Here are the reasons for Trump’s economic war with China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS)

 

Here are the reasons for Trump’s economic war with China

On Friday the US president ‘hereby ordered’ companies to halt business with China, among other attacks – how did we get here?

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Osaka, Japan, on 29 June.
 Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Osaka, Japan, on 29 June. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Even by Donald Trump’s standards his Twitter rant attacking China on Friday was extraordinary. In a series of outbursts Trump “hereby ordered” US companies to stop doing business with China, accused the country of killing 100,000 Americans a year with imported fentanyl and stealing hundred of billions in intellectual property.

The attack marked a new low in Sino-US relations and looks certain to escalate a trade war already worrying investors, manufacturers and economists who are concerned that the dispute between the two economic superpowers could trigger a recession.

Not so long ago Trump called China’s president, Xi Jinping, “a good friend”. Now he is an “enemy”. How did we get here?

China, China, China

On the campaign trail Trump railed against China accusing it of pulling off “one of the greatest thefts in the history of the world” and “raping” the US economy.

Trump repeated the word China so often it spawned a viral video of him saying it over and over again. The attacks were a hit with voters and helped get him elected. He has continued lambasting China – to cheers – at rallies ever since.

Pinterest

His main beef? The trade deficit.

Trade deficit

The US imported a record $539.5 bn in goods from China in 2018 and sold the Chinese $120.3 bn in return. The difference between those two numbers – $419.2 bn – is the trade deficit.

That deficit has been growing for years as manufacturing has shifted to low-cost China and, according to Trump, it explains the hollowing out of US manufacturing.

For Trump, and especially for his adviser Peter Navarro, who once described China as “the planet’s most efficient assassin”, trade deficits represent an existential threat to US jobs and national security. China makes up the largest part of the US trade deficit but those fears are also behind his disputes with the EU, Canada and Mexico.

His detractors argue these deficit worries are hyperbole and a result of the US’s stronger economy, which allows consumers to buy goods at cheaper prices.

The truth is probably somewhere in between.

While it’s true that unemployment is at record lows and consumers continue to prop up the economy, manufacturing jobs have been lost (automation is also to blame for this) and with them wage growth (although the hollowing out of unions plays a part here).

But it is not just deficits that concerns Trump.

Thieves

China has a deserved reputation for intellectual property theft. On Friday, Trump estimated China robs the US of “hundreds of billions” a year in ideas.

In March, a CNBC poll found one in five US corporations had intellectual property stolen from them within the last year by China.

According to the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, the theft costs $600bn a year.

Beijing bucks

Like Tesla, Nio, a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) company, is suffering as subsidies for EVs are phased out. Unlike Tesla, Nio has Xi. China is pumping $1.5 bn into the company to keep it on the road, the latest in a series of handouts that the Trump administration believes are unfair.

Cheap steel and aluminium, subsidized by the Chinese government, are the origins of this trade dispute. According to the White House, last year alone China dumped and unfairly subsidized goods including steel wheels, tool chests and cabinets and rubber bands on to the US market.

To be fair the US too is more than willing to bail out its industries (see: the banks or the automakers) at the taxpayers’ expense. But at this point “fair” is not up for discussion.

Currency manipulator

Earlier this month the US officially accused China of manipulating its currency “to gain unfair competitive advantage in international trade”.

It was the first time since 1994 that such a complaint has been made official and comes as the dollar has strengthened against world currencies. The dispute adds another layer of tension to a complex situation.

China disputed the charge accusing the US of “deliberately destroying international order” with “unilateralism and protectionism”.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) appears to be on China’s side, arguing the devaluation of the yuan is largely in line with worsening economic conditions in China.

What happens next?

The US has now slapped billions of dollars on tariffs on Chinese goods. China retaliated, again, on Friday with more levies on US goods. China’s economic growth has slowed to levels unseen since 1992; US economic forecasts have also been cut.

American farmers were the first to feel the result, as China has canceled orders, and manufacturers are increasingly gloomy. So far US consumers have not felt the pinch but JP Morgan estimates the average US household will end up paying $1,000 a year for goods if the latest set of tariffs go through.

The unanswerable question is whether any of this will sway Trump. If his supporters continue to see a trade war with China – and the pain it will cause – as the necessary price to Make America Great Again, then the answer is probably no.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Treated Again For Cancer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Treated Again For Cancer

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks with NPR in July.

Shuran Huang/NPR

Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court disclosed Friday.

The radiation therapy, conducted on an outpatient basis, began Aug. 5, shortly after a localized cancerous tumor was discovered on Ginsburg’s pancreas. The treatment included the insertion of a stent in Ginsburg’s bile duct, according to a statement issued by the court.

Doctors at Sloan Kettering said further tests showed no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. The treatment comes just months after Ginsburg was operated on for lung cancer last December. The 86-year-old justice has been treated for cancer in various forms over the past 20 years.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today completed a three-week course of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City,” a statement from the Supreme Court read. “The focused radiation treatment began on August 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis to treat a tumor on her pancreas. The abnormality was first detected after a routine blood test in early July, and a biopsy performed on July 31 at Sloan Kettering confirmed a localized malignant tumor.

“As part of her treatment, a bile duct stent was placed. The Justice tolerated treatment well. She cancelled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule. The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time.”

Shortly before her new round of treatment, Ginsburg sat for an interview with NPR, and her resilience was on full display.

“There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months,” Ginsburg said. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I,” she added with a smile, “am very much alive.”

During Ginsburg’s three weeks of treatment in New York, she kept up a busy schedule in New York, often going out in the evening to the movies, the opera and the theater.

At the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, where Fiddler on the Roof is playing, word spread during intermission that Ginsburg was there, and the audience stood for several minutes applauding the diminutive justice.

Also in the audience that night was Kate McKinnon, whose frequent portrayal of Ginsburg on NBC’s Saturday Night Live has become a marquee event on the show. Soon, the justice and her imitator were caught in photos clasping hands for the first time.

The justice also continued to work during her time in New York, according to court sources, and she has been spotted frequently window shopping, even going in to try on shoes and other items that have interested her.

Ginsburg has 11 public events planned for September and has not canceled any of them to date.

The Supreme Court is set to open a new term on the first Monday in October, and the justices routinely return to work in September.

President Trump has already named two conservative justices to the court, thus ensuring a five-justice conservative majority in most controversial cases.

Were Ginsburg to leave the court prior to the 2020 election or even the inauguration, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has made clear the GOP would move immediately to fill the vacancy. That would ensure a 6-to-3 conservative majority on the court, all but guaranteeing a conservative grip on the court for decades to come.

5 DAYS IN HAWAI’I

Katie Kay!

Hello, my dear readers!

Now that we are done with the two-week poetry series, I am excited to share some other content with you guys. As you know, this blog is devoted to various topics, including writing, philosophy, and travel. Since it has been a while since we’ve done a travel post, I thought it would be perfect timing to share with you guys a recent trip of mine… To the Big Island of Hawai’i!

This was my first time to Hawai’i, and I have to say it was one for the books. I encourage you all to check out Hawai’i at some point, because it is a nature lover’s dream. (Really it is anyone’s dream. There is so much to do!)

Therefore I’d like to share some things I got the chance to do, and maybe this will sell you on your next vacation. 🙂

IMG_8469.jpeg A sweet Pomeranian named…

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REVIEW: HIPOTELS MEDITERRANEO

A moment with me

Post available in English and Romanian
In vacanta din Sa Coma am stat la Hipotels Medieteraneo, un hotel minunat doar pentru adulti, clasat la patru stele. Gazdele noastre s-au asigurat ca totul e perfect si ne simtim ca acasa.
Hotelul e urias – are 397 camere si pana sa ajungem eram sigura ca va fi o experienta cam impersonala, avand in vedere cati oameni sunt cazati. Si cat de tare m-am inselat … de cand am ajuns la check in, stafful a fost atent la nevoile noastre si interactiunea cu ei a fost extrem de placuta. Recomand o camera cu vedere la mare si cum o poza face cat 1000 de cuvinte o sa las peisajul sa vorbeasca.
While I was vacationing in Sa Coma, I stayed at Hipotels Mediterraneo, a wonderful adults-only hotel, rated at four stars. They made sure our stay is perfect and feels like at home.
The…

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5 Beautiful Temples to Visit in China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Beautiful Temples to Visit in China

China is one of the world’s most innovative and progressive countries, yet step away from the modernity and you’ll discover a country that maintains a firm grip on its ancient cultures and spirituality. There’s hundreds of fascinating temples and shrines scattered across this great land that offer a glimpse into the centuries-old philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism. To see them all could take a lifetime, so we’ve chosen five of the most beautiful to get you started.

Dafo Temple, Gansu Province

Credit: gionnixxx/iStock

Constructed during the Western Xia dynasty, this 2nd-century temple is one of the last-surviving wooden landmarks from the era located in China. It’s often called the “Great Buddha Temple”, a reference to the 115-foot-long sleeping Buddha that greets you in the main hall. Sculptures of arhats, who are Buddhists that have gained enlightenment, surround the giant statue, as do murals of classic Chinese stories such as Journey to the West and Classic of Mountain and Seas. Legend states that a Yuan Dynasty queen lived there and gave birth to the Mongolian warrior Kublai Khan.

Hanging Temple (Xuankong Si), Shanxi Province

Credit: Dashu Xinganling/Shutterstock.com

Little can prepare you for your first sight of this series of pagodas set precariously on a cliff face at the base of Mount Heng. Time Magazine included the temple in its list of Top 10 Precarious Buildings, and it is easy to see why when studying the interconnecting walkways and long supporting stilts, which are embedded into the rocks. Despite giving the impression that it will fall at any moment, the temple has stood firm for 1,400 years. Even more impressive when it is said the foundations were laid by a solitary monk. In addition to its magnificent structure, the temple is the only place in China where Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are all practiced.

Labrang Monastery, Gansu Province

Credit: Marcin Szymczak/Shutterstock.com

Established in 1709, Labrang Monastery plays host to the largest group of monks outside of Tibet and, at one point, provided residence for up to 4,000 of them. A great way to experience its serene beauty is to follow the inner kora, a 2.2-mile pathway of prayer wheels that pass numerous chapels and temple halls. Guided tours provide access to some halls and the chance to observe the monks’ activities first hand. Get here at sunrise to see the monks praying, or come at dusk to hear them chanting sutras.

Longmen Cave Temples, Henan Province

Credit: YinYang/iStockphoto

On an almost 1-mile long stretch of the Yi River waterfront is a collection of 2,300 caves that have existed since around 493 A.D. Each cave is etched into limestone cliffs and features some of the finest known examples of art from the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties. There’s over 110,000 statues and 60 Buddhist pagodas. Among the most striking statues are the huge Buddhas in the Guyangdong Cave and Three Binyang Cave. Such is the value of the caves that they have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Credit: zhaojiankang/iStockphoto

In the heart of Beijing is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture that dates back to 1406. The main temple, the triple-tier circular Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, stands magnificently on a square marble base. This square-round contrast stems from the ancient Chinese belief of a round heaven and square Earth. The four inner, 12 middle, and 12 outer columns of the hall’s brightly-colored interior symbolize the four seasons, 12 months, and 12 Chinese zodiac hours. Landscaped gardens and pine woods encompass the temple and the entire complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

South of France Summer — Taste of France

Share the sensations as the sun rises in the south of France.

via South of France Summer — Taste of France

Turkey Witnesses Jump in Crime Rates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Turkey Witnesses Jump in Crime Rates

Friday, 23 August, 2019 – 10:00
Turkey sees an increase in crime rates targeting Arab and foreign tourists (Getty)
Ankara – Saeed Abdelrazek
Crime rates in Turkey have risen in recent years. And an increase in the number of crimes such as kidnapping, rape, harassment and fraud as well as homicide due to the widespread use of licensed and unlicensed weapons, has drawn significant attention.

Over the past few years, Arab and foreign tourists have been the victims of such crimes, including abductions that end up with murder following robbery.

Last week, a Saudi woman was kidnapped in Istanbul near a hotel located in the Asian part of the city, where she was staying with her family.

No contact has been possible with her after she disappeared. Neither the Saudi consulate nor police have been able to know her whereabouts despite working tirelessly to locate her.

Turkish police said on Thursday that two people, suspected of assaulting on August 16 two Saudi nationals and stealing their phones and luggage in Istanbul, were arrested.

A security source said that police have checked the surveillance cameras in Istanbul’s Sisli neighborhood and the cafe, where two Saudi brothers were sitting when they were assaulted and robbed by unidentified men on a motorcycle.

After spending days processing video footage, police identified the assailants, the source noted.

He explained that police officers raided the two suspects’ houses and seized a weapon they had in their possession, a phone and the Saudis’ luggage.

They were later referred to the public prosecution after being questioned by the police.

Abductions and murders in Turkey have increased amid the country’s complex political and economic crises and weak security following the crackdown on supporters of Fethullah Gulen whom the government accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey was ranked eighth among the top 10 countries in the rate of homicides, according to official data issued by the United Nations in 2016.

The Turkish Ministry of Justice has acknowledged the high crime rates after homicides increased from 21,716 in 2009 to 25,611 in 2013.

Saudi: Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta as 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

Friday, 23 August, 2019 – 12:00
Rescued migrants rest aboard the Ocean Viking ship at the Mediterranean Sea, August 21, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video. MSF via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
France said Friday it will take 150 of the 356 migrants disembarking from a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean Sea after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that the 150 will be welcomed in France “in the coming days.”

He added: “Together, we managed to build a European solution.”

The Norwegian-flagged rescue ship Ocean Viking, with a stated passenger capacity of around 200, picked up the people in four rescue efforts off Libya from Aug. 9-12.

The migrants are being disembarked in Malta from the vessel and distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.

MSF welcomed Malta’s decision to take ashore the migrants rescued. But the group also questioned why it took so long, calling for permanent European solutions.

Jay Berger, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders on board the Ocean Viking, said: “We are relieved that the long ordeal for the 356 people on board with us if finally over but was it necessary to keep them waiting for two weeks of torment?”

In a statement, he added: “This is about people who have fled desperate conditions in their homelands and have survived the horrific violence in Libya.”

He said once the rescued migrants have left the ship, the Ocean Viking will continue with its mission after restocking supplies and refueling.

The European Union also welcomed Malta’s decision and the pledges made by the European countries to welcome the migrants.

EU Migration Commissioner Dmitris Avramopoulos said in a statement that “these commitments must now be honored and materialized swiftly.”

The EU’s border and asylum agencies will help screen people before they are relocated.

3 Amazing Sights in India Besides the Taj Mahal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Amazing Sights in India Besides the Taj Mahal

Book a trip to India, and there is one staple sight you’re going to try and see — the Taj Mahal. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to visit India’s most popular tourist destination, but to visit the Taj Mahal and only the Taj Mahal would mean missing out on some of the most breathtaking views a country could offer.

Before you start filling up your calendar with the things you’ll see and do, make sure the following three sights are somewhere on your itinerary. They’ll help you see a side of India you didn’t know existed while also providing a glimpse into the early history of the South Asian nation.

Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi

Credit: Boris Stroujko / Shutterstock.com

As a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) site, Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi draws plenty of attention. The tomb, which shares a similar appearance to the famed Taj Mahal, was built in 1565 A.D. after the death of Humayun, also known as Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad. The second emperor of the Mughal Empire is joined by several other Mughal rulers, who are buried within the walls of Humayun’s Tomb.

When Humayun passed away after a fall down a flight of stairs, his widow, Queen Bega Begum, undertook the task of having a mausoleum built for the emperor. Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas took on the job under the supervision of Bega Begum.

Once an incredible structure marked by ornate designs, a lack of maintenance over the years allowed much of it to pale. In the early 20th century, a restoration project tackled the decaying structure and the surrounding gardens, which were taken over by the English in the 19th century, and returned the building to its original form.

Basgo Monastery, Ladakh

Credit: Rudra Narayan Mitra / Shutterstock.com

Located in the Leh District of Basgo, some 24 miles from Leh, travelers will find the remains of the Basgo Monastery. In 1680, the monastery was constructed for the Namgyal rulers who overtook the land. Built from bricks of mud, the monastery overlooks Ladakh and is tucked between the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges.

Grags-pa-bum, a Tibetan king, started construction of the structure. At the center of the manmade complex is a series of temples dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha, or fifth incarnation of Sakyamuni, or Buddha. Murals that depict snippets of the life of Buddha are painted along the interior walls.

Though much of the monastery has deteriorated over time, it’s still used for ceremonies and holidays by the inhabitants of the nearby Hemis monastery.

Sundarbans, West Bengal

Credit: Santhosh Varghese / Shutterstock.com

Not every incredible sight in India is going to be manmade. In West Bengal, travelers will find the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Found on the southeastern tip of the 24 Paraganas district, the Sundarbans is named for the Sundari mangrove plant that grows within the region.

The wilds of West Bengal come to life in the Sundarbans, which is the world’s largest deltaic mangrove forest. Along with a striking beauty and exotic appearance, the Sundarbans are home to an icon of India — the Royal Bengal Tiger.

This natural stretch of mangrove offers a unique experience for anyone who travels down the still waters that run alongside vibrant green coastlines. Visitors will get to say they’ve been inside the world’s largest estuarine forest and existed among tigers and crocodiles.

5 Cities With the Largest Subway Systems

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities With the Largest Subway Systems

A great subway system is a badge of honor for a city. As writers at City Metric, a website devoted to exploring topics that affect the lives of city-dwellers, discovered, there are lots of ways to measure such a system. Maybe it’s by how many people ride a specific subway in a day or year, or maybe it’s by how many stations there are around a city.

For the purposes of this article, we looked at subways with the longest routes. Here are the top five largest subway systems in the world.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Credit: Savvapanf Photo/Shutterstock.com

332 km/206 miles

More than two billion people ride the particularly high-tech subway system in Seoul each year. It’s known for its tech, including screens displaying important messages and internet access on its cars. The first line was built in the 1970’s, and today the system includes 22 lines that are still being expanded. Plus, it’s relatively cheap and known for its cleanliness, and all directional signs are written in three languages, including English.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: William Perugini/Shutterstock.com

373 km/232 miles

The much older New York City subway system opened in 1904. Nearly six million people utilize the transit system every day, at about 470 stations — more than any other system in the world. Most of those stations operate 24 hours a day.

London, England

London, England

Credit: andrea flisi/Shutterstock.com

402 km/250 miles

The London Underground, sometimes called the Tube, opened in the 1860’s. Despite the name, most of the lines were built just below the surface with the “cut and cover” method, and many of the newer tracks are above ground. The system includes 11 lines and about 200 stations, and carries about five million daily passengers today.

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Beijing, China

Beijing, China

Credit: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com

527 km/327 miles

With almost 11 million daily riders, this is the world’s busiest subway system. It first opened in 1969 and had only two lines for decades, before undergoing a rapid expansion in 2002. And those 11 million daily riders are expected to expand to 18 million by 2021. By then, the subway will account for 60 percent of the city’s public transit ridership.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Credit: Arwin Adityavarna/iStock

548 km/341 miles

The largest subway system in the world by route length is still expanding, with plans to add seven new lines by 2025. It’s a system that links provinces and provides inter-city transportation — or at least, it will soon. On a regular day, 10 million people use the system. The most recent expansions to the system opened in December.