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Daily Digest for Thursday, Aug. 13

  • US designates Chinese institute; Turkish ambassador slams US oil deal with Syrian Kurds; Iran opposition goes on US-funded TV; Ukraine president’s envoy meets with top officials; Lego lobbies on Education Act



Bermuda: The Bermuda Tourism Authority received $11.25 million from the government of Bermuda in the first half of the year and spent $5.9 million promoting the country, including $4.4 million in direct sales and marketing.


Philippines: Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) has registered Hong Kong-based public relations employee Vivien Law as a foreign agent for the government of the Philippines. She will provide “counsel and assistance” the country’s central bank (Bangko Sentral ng Philipinas, or BSP) and the government’s economic team in the area of “strategic communications to promote BSP’s economic initiative and economic messages internationally.”


Germany: Ginta Rose Rubin has registered as a foreign agent for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy. Rubin works for the Chicago office of the state-owned NRW.INVEST economic development agency.

Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s US adviser met once with US charge d’affaires ad interim Kristina Kvien and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent and shared multiple phone calls and texts with both of them in the six months through May. Discussions centered on Zelensky’s “reform agenda,” government exchanges, the peace process with Russia and support for the IMF program for Ukraine. Andrew Mac, the head of the Washington office of Ukrainian law firm Asters, was appointed as a pro bono non-staff adviser to Zelensky in November 2019.

Middle East

Iran: The opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran paid former US Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation Robert Joseph $60,000 in the six months through July. During the period Joseph consulted with NCRI officials to “strengthen the protection and security” of Iranian refugees relocated to Albania and provided advice “on a range of issues, including how best to counter false narratives about the NCRI; how to improve the reach and effectiveness of NCRI efforts to expose Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, regional aggression, and its nuclear program; and how to advance the cause of a free and democratic Iran.” Joseph participated via zoom in several panels and remotely addressed the group’s annual summit in Albania. He also participated in a July 23 interview on US-funded broadcaster Al-Hurrah regarding the explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility. Joseph was joined by the deputy director of the NCRI’s US office, Alireza Jafarzadeh.

Turkey: Mercury Public Affairs distributed a statement from Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic criticizing an Aug. 3 New York Times article regarding Turkish “aggression” in the region. Kilic notably uses his statement to denounce the US government’s recent approval of an oil deal between a US company and the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria.

Statement by Amb. Serdar Kilic


The US subsidiary of Danish toy maker Lego has hired Thompson Coburn to lobby on “authorization and implementation” of amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Higher Education Act of 1965. Lobbying on the account are Christopher Murray and Benjamin Grove, a former staff assistant on the House Homeland Security Committee.


The State Department today designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS) in Washington as a foreign mission of the People‚Äôs Republic of China. Read the briefing on the announcement and what it means here.

Excerpt from remarks by Acting Director of the Office of Foreign Missions Clifton Seagroves