries about how artists’ work is used.