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  • China Seeks to Stop Virus Scare From Becoming Political Crisis

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.A deadly new virus reminiscent of one of China’s biggest public health debacles has the country’s leaders rushing to keep another outbreak from becoming a political crisis.After three weeks of revelations about a mysterious strain of coronavirus first detected in central China, President Xi Jinping stepped in personally Monday to order “all-out prevention and control efforts.” The government convened a series of task force meetings while a social media account affiliated with the Communist Party’s top law enforcement body warned that officials who withheld information would be “nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.”The high-level response came as China’s internet flooded with worried comparisons between the disease and an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, that killed 800 people across Asia 17 years ago. China’s delay in reporting that earlier outbreak was blamed for allowing the disease to spread unchecked, and fueled suspicions about public health protections in the world’s most populous country.Now, confirmed infections of health workers with the new coronavirus -- suggesting that the pathogen is highly infectious -- have prompted the World Health Organization to raise it to a risk level on par with SARS. At last count, six have died and almost 300 more had been infected, including cases in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the U.S.And the stakes are getting higher: Hundreds of millions of Chinese are preparing to fly around the world for the Lunar New Year holidays, the world’s largest human migration. The vice head of China’s National Health Commission was scheduled to hold a briefing on prevention efforts at 10 a.m. in Beijing. “China’s leaders had to upgrade the security level of the crisis to ensure the stability of Chinese society and also because of China’s international reputation,” said Wang Peng, associate research fellow at Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. “The virus has the potential to negatively impact China’s image.”Governments around the world were taking precautions to prevent the disease’s spread, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanding its inspection of airline passengers to airports in Atlanta and Chicago. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is a favorite destinations of Chinese tourists, on Tuesday pledged increased quarantines and testing at ports of entry.The Communist Party faces deep skepticism over its commitment to oversight following a number of high-profile incidents over the past few decades. Besides SARS, Chinese leaders have come under fire for their response to a contaminated milk scandal in 2008, a high-speed train crash in 2011 and revelations about bad vaccines in 2018.Unlike his predecessors two decades ago, Xi must also contend with widespread social media use and a bigger, more demanding middle class. For now, the country’s powerful censors appeared willing to let some debate continue.On Tuesday, many Chinese internet users shared posts demanding more transparency about the outbreak than SARS, with some questioning the time it took to alert the public and the government’s initial focus on stopping “rumors.” A Beijing News editorial urging a better update system got more than 100,000 views on WeChat, the country’s ubiquitous messaging platform.In response, the party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper carried a front-page editorial on Tuesday supporting Xi’s call for action. The president stressed the need to inform the public of official policies to “safeguard social stability.” Premier Li Keqiang instructed departments to “spare no effort” to counter the outbreak, while a social media account under the party’s Central Politics and Law Commission pledged to punish officials who withheld information.International health experts have been largely positive about China’s early response, which has demonstrated efforts to build a stronger nationwide health infrastructure in the wake of SARS.“The initial response has been quite rapid and hopefully effective,“ said David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was formerly with the U.S.’s CDC. “They have made great progress.”Still, the spread of the virus has citizens taking measures into their own hands. More pedestrians were seen wearing masks around the capital Tuesday.Fu King-wa, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong‘s Journalism and Media Studies Centre who tracks Chinese censorship, said mainland internet users appeared starved for information about what precautions they should take. Censored posts included links to foreign or Hong Kong news articles, including those containing estimates and outbreak sites beyond what has been released by China, Fu said.“In general, the government is using the traditional Chinese Communist Party approach,” Fu said. The goal was “to control the information, to control the media, to control the narrative and to give the people the idea that the government is handling the issue,” he said.The risk of a public health emergency damaging the top leadership has only increased under Xi, who has taken more direct oversight over economic and national security issues than his predecessors. That means there’s no one else to blame if people decide the current outbreak has been mismanaged, said Willy Lam, adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Centre for China Studies and author of numerous books on Chinese politics.“He’s supposed to be the chairman of everything ranging from finance to health and so forth,” Lam said. “But so far things have not been working out very well -- in both economic figures and other measurements of public administration.”(Updates with U.S. case in fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Dong Lyu, Amanda Wang, Sharon Chen and Isabel Reynolds.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 20:00:11 -0500
  • UN Security Council urges quick ceasefire in Libya

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    The UN Security Council called Tuesday on Libya's warring sides to quickly reach a ceasefire that would pave the way for a political process aimed at ending conflict in the oil-rich state. The United Nations meeting followed up on a weekend Libya summit held in Berlin, which saw the formation of a military commission that is supposed to define ways of consolidating a cessation of hostilities. It is to comprise five members each from the UN-recognized government in Tripoli and its opponents loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:08:54 -0500
  • UN welcomes commitments toward Libya peace, urges cease-fire

    The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday welcomed the commitment by world powers and other key countries to support a plan to restore peace in Libya and urged the warring parties to quickly conclude a cease-fire agreement. The U.N.’s most powerful body issued a statement after a closed-door briefing by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It commits them not to interfere in Libya’s civil war, to support a cease-fire, to honor a widely broken U.N. arms embargo, and to support a U.N.-facilitated political process, he said.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:08:35 -0500
  • More US troops under medical evaluation after missile attack

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    Additional U.S. troops have been flown out of Iraq for closer evaluation of potential concussion injuries from the Iranian missile attack of Jan. 8, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday. The exact number of troops flown to Germany was not immediately clear, but officials said it was a small number. Last week, 11 U.S. service members were flown from Iraq to U.S. medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:37:09 -0500
  • Meet the Aurus Komendant, Russia’s answer to the Bentayga and Cullinan

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    Did you know Russia had a homegrown luxury car company, called Aurus? It’s a brand developed by the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute (the acronym is NAMI in Russian), a descendent of a Soviet-era outfit that developed the country’s first indigenous Soviet cars after the revolution. A version of the Senat, for the record, is Putin’s presidential state car – an armored limousine that caters to local tastes.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:10:00 -0500
  • Pentagon gives conditional OK to resume Saudi training in US

    The Pentagon has given the Navy and other military services conditional approval to resume training of Saudi Arabian nationals in the U.S. Operational training, such as flying and other non-classroom work, for the approximately 850 Saudis at multiple U.S bases was suspended on Dec. 10. Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said in a memo dated Jan. 17 and released Tuesday that non-classroom training can resume once the military services have met certain conditions, including implementing a prohibition on the possession — on or off U.S. military property — of privately owned firearms and ammunition by international military students and their families.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:43:34 -0500
  • 2020 Democratic candidates vow unity, but conflict escalates

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    Democratic presidential candidates have spent weeks reassuring voters they can unify the party, avoid the divisions that plagued the 2016 primary and defeat President Donald Trump in the fall. Instead, the scars of that battle are being ripped open less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. With tensions already escalating between leading Democratic contenders, the party's last presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, reignited a years-old feud with Bernie Sanders on Tuesday by refusing to say whether she would support her former rival should he win the nomination this year — before later insisting that she will do “whatever I can” to support the eventual nominee.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:43:18 -0500
  • After tweaks, Trump trial format will be similar to Clinton

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    After some last-minute tweaks on Tuesday, the proposed rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial now largely mirror the ones used for the trial of former President Bill Clinton. After approving the rules, the Senate will hear arguments from lawyers on both sides before debating whether to seek witness testimony and documents. Clinton's Republican prosecutors already had evidence that was compiled by then-Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:25:50 -0500
  • U.N. is committed to addressing its peacekeepers’ sexual abuse of women in Haiti | Opinion

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    A recent report on the children fathered by U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti is deeply disturbing.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:18:42 -0500
  • Amid Trump's showdown with Iran, an ugly part of US history is reemerging

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    At home, Trump's campaign against Iran is starting to echo a very dark time in US history, writes veteran intelligence analyst Paul Pillar.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:56:22 -0500
  • Russian-American Lobbyist of Trump Tower Meeting Fame Forms His Own ‘Anti-Defamation League’

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    A Russian-American dual citizen who found himself at the center of allegations of Kremlin meddling in the 2016 presidential election has established a new nonprofit to combat the political vilification of his erstwhile countrymen.Rinat Akmetshin is a Washington-based lobbyist and former Soviet military officer whose 2016 meeting with Trump campaign hands including the president’s son and son-in-law was a major subject of interest for investigators into Russian election meddling. Last week, he officially incorporated the nonprofit Russian-American Anti-Defamation League, according to District of Columbia corporate records.The nonprofit’s specific plans weren’t immediately clear. Neither Akhmetshin nor his attorney responded to requests for comment. But the group’s formation comes as Akhmetshin tries to sustain legal action against a prominent Kremlin critic who dubbed him a Russian spy, allegations that caught fire after Akhmetshin’s June 2016 meeting with top Trump campaign aides came to light the following year.Akhmetshin formed the Russian-American Anti-Defamation League on January 16, according to D.C. corporate records. The group is headquartered at his Washington home.Send The Daily Beast a TipThe group’s formation came a couple of months after Akhmetshin appealed a federal court’s dismissal of his libel case against Bill Browder, a businessman who has spearheaded campaigns around the globe to sanction corrupt Russian government officials. Browder labeled Akhmetshin a “Russian intelligence asset" and "a Russian GRU officer" in a number of tweets that Akhmetshin alleges were defamatory. He sued in 2018 in a federal court in Washington. The suit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds last year. Akhmetshin’s appeal is currently pending.Akhmetshin played a significant role in the controversy surrounding Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and the investigation into Trump campaign knowledge or solicitation of it. He was one of two Russian nationals who met with Trump aides including Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. in the summer of 2016 after promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent.After the Mueller probe concluded, and found no proof of Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government, Akhmetshin told ABC News that the affair had “hit me hard financially and led to baseless personal attacks.”After his Trump Tower meeting came to light, The New York Times reported that Akhmetshin “has an association with a former deputy head of a Russian spy service, the F.S.B., and a history of working for close allies of President Vladimir V. Putin.” Last year, BuzzFeed News reported that financial investigators had flagged a number of suspicious payments to Akhmetshin around the time of the Trump Tower meeting.Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the other Russian who attended the Trump Tower meeting, also worked with the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig into Browder’s business activities in Russia on behalf of a sanctioned Russian company. That work coincided with Fusion’s efforts to dig up dirt on Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.Last year, Akhmetshin was paid $60,000 to assist with lobbying efforts on behalf of a former Kazakh government official accused of defrauding the country out of millions.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:46:33 -0500
  • Halkbank Hit With U.S. Demand for Millions in Contempt Fines

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    (Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s Halkbank should pay millions of dollars in fines for its continued failure to respond to U.S. sanctions-evasions charges, federal prosecutors in New York said.In a court filing Tuesday, the government asked a federal judge to impose a daily $1 million fine that would double each week the bank refuses to appear in the case.Prosecutors charged the bank in October with aiding a yearslong scheme to help Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions and access $20 billion in frozen oil revenue. Since then, the bank has refused to accept service of the indictment or answer the case, leading prosecutors to deem it a fugitive from justice.The U.S. pursuit of Halkbank, which is owned by the Turkish government, has been a sore point in relations between the two countries. Manhattan federal prosecutors previously won the conviction of a senior Halkbank executive in a case Turkish President Recep Erdogan likened to an “international coup attempt.”Read More: Halkbank Threatened with U.S. Contempt in Iran Sanctions Case“Halkbank has consistently sought to avoid responsibility for its role in a massive sanctions-evasion and money-laundering scheme that gave the Government of Iran access to billions of dollars’ worth of restricted oil proceeds,” the U.S. said in Tuesday’s filing.The U.S. argued that Halkbank improperly ignored an initial summons, “intentionally frustrated” efforts to serve the summons and indictment, attacked the charges in the press and failed to show up for a required court appearance.Andrew Hruska, a U.S. lawyer for Halkbank, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the sanctions request.A judge in December denied Halkbank’s request that it be allowed to make a “special appearance” to argue for the charges’ dismissal without submitting itself to the court’s jurisdiction. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman denied the request, leaving Halkbank with a choice between answering the charges and defending against them or not participating in the case in any way.While Halkbank does almost no business in the U.S., it has some ties to the nation’s financial system, which the government could limit or sever.In its initial filing, the U.S. provided conflicting statements about the amount of the proposed fine. In one section the daily $1 million fine was said to double at the end of each week the bank fails to comply. In another section the government said the fine would double every day. In a corrected filing, prosecutors made clear the fine should double only each week.The case is U.S. v. Halkbank, 15-cr-867, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).(Updates with amount of requested fine)To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Joe Schneider, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:12:56 -0500
  • Huawei CFO lawyers say her alleged crimes no crime in Canada

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    Lawyers for a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei argued Tuesday that allowing her extradition to the United States would result in Canada bowing to foreign law. This week's hearings deal with the question of whether the U.S. charges against Meng Wanzhou are crimes in Canada as well. Canada does not have similar sanctions on Iran.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:42:22 -0500
  • Documents: Extremist group wanted rally to start civil war

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    A hidden camera captured members of a white supremacist group expressing hope that violence at a gun rights rally in Virginia this week could start a civil war, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday. Former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews also videotaped himself advocating for killing people, poisoning water supplies and derailing trains, a prosecutor wrote in urging a judge in Maryland to keep Mathews and two other members of The Base detained in federal custody. Last month, a closed-circuit television camera and microphone installed by investigators in a Delaware home captured Mathews talking about the Virginia rally as a “boundless” opportunity.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:11:28 -0500
  • New government in crisis-hit Lebanon, but protests continue

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    A new Cabinet was announced in crisis-hit Lebanon late Tuesday, breaking a months-long impasse amid mass protests against the country's ruling elite and a crippling financial crisis, but demonstrations and violence continued. Hassan Diab, a 60-year-old former professor at the American University of Beirut, announced a Cabinet of 20 members — mostly specialists supported by the Shiite group Hezbollah and allied political parties. The new government, which comes three months after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned, was rejected by protesters who have been calling for sweeping reforms and a government made up of independent technocrats that can deal with the country's economic and financial crisis, the worst since the 1975-90 civil war.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:06:35 -0500
  • Big Changes? Or Maybe Not. Putin's Plans Keep Russia Guessing.

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    MOSCOW -- Nobody knows what's going on inside the Kremlin right now. And perhaps that's precisely the point.President Vladimir Putin announced constitutional changes last week that could create new avenues for him to rule Russia for the rest of his life.But will they? How? And will he?Putin's new prime minister announced his roster of ministers Tuesday, with the most prominent officials keeping their posts. Yet as more details of what appears to be Russia's biggest governmental overhaul in a decade trickle out, the true nature of Putin's long-term plan -- and whether he even has one -- is shrouded in mystery.Ever since his opening salvo at the end of his annual state-of-the-nation speech last Wednesday, nearly every day has brought news of high-level resignations, unexpected appointments and cryptic new legislation. Decoding these clues -- and arguing over whether one should even try -- has thrown the international cottage industry of Kremlin experts into a contradictory cacophony of prediction and interpretation.Putin's proposals, sure to be adopted by his rubber-stamp Parliament, mean "potentially very little change at all," Sam Greene, director of the Russia Institute at King's College in London, said in an 11-part thread on Twitter. "Or potentially quite a lot of change."Marat Guelman, a former Kremlin media strategist, wrote on Facebook, "I'm going to make a risky forecast, but I'm almost convinced it's true." Putin, he said, is surely on the verge of resigning. "Soon, we will lose him.""Alas!" Alexei Venediktov, editor of Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy, posted on messaging app Telegram, responding to the latest news Monday by quoting a 19th-century poet. "Not even a quarter-hour passed, and I already sensed that it was high time to drink vodka."The first response by many analysts to Putin's speech last week laying out a constitutional overhaul was that it was meant to provide the groundwork for the president to maintain his grip on power even after his fourth term ends in 2024.A strengthened Parliament might allow Putin to become a highly influential prime minister, the thinking went. Or new powers set to be granted to an obscure body called the State Council could give Putin, who is now 67, a venue to fill a father-of-the-nation role in semiretirement.But events since then have been so fast-paced and chaotic by the standards of Putin's deliberate, no-drama style of domestic leadership that many observers now wonder whether something else might be afoot.Kremlin control of Russian television has kept a full-fledged debate off the country's airwaves. But in Twitter threads, lengthy Facebook posts and screeds on Telegram, political commentators have put forward so many different theories that they paint a picture of a nation in collective befuddlement.Given Putin's penchant for trying to keep his adversaries off balance, the befuddlement might be part of the Kremlin's goal."The president put up a smoke screen behind which he is determined to reform the political system based on a new ideological project," political scientist Vladimir Pastukhov wrote in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. "It is impossible to make out what is actually going on."The fine art of making educated guesses as to what Russia's leadership is up to -- also known as Kremlinology -- dates back to Soviet times. But few moments in recent history have left the chattering classes as off-kilter as this one.In addition to proposing sweeping constitutional changes, Putin last week accepted the resignation of his entire government and replaced the longtime prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, with a man few Russians had ever heard of -- the tax-office chief, Mikhail V. Mishustin.One school of thought held that Medvedev's career was all but over and that Putin had tapped Mishustin as a potential presidential heir. Another was that Mishustin was in fact a mere technocrat, while Medvedev, in his new role in the newly created position of vice chairman of Russia's Security Council, was parked in a vice-president-style function that made him the heir apparent.The bigger question was what would happen to Putin. New clues came Monday with the publication of a 29-page bill to enact the constitutional changes that he outlined last week.Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist, wrote that the first thing she noticed about the bill was the commas: So many of them seemed to be missing that it appeared the bill had been drafted and published in haste.The fine print of the legislation showed that the prime minister's powers would not be expanded as much as first advertised, while members of the State Council would still appear to serve at the pleasure of the president.So maybe Putin's plan is to stay president, after all?Theories that seemed far-fetched on the surface soon gained currency. While Russia's constitution currently prohibits the president from serving more than two "consecutive" terms, Putin's proposed changes included a tweak to ban a president from serving more than two terms, period.Perhaps this one-word change was the real aim, some postulated: Down the road, the Kremlin could argue that the amendment had reset the term-limit counter, allowing Putin to stay in office for two additional six-year terms.Others claimed, citing no evidence, that the remarkable haste with which the Kremlin was pushing through the constitutional changes and remaking the government was evidence that Putin might want to call it quits -- or was trying to head off a coup.The drip-drip of revelations continued with what seemed to be a wide-ranging reorganization of senior officials. Yuri Y. Chaika, the powerful prosecutor general, abruptly left his post Monday, only to resurface as Putin's new representative to Russia's northern Caucasus region Tuesday. A demotion? So it seemed, but one couldn't be so sure.By Tuesday afternoon, the guessing game over who would form the rest of the new Cabinet was in full swing. Margarita Simonyan, editor of the pro-Kremlin television network RT, posted a plea to Telegram asking journalists to stop calling her to confirm rumors that she would be taking this or that senior post."I'm not going anywhere and won't be going anywhere," she wrote.The new Cabinet, announced Tuesday evening, kept the most prominent members of the old one -- Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu. The roster of ministries that received new heads -- including health care, sports, education and economy -- suggested that Putin wanted to show he was taking Russians' domestic problems seriously while not planning any shifts in foreign policy."The most important goal is to raise the well-being of our people, to strengthen our statehood and the international standing of our country," he told the new Cabinet.Konstantin Sonin, a Russian economist at the University of Chicago, took his colleagues to task for tying Putin's changes to any transition plan for 2024. Given the Kremlin's track record of adjusting in real time to major unforeseen events, it was hard to see Putin's tacticians gaming out such a long-term plan, he wrote. Rather, he said, the developments could be the result of a power struggle between conservative and progressive factions in Putin's orbit."I don't know how this story ends," Sonin wrote on Facebook.The debate quickly escalated to whether there should be a debate at all. Nothing could change the most important fact of political life in Russia, popular blogger Aleksandr Gorbunov wrote: Putin's system is a "one-man regime.""All this reshuffling is only necessary to make sure the framework doesn't change, and rather is cemented even further," Gorbunov wrote on Telegram.A journalist, Yury Saprykin, offered a similar sentiment on Facebook, but in verse:We'll be debating over how he won't leave,We'll be guessing, will he leave or won't he.And then -- lo! -- he won't be leaving.That is, before the elections he won't leave,And after that, he definitely won't leave.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:05:37 -0500
  • Netanyahu renews West Bank annexation vow ahead of elections

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed a vow to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank as the embattled leader kicked off a third election campaign in under a year Tuesday. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Most of the international community considers Israel's West Bank settlements illegal under international law.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:49:04 -0500
  • Don't shun China, urges Merkel at American prize ceremony

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday urged Western global powers to include China in their multilateral system and treat Beijing equally rather than freeze it out and risk slipping into a Cold War-style bipolar order. Speaking after receiving a prize at the American Academy in Berlin, attended by former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and John Kerry, Merkel said China's economic success posed challenges. "Of course we also have to build up fairness, of course we have to practise multilateralism such that the rules apply to everyone," she said.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:47:08 -0500
  • A Deadly Coronavirus Is Spreading In China, But What Exactly Is It?

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    Update: On Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first U.S. case of coronavirus. The patient was taken into isolation in Everett, Washington and officials are currently compiling a list of people he may have been in contact with. This story was originally published on Tuesday, January 21, at 11 a.m.On Monday, the Chinese government confirmed human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus, raising the likelihood that it could spread quickly and widely as the Lunar New Year begins. Authorities in China announced a considerable increase in the number of confirmed cases of the potentially fatal respiratory virus to more than 300 ahead of the highest traffic travel season in the country. So far, six people have died from coronavirus, a number which doubled just in the last two days. Thailand and Japan have each identified three cases that can be linked to recent travel from China and South Korea confirmed its first case on Monday, too.But, coronavirus was identified in China last month and monitored closely. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization office in China was informed of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause in Wuhan. Then, on January 7, Chinese authorities identified a novel coronavirus and WHO published interim medical guidance to prepare countries for the virus. This included best practices for monitoring patients, treatment, and controlling the outbreak by educating the public.“The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” President Xi Jinping said in a public statement. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first.” The World Health Organization announced an emergency committee meeting that will be held on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak is to be considered a global health crisis warranting an internationally coordinated response. In the past, declarations of this kind have been used for epidemics of severe illness threatening to become pandemics as they cross international borders.As the virus continues to spread, many are wondering the exact nature of coronavirus, what it entails, and where it all started. We’ve outlined those answers below. What is the coronavirus?Coronavirus is a catch-all term for viral types of pneumonia and respiratory viruses ranging from iterations of the common cold to MERS and SARS. They are common among animals; however, on rare occasions, they become zoonotic, meaning that they can be transmitted from animals to humans. The World Health Organization says symptoms of this virus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In serious cases, certain strains of coronavirus can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, and death. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are currently no vaccines to prevent people from contracting a coronavirus. There is also no treatment. Most people with common human coronaviruses will recover on their own. More dangerous strains such as SARS and MERS have 11% and 35% fatality rates, respectively.But, hundreds of people came into close contact with diagnosed patients and did not get sick leading China’s municipal health commission to believe that while the virus is contagious, it is not easily transmitted between humans. Where did the coronavirus in China start spreading?According to the Associated Press, the outbreak was traced back to people connected to a seafood market in Wuhan — a city in central China — late last month. Experts are concerned that the virus will spread more rapidly as people around the country travel for the Lunar New Year which begins January 25 with celebrations continuing through February 8. Annually, Lunar New Year amounts to one of the largest movements of people in the world and travel advisories are now recommended throughout China as a result. Has coronavirus ever spread in the past?Previous severe outbreaks of a deadly strain of coronavirus include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2013. Currently, the new coronavirus appears to be less severe than either of these outbreaks, reports Healthline. The WHO and CDC are working together to manage the outbreak of this coronavirus. The CDC developed a test to diagnose the virus and is in the process of sharing this test internationally. Travel advisories and screenings at airports have also been issued.Related Content:Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?What The Color Of Your Mucus Really MeansThe Most Common STIs Of 2019 & How To Treat ThemWhat To Know About The Coachella Herpes Outbreaks

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:41:54 -0500
  • Putin keeps key ministers in new Russian government

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed a new government on Tuesday, less than a week after he announced sweeping constitutional reforms and his longtime prime minister resigned. Putin, who said there was a "demand for change" in his announcements last week, kept on key allies. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu -- both staunch Putin supporters and major policy figures -- held on to their positions, as well as the finance and energy ministers, Anton Siluanov and Alexander Novak.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:30:45 -0500
  • Washington man is 1st in US to catch new virus from China

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    The U.S. on Tuesday reported its first case of a new and potentially deadly virus circulating in China, saying a Washington state resident who returned last week from the outbreak's epicenter was hospitalized near Seattle. The man, identified as a Snohomish County resident is in his 30s, was in good condition and wasn't considered a threat to medical staff or the public, health officials said. U.S. officials stressed that they believe the virus' overall risk to the American public remained low.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:21:30 -0500
  • Sorry, America: Iran Played Donald Trump For A Fool In Iraq

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    If America leaves, Iran stands to gain.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:20:00 -0500
  • Saudi-led coalition resumes airstrikes near Yemeni capital

    The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen stepped up its bombing campaign Tuesday, launching airstrikes near the rebel-held capital in clashes that killed at least 35 people, Yemeni security officials said. It was the first time in months that coalition airstrikes hit Houthi targets in the district of Nehm, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of the capital Sanaa, said Houthi officials. Video provided by Yemen's defense ministry showed large plumes of smoke rising over the mountains after the airstrikes.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:15:13 -0500
  • US calls for 'immediate' resumption of Libyan oil production

    The U.S. Embassy in Libya on Tuesday called for the immediate resumption of oil production in the country, pressuring eastern Libyan forces who have sought to choke off oil exports in territory under their control. Powerful tribal groups loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose forces control eastern Libya and much of the south, seized several large export terminals earlier this month along the eastern coast, as well as southern oil fields. The Libyan National Oil Corporation warned that the closure of eastern port terminals under Hifter’s control would cut crude oil production by 800,000 barrels a day and estimated the country would lose $55 million in daily revenues.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:00:01 -0500
  • Merkel ally sees growing German support for tough Huawei stance

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    There is a groundswell of support among lawmakers in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc to require firms that roll out Germany's 5G network to be free of political influence in their home country, a senior conservative told Reuters on Tuesday. The CDU/CSU conservative parliamentary bloc has been wrangling for weeks over how strict security requirements for the rollout should be, and whether they should effectively shut out Chinese technology giant Huawei from the network. Merkel favors strict security requirements for the 5G network, but opposes excluding individual companies.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:49:31 -0500
  • NATO Is Grappling With Trump’s Call for a Bigger Mideast Role

    (Bloomberg) -- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is debating President Donald Trump’s plea to take on a bigger Middle East role, according to the alliance’s head.Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg signaled the focus of NATO’s deliberations is on non-combat missions, like training, in countries such as Iraq. Earlier this month, Trump said “the scope of NATO should be increased” in the Middle East to tackle terrorist threats.“We are now discussing what does that mean,” Stoltenberg told a European Parliament committee in Brussels on Tuesday. “The issue that we are looking into is not whether we can launch new combat operations. The issue is whether we can do something that prevents us from being forced into new combat. Prevention is better than intervention.”Trump earlier fueled speculation about a bigger NATO footprint in the Middle East almost two weeks ago after Iran carried out attacks in Iraq on two bases used by American troops as retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.NATO has run a training mission in Iraq since late 2018 aimed at supporting Iraqi forces and preventing the re-emergence of Islamic State. The alliance suspended the mission on Jan. 6 as a result of the heightened U.S.-Iran tensions and security risks in the region.In his remarks to the EU Parliament committee on Tuesday, Stoltenberg said he believes NATO needs “to go heavy-in and train” authorities in nations such as Iraq in a bid to “build more capacity” and avoid the likelihood of future combat operations there.“There is now a process inside NATO, but also with our partners and not least with partners in the region -- with Iraq, Jordan and other partners in the region -- about if NATO is going to do more, what more we could we do,” he said. “I believe there is the potential for NATO to do more.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Larry Liebert, Bill FariesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:35:11 -0500
  • Why Communist Romania’s Endgame Has Lessons for Iran

    Iran’s vast security apparatus will fight hard to keep its grip on its economic power bases.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:24:40 -0500
  • Israeli army kills 3 Palestinians after attack at Gaza fence

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    The Israeli military said its soldiers killed three Palestinians who crossed the Gaza border fence and threw an explosive device at troops on Tuesday. The army said its troops fired on three suspects who crossed the security fence and "hurled a grenade or an explosive device" at the soldiers. There was no immediate comment from the Gaza authorities.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:08:56 -0500
  • China’s Deadly Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Getting Worse as First Case Hits U.S.

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    HONG KONG—A new virus is sweeping through eastern and central China. It gives people a fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. So far, according to official statistics, six have died and nearly 300 have been confirmed to be infected, but estimates of infections run much higher, in the thousands. Medical professionals who were tending to patients have themselves fallen ill. The Next Plague Is Around the CornerThere are confirmed cases in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea—and now the United States.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that it had identified a first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the state of Washington. The United States and other nations and territories have been preparing response plans, even quarantines, for weeks. This in response to "growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening," said a statement from the CDC. "It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people. ... This is a rapidly evolving situation."So, nations and territories around the world are on alert, but things in China, the government wants you to believe, are just fine.On Monday night, China’s top medical professionals recognized that this coronavirus is now transmitting from human to human. The statement was made days ahead of the Lunar New Year rush, when much of the country travels for an extended holiday, people jostling for space on packed trains, buses, boats, and planes. Some have already canceled their journeys, opting to remain in their cities of work and residence instead of returning home. But a massive temporary migration involving up to three billion trips is still expected to take place as we head toward the end of the week.Already, many pharmacies have sold all their face masks that were in stock, but the Chinese government is eager to project the image that there is no brewing epidemic. Some train station and airport workers were told that they are not allowed to wear face masks to work, for fear that their precautions might spark panic among travelers. In Wuhan, where a meat and poultry market has been identified as ground zero for the viral outbreak, a massive banquet was organized with 40,000 families in attendance.The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan in mid-December, but body temperature screening equipment was not installed in the city’s airports and train stations until a month later.Press coverage about the virus is tightly controlled in China, and information about it is stifled online. On popular Chinese social media platforms, posts by users whose relatives have died after suffering from pneumonia-like symptoms matching those of coronavirus patients were wiped, prompting outrage and accusations that the Chinese Communist Party is withholding information about how far the virus has spread.Contrast that with precautions taken by entities outside of mainland China. Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, is distributing face masks, antiseptic wipes, and health forms for travelers from Wuhan. Korean Air has taken things a step further and placed hazmat suits on some of its planes; the airline is also disinfecting cabins of planes that fly to Wuhan.Airports in East, South, and Southeast Asian countries have dispatched additional staff to screen passengers from China, checking for early symptoms of infection. The same goes for Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, all of which receive many flights from Asia every day. The World Health Organization recommends that any person who might have a respiratory illness should seek medical attention and share their travel history with their physician.There is speculation that conditions in some of China’s markets are potent breeding grounds for deadly viruses. A variety of meats and living animals are sold in Wuhan Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus first infected a cluster of people, mostly stall operators. The game includes peacock, wolf pup, porcupine, fox, palm civet, as well as other creatures sourced from different corners of East and Southeast Asia.This, and the general opaqueness of what’s going on north of the border, reminds people in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak of 2002 and 2003, when 800 people were killed after an animal virus—possibly one that was active in bats—infected humans in Guangdong and swept through the region, eventually crossing the Pacific to reach the United States and Canada.At the time, the Chinese government suppressed domestic reports about SARS infections, and was slow to share information with the World Health Organization. A doctor who was treating SARS patients in Guangdong entered Hong Kong for a family gathering, and ended up carrying the virus into the city. Many guests at the hotel where he stayed became sick. He died in a local hospital. Now, 80 percent of SARS patients in Hong Kong are thought to have been infected because he was a “super-spreader”—a diseased host who infects an outsized number of people.Habits formed in Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic linger: people wear masks when they have the flu or a cold, elevator buttons and certain other surfaces are disinfected on a regular basis. The outbreak turned Hongkongers’ skepticism toward the Chinese government into severe distrust. If people’s health and well-being are disregarded in favor of preserving the illusion of normalcy, particularly when an illness could spread rapidly in extremely dense urban environments, how then could people in Hong Kong trust Beijing to ensure their safety and security?On Monday, CCP leader Xi Jinping said public officials at all levels “should resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic.” Hu Xijin, editor in chief of party mouthpiece Global Times, has offered spin, suggesting that this outbreak “doesn’t look the same” as SARS.Like some other members of the CCP, Hu is placing party allegiance before the safety of every other human being in the country—and abroad. It’s an attitude that tells the rest of the world even though memories of an outbreak are still fresh in people’s minds, little has changed in a bureaucracy whose goal of clinging to power overcomes basic decency.When a Plague Outbreak Threatened to Overrun San FranciscoRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:39:35 -0500
  • NATO chief seeks beefed-up training role in Iraq

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    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance must beef up its military training operation in Iraq to ensure that its members are not drawn back into combat there against Islamic State extremists. Stoltenberg has held talks in recent days with senior Iraqi and officials and King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan amid cautious optimism that NATO might be permitted to resume its training activities in Iraq in the near future. Build everything from the ministry of defense, institutions, command and control, to train forces.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:34:39 -0500
  • Xi Vowed Not to Turn the Screws on Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Says

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered personal assurances that he won’t use the protests in Hong Kong as an excuse to tighten Beijing’s controls on the region, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.Speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum Tuesday, Lam pushed back against the widespread assumption that Xi is tightening controls on Hong Kong as she sought to reassure global investors that the Asian financial center will remain stable despite months of historic and increasingly violent protests.“There is no truth in the allegation that the central government is tightening the grip on Hong Kong,” Lam said. “The central government has time and again made it very clear that they want Hong Kong to succeed under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and a high degree of autonomy.”“It was made very clear to me by President Xi Jinping on the three occasions that I met him” in recent months, she added.Lam arrived in Davos after a fresh bout of protest violence in downtown Hong Kong, with four police officers injured in clashes with demonstrators Sunday following an otherwise peaceful rally. More than seven months of pro-democracy protests have battered the former British colony’s economy, undermined its reputation for political stability and increased geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China.China has governed Hong Kong since 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework that preserves its freedom of expression, independent courts and capitalist financial system. The city’s pro-democracy opposition has accused Beijing of eroding that autonomy and stonewalling calls for meaningful direct elections of the chief executive, who’s currently selected by a 1,200-member committee.While Lam withdrew legislation allowing extraditions to China that initially prompted the unrest, she has so far refused to consider other key protester demands including an independent probe of the police. Nevertheless, in Davos, Lam hinted that there may be other motivations behind the protests.“One has to wonder what are the underlying factors that caused the sustained social unrest in the last few months,” she said.The protests have been more subdued since mid-November, when pro-democracy candidates swept elections for local district councils though the city of 7.4 million people remains bitterly divided, with widespread distrust of Beijing and the local government. The main political event this year will be elections for the more powerful Legislative Council in September.Rumors have persisted for months that Beijing may replace Lam, whose approval rating is hovering near a record low of 14%, according to a Hong Kong Public Opinion Program survey released earlier this month. So far, President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed China’s support for Lam, although Beijing replaced its main representative in Hong Kong earlier this month with an official some analysts described as a hardliner.Lam herself insisted she wouldn’t quit.“I will do my utmost to stay in this position and arrest the current situation,” she said.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at hamin1@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Davos, Switzerland, at dli395@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:29:13 -0500
  • BAE Chairman Carr Sees Room for Optimism on EU, U.S. Trade Deals

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. BAE Systems Plc Chairman Roger Carr, who campaigned to keep Britain in the European Union before the Brexit referendum, said he is optimistic the U.K. will secure trade deals with both the U.S. and EU once it quits the bloc.Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Carr said President Donald Trump’s positive comments about an accord with Britain augur well, and that the U.K. needs to consider its trading relations on a broader front given its changing relationship with Europe.“They’ve certainly got the backing of their president in leaning forward into the negotiations,” he said of the U.S. position in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. “I remain cautiously optimistic that a deal of some sort can be done.” Carr said the trade talks with the EU will be challenging given the complexity of the negotiations and the year-end deadline to reach a deal -- but that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his administration appear convinced that they can deliver an agreement on schedule.“I hear the commitment from government to get something done and I think they are making that with real enthusiasm,” he said. “There’s a lot of serious belief that something can be achieved. They want to see this behind us.”Carr has been chairman of Europe’s biggest arms manufacturer for five years and previously occupied the same role at utilities Centrica Plc and Thames Water.He said Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid’s warning that businesses will need to adjust to new rules after Brexit because the U.K. won’t align with European regulations in future represents no more than a view of what might happen.“These negotiations haven’t yet started,” he said. “It’s unlikely we’re going to have totally frictionless trade, and therefore there will be an adjustment. It’s the degree of adjustment that’s important.”Companies understand that, and are focused on navigating “what will undoubtedly be tricky waters,” he added.To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Jasper in London at cjasper@bloomberg.net;Jonathan Ferro in Davos, Switzerland at jferro10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Edward Evans, Andrew NoëlFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:20:49 -0500
  • Trump Lauds His Achievements, Talks Trade With EU: Davos Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.The world’s rich and powerful are in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting, and the gathering will be closely watched to see how the global elite aims to tackle issues they helped create, above all climate change.President Donald Trump’s appearance, which came on the same day his impeachment trial starts in Washington, began with him calling the trial a “hoax” and “disgraceful.” In his speech, he lauded his economic achievements and said the U.S. is “winning again like never before” and later said that he is confident he can reach a trade deal with the European Union.Meanwhile, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who was in the audience for Trump’s speech, stepped up her criticism of governments and companies for not doing enough to tackle climate change.For in-depth coverage and analysis of Trump’s speech, check out our TOPLive blog on the Bloomberg Terminal. To get all the daily highlights delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Davos Diary newsletter.Here’s the latest (time-stamps are local time in Davos):Hong Kong’s Lam Vows to Stay in Power (5:57 p.m.)Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam has no plans to step aside to help resolve protests that have racked the city.“I will do my utmost to stay in this position to help arrest the current situation,” Lam told Bloomberg TV. She rejected calls for an independent commission “to protect the institutional strengths of Hong Kong and protect the rule of law.”Lam denied that China’s government is trying to expand its power in the city, saying there is “no truth in the allegations that the central government is tightening its grip on Hong Kong,” citing assurances made during meetings with President Xi Jinping.“Under one country, two systems, the central government has given us a high degree of autonomy to deal with this social unrest,” she said, adding that while she accepts “misjudgment” in pushing ahead with the extradition bill, the legislation was “well intended.”Trump Expects Deal With EU on Trade (5:45 p.m.)President Donald Trump said he’s confident he can reach a trade deal with the European Union but will strongly consider imposing tariffs on cars made in the bloc without an agreement.“If we’re unable to make a deal, we will have to do something because we’ve been treated very badly as a country for many, many years on trade,” Trump said, noting that the U.S. had been spending money “for years” to protect Europe through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.“We’re protecting Europe and that’s fine but they can’t do it to us on trade,” Trump added. “But they know they have to do something, and if they’re fair, they’re not going to have a problem.”Kudlow Wants ‘Bolder’ Fed Rate Cuts (5:40 p.m.)President Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said he would like to see the Federal Reserve being “a little bolder” in reversing previous rate increases he termed as “unnecessary.”“I think in terms of the what the rest of the world is doing, our short-term rates in the Fed funds market, and around the Fed funds market, could probably be lower,” Kudlow said on a panel titled “Escaping the Liquidity Trap.” “I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot,” he added. “They’re moving in the right direction.”Kudlow added that negative rates are making it harder for banks, particularly in Europe, to recover from the financial crisis.“Negative rates are not a good idea. They’re really bad for banks, they’re really bad for savers and they’re not great for investors.”Bank of America Sees Room to Expand Consumer Unit (5:30 p.m.)Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said the company has room to grab more market share in U.S. consumer banking without acquisitions.“There’s so much opportunity in the United States” for Bank of America to expand its consumer banking market share and could double market share in the U.S., said Moynihan, adding that he’s happy to continue to lead the bank for as long as the board will have him.Bank of America has invested some of its savings from Trump’s tax cuts in services and branches, he said.Carney Sees ‘Fundamental Reshaping’ of Financial System (4:30 p.m.)Rising awareness about the impact of climate change has triggered a “fundamental reshaping” of the financial system, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.“Once you get a common approach to this, and dialog around it, then you have a market and then you know where to put the pressure,” Carney said in a panel discussion on promoting “Green Growth.”“Right now, the conversation can be deflected so easily because different people are talking about different priorities with a different language,” he added.Australia’s Cormann Sees Climate Link to Bushfires (4:35 p.m.)Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said there’s little doubt that the extremity of raging wildfires can be partly linked to climate-change effects.“Australia has been well prepared to deal with emergencies, but this was a particularly devastating, extreme event,” he said. “There’s no doubt that climate change has had an impact, it worsens the intensity of the events and there is certainly more we need to do to manage the events when they occur.”Cormann added that the country “absolutely does its bit when it comes to effective action on climate change.”Trump Is ‘Very Happy’ With French Tariff, Digital-Tax Talks (4:28 p.m.)President Trump says he is happy with the outcome of talks with France after he and President Emmanuel Macron agreed to a truce in their dispute over digital taxes.“We had a very good conversation, it worked out very well, the U.S. is very happy with the result, and we appreciate very much what President Macron did,” Trump said, declining to specify details of the agreement.China Says U.S. Trade Deal Won’t Hurt Imports From Others (4:06 p.m.)China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng said the country’s trade deal with the U.S. won’t hurt business for other countries.In the most high-profile remarks on the country’s economic policy since the accord was signed last week, Han said that its commitment to buy more from the U.S. is in line with its World Trade Organization obligations and won’t squeeze out other imports. Han also pledged to lower barriers for foreign investors as he set out the case for China’s engagement with the global economy.“China will open its door wider,” Han said. “Though facing some protectionism from some countries, the determination to open up will not waver.”Cisco Looks Past China Tension, Brexit for Rebound (3:57 p.m.)Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins said the recent trade deals between the U.S. and China could help “re-energize” business after global uncertainty weighed on the company’s business outlook.In November, Cisco’s share price slumped after the networking company gave a sales forecast that was far below analysts’ projections, pressured in large part by rising global political and economic turmoil. In an interview, Robbins attributed this “business pause” to Brexit and tensions between China and the U.S., but is optimistic looking past these issues.Kosovo President Vows to Pursue EU Integration (3:30 p.m.)Kosovo’s president pledged to work with his pick for premier to advance the country’s efforts to join the European Union and NATO and expects Prime Minister-designate Albin Kurti to create a government “very soon.”“We have one goal: to move as fast as possible toward European integration and to be a member of NATO,” President Hashim Thaci said in an interview on the sidelines of the forum.Trump Talking ‘Big Trade Deal’ With EU (3:20 p.m.)President Trump said he would be discussing a “big trade deal” with EU officials in Davos.“We’ve been talking about it for a while, and hopefully we can get something done,” he told reporters during a meeting with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “A deal between ourselves and essentially Europe is something we all want to be able to make.”Trump said he had heard von der Leyen is a “very tough negotiator, which is bad news for us, because we’re going to talk about a big trade deal.”Both sides agreed to meet “soon” in Washington to “move the common transatlantic agenda forward,” the Commission said.Protesters Echo Greta’s Call for Action (3:15 p.m.)About 200 climate activists gathered in Davos to protest against the World Economic Forum and what they said was lack of action to stop global warming, with banners that read “Strike WEF. Eat the rich,” “World Economic Fail” and “WEF managers: listen to Greta.”The demonstrators, which included school children chanting “save the planet,” congregated about one kilometer away from the venue where global business and political leaders gathered. Thunberg, the 17-year old Swedish activist who spoke earlier, didn’t attend the rally. Swiss police prevented demostrators from blocking the main thoroughfare in Davos.Starbucks Says Hold the Milk to Cut Carbon Footprint (3 p.m.)To cut your morning coffee’s carbon footprint, skip the Frappuccino and take a plain black espresso. Overall, dairy products are the biggest source of carbon-dioxide emissions, according to an environmental assessment by Starbucks Corp. By 2030, the cafe chain is targeting 50% reductions in carbon emissions, water withdrawal and waste sent to landfills.“We know this journey will be challenging, we know we can’t do this alone, and we know this will require others to join us,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in an interview.U.S. Tax System Fosters Inequality: IMF’s Gopinath (2:50 p.m.)Inequality in the U.S. is still among the highest in advanced economies, and there is room to change tax rules to try to address that, according to International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Gita Gopinath.“There are some very wealthy individuals who can redefine labor income as capital income. That needs to be got rid of. It’s just not right for the times,” Gopinath said during a panel on the U.S. economy.“Similarly when it comes to estate taxes, there is a windfall to beneficiaries of wealthy individuals,” she added. “These are kinds of low-hanging fruit that I think need to be addressed so that going forward there is more opportunity spread around.”Mnuchin Says U.S. Growth Predictions Too Low (2:40 p.m)Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said growth projections for the U.S. economy for this year are probably too low and recent trade agreements with China, Mexico and Canada will provide a boost in 2020.“There’s no question, when we look ahead to 2020, that business in the U.S. feels very good,” Mnuchin said during a panel discussion on “Testing America’s Economic Resilience.” “And there’s no question that the two trade deals that we’ve done will have an impact this year.”Mnuchin added that Boeing Co.’s problems with its 737 Max aircraft could remain a drag on the economy and that he doesn’t comment on Federal Reserve policy. Asked why Trump does and he chooses not to, Mnuchin said: “He’s the president, and I’m the Secretary of the Treasury.”China’s Han Calls for ‘Inclusive’ World Economy (2:30 p.m.)Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng said “risks and uncertainties” are increasing and the only way to counter them is to foster “an inclusive and open world economy.”“Unilateral and protectionist practices which run counter to the global trend will lead nowhere,” Han said in a special address. “They will only weaken the foundations of global growth and trade and end up hurting everyone’s interests. To resolve the difficulties and the problems in economic globalization, the fundamental solution lies in building an inclusive and open world economy together.”Stiglitz Predicts ‘Significant Haircuts’ in Argentina (2:25 p.m.)Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned investors in Argentine debt that they should be prepared for major losses.“The reality is there will have to be significant haircuts,” Stiglitz said in a Bloomberg interview. “I cannot conceive of any reasonable model not saying that there has to be significant haircuts. It would be fantasy to think otherwise.”Stiglitz mentored Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman, who is in charge of renegotiating Argentina‘s debt.Citigroup Reassures Branch Workers (2:15 p.m.)Citigroup Inc. spends about $8.5 billion a year on technology, but the bank’s boss says that doesn’t mean branch workers will all be replaced by machines anytime soon.Modernizing the bank’s app and digital-banking experience won’t necessarily result in Citigroup needing fewer people in its retail bank, Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Instead, it will mean “being smarter” about how those employees are used, he said.Trump Takes Veiled Swipe at Climate ‘Alarmists’ (1:54 p.m.)Trump launched a veiled attack on environmental “alarmists,” taking a swipe at the World Economic Forum’s key focus this year.Trump invoked those who predicted an “overpopulation crisis” and the end of oil, saying: “These alarmists always demand the same thing, absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”“This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism,” he said in his speech, which was watched by Thunberg. “Fear and doubt is not a good thought process, because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action, but to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.”BlackRock’s Fink: Government Dependency a Key Climate Risk (1:40 p.m.)BlackRock Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the biggest risk on the path to a carbon-neutral economy is being too dependent on governments to take action, saying they’re not equipped to handle the task on their own.“Climate change is now becoming an investment risk,” Fink said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. The transition to a carbon-free economy will take over 50 years, and “the key thing that we need to do is find ways to mitigate those risks while we are dependent on carbon,” he added.Thunberg Calls for ‘Real Zero’ Carbon Emissions (1 p.m.)Thunberg called on the world’s polluters to aim for “real zero” carbon emissions rather than “net zero” and said “our house is still on fire.”“We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers,” Thunberg said in a speech at a panel on “Averting a Climate Apocalypse.”“We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate,” she added.“We demand participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.”Blackstone’s Schwarzman Reacts to Trump Speech (12:30 p.m.)“It was for several different constituencies,” Blackstone Group Inc. Chairman Steve Schwarzman said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “This was a speech to basically say ‘I think we need some perspective and let’s look at what’s happened under this administration.’ That is not just for domestic consumption, it’s meant to be heard in the broader context.”The billionaire co-founder of the New York-based private equity firm has previously advised Trump and was present in the White House when he announced the first part of the China-U.S. trade deal.Trump Urges Nations to Join Together (12.15 p.m.)Trump concluded his speech by calling on world leaders to join together to “make our nations stronger, our countries safer, our culture richer, our people freer, and the world more beautiful than ever before.”“Above all else, we will forever be loyal to our workers, our citizens and our families, the men and women who are the backbone of our economies, the heart of our communities and the soul of our countries,” Trump said. “Let us bring light to their lives one by one and empower them to light up the world.”Trump Hails ‘Blue-Collar Boom’ (12 p.m.)Trump said the economic strength of the U.S. is benefiting ordinary people and “the workers come first” under his administration.“The U.S. celebrating the dignity of work is a fundamental pillar of our agenda,” he said. “This is a blue-collar boom. The American dream is back, bigger better and stronger than ever before.”Trump Attacks Fed for Interest-Rates Policy (11:55 a.m.)Trump renewed his feud with the Federal Reserve, saying the central bank raised interest rates too quickly.These great numbers are “despite the fact the the Fed has raised rates too fast and lowered them too slowly,” Trump said. “I see such tremendous potential for the future. We have not even started, because the numbers we’re talking about are massive. The time for skepticism is over.”CEOs Complain They Can’t Save the Planet on Their Own (11:50 a.m.)As the financial industry comes under pressure to avoid funding dirty energy, the heads of Citigroup Inc. and Zurich Insurance Group AG said they need their clients to do more work too.“I say to our clients, ‘I don’t want to be the sharp end of the spear,’” enforcing industry standards, Michael Corbat, chief executive officer of New York-based Citigroup, said Tuesday in a panel discussion. “You should set those, you get proper buy-in and we will be here to support you.”Mario Greco, the CEO of Zurich Insurance, agreed with Corbat that carbon is mispriced, and said insurance firms are having a tough time deciding what to underwrite as a result.Trump Trumpets His Economic Achievements (11:50 a.m.)In his speech, Trump said that the U.S. “is in the midst of economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before.”“We’ve regained our stride; we discovered our spirit and reawakened the powerful machinery of American enterprise,” Trump said. “America’s thriving; America is flourishing and, yes, America is winning again like never before.”Trump Says Impeachment is ‘Just a Hoax’ (11:40 a.m.)Trump told reporters on the way into his speech that the impeachment trial is “just a hoax” and a “witchhunt that’s been going on for years.”“Frankly it’s disgraceful,” he added. “We look forward to being here. We’re meeting with the biggest companies in the world, the biggest businesses in the world and world leaders, all for the benefit of the United States.”Immigrants Key to Growth, Microsoft CEO Says (11:40 a.m.)Microsoft Corp’s chief executive officer warned that countries that fail to attract immigrants will lose out as the global tech industry continues to grow.“Every country is rethinking what is in their national interest,” Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.Governments need to “maintain that modicum of enlightenment and not think about it very narrowly,” Nadella added. “People will only come when people know you’re an immigrant-friendly country.”Nokia’s Suri Predicts Productivity Boom (11:35 a.m.)The next industrial revolution will bring about “massive productivity growth” the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades, according to Nokia Oyj Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri.Speaking on a panel about manufacturing, Suri estimated that productivity should increase by as much as 35% starting in about 2028. The gains will be seen first in the U.S. and a few years later in China, India and the European Union, he predicted.Naspers CEO Sees Growth in Second-Hand Clothes (11:30 a.m.)Naspers Ltd., Africa’s biggest company by market value, expects second-hand clothing sales online to pick up as companies around the world look to cut production of new goods to help address climate change.“We are big investors in trading in second-hand clothes -- we think the world will need more recycling over time,” Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk told Bloomberg TV. “In classifieds, we are helping to reduce the production of new goods.”Bremmer Says Delegates Like Trump’s Policies (11 a.m.)Ian Bremmer, president of consulting firm Eurasia Group, said Davos delegates may not like Trump but “they like his policies.”“They like the regulatory rollback, they like his cabinet, they like his tax policy,” Bremmer told Bloomberg TV, adding that an informal poll of about 40 to 50 delegates he conducted showed there is “zero panic” about Trump winning a second term.“You can have Greta here, you can have a bunch of people talking about climate and sustainability, but the reality is that Trump doesn’t drive people crazy at Davos the way he does in the United States,” Bremmer said.Trump is likely to show his “triumphalist, unilateralist” side in his speech. “This is going to be Trump saying victory lap, I’m the greatest ever, my economy is doing well, my markets are taking off, look how much money I’m making you guys.”Huawei CEO Dismisses Threat of U.S. Escalation (10:50 a.m.)Huawei Technologies Co. founder Ren Zhengfei played down the threat that the U.S. will impose even stricter sanctions against his company, saying he is confident China’s largest tech company can survive further attacks.“This year, the U.S. might further escalate its campaign against Huawei but I feel the impact on Huawei’s business would not be very significant,” he said during a panel discussion.IBM Proposes Rules to Counter AI Bias (10 a.m.)IBM called for rules aimed at eliminating bias in artificial intelligence to ease concerns that the technology relies on data that bakes in discriminatory practices and could harm women, minorities, the disabled and others.“It seems pretty clear to us that government regulation of artificial intelligence is the next frontier in tech policy regulation,” Chris Padilla, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at International Business Machines Corp., said ahead of a Wednesday panel on AI to be led by Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty.Mnuchin Says EU Car Tariffs Not Curently Planned (9:10 a.m.)Car tariffs on producers in the European Union are not currently planned to enforce Iran sanctions, but they remain in President Trump’s toolbox, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.The U.S. will likely have $1 trillion deficits for a couple more years and the next phase of the China trade deal may not be a “big bang,” Mnuchin told the newspaper.HKEX CEO Li Shrugs Off Virus Concerns (8:50 a.m.)Charles Li, chief executive officer of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., shrugged off concerns about the outbreak of a deadly virus originating in central China.“There are a lot of things that impact investor sentiment but you have to think that structurally the market is very resilient,” Li said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.Thunberg Says ‘Nothing Been Done’ on Climate (8:45 a.m.)Speaking on a panel about sustainability, Thunberg said people are more aware about environmental issues now but that “pretty much nothing has been done” to tackle climate change as emissions of carbon dioxide have not declined.“Without treating this as a real crisis we cannot solve it,” Thunberg said. “It will require much more than this, this is just the very beginning.”The panel didn’t attract leaders of the fossil fuels companies attending the forum, with most senior oil and gas executives absent.Trump Wants ‘Hundreds of Billions’ for U.S. (8:30 a.m.)Trump arrived in Switzerland with ongoing impeachment proceedings on his mind. He tweeted throughout much of the flight, largely about a Senate trial due to get underway there Tuesday. But he said his Davos appearance is all about the economy.His aim is to “bring Good Policy and additional Hundreds of Billions of Dollars back to the United States of America,” he wrote on Twitter.“We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!,” Trump tweeted ahead of his arrival in Davos just after 9:30 a.m. local time. He also took a swipe at what he called “Fake News Media,” accusing it of hating to talk about the economy and “how incredible it is.”IEA’s Birol Worried About Situation in Iraq (8:15 a.m.)Fatih Birol, executive director at the International Energy Agency, told Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua that the situation in Iraq is currently his main concern in the oil markets.“Recent developments in Iraq are not very comforting,” Birol said. “I see Iraq as a major issue, which is very important for the oil markets but also for the world economy, which is already very fragile. I really hope we all see an Iraq that has some stability and production can go ahead.”German Greens Leader Sides With Trump on Spending Critique (7:40 a.m.)Robert Habeck, co-leader of Germany’s opposition Greens party, told Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua that the government needs to rethink its balanced-budget policy and spend more in areas like climate-friendly infrastructure.Habeck attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “fetishism” about balancing the budget and said that although he’s not a fan of U.S. President Donald Trump, the criticism in the U.S. about Germany not spending enough is valid.The Greens, who are currently Germany’s second-most popular party behind Merkel’s bloc, have been out of government for too long and are ready to take on the responsibility of running Europe’s biggest economy, Habeck added.Monday CatchupIMF Trims Global Growth Outlook But Tones Down Risk WarningsMore Than Half of CEOs See Global Growth Slowing This YearEU Agonizes Over Troop Deployment With Libyan Oil Flows BlockedMacron, Trump May Have Tariff Truce in 2020 Digital Tax FightBlackRock’s Hildebrand Says Lawmakers Key to Climate FightPhilip Morris Steps Up Vaping Plan, Keeps Close Ties With AltriaMachin at Davos Warns Pension Funds on Rush to Illiquid Assets\--With assistance from Eyk Henning, Sridhar Natarajan, Andrea Dudik, Simon Kennedy, Shelley Robinson and Saleha Mohsin.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Rogers in Berlin at irogers11@bloomberg.net;Chris Reiter in Berlin at creiter2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, ;Simon Kennedy at skennedy4@bloomberg.net, Iain Rogers, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:06:31 -0500
  • Iranian attending college in Boston is denied entry to US

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    An Iranian student attending college in Boston was denied entry to the U.S. and ordered to immediately fly back to his native country, despite a court order temporarily staying his removal, immigration lawyers and civil rights groups said Tuesday. Shahab Dehghani, a 24-year-old economics student at Northeastern University, arrived in Boston with a valid student visa but was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at Logan International Airport, according to his lawyer Kerry Doyle.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:05:28 -0500
  • Iran Could Pursue a Nuclear Weapon to Restore Deterrence Lost in Suleimani Strike

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    Iran may want to create the idea that there’s a risk—however minimal—it could use a nuclear weapon. But it would be just enough of a risk to restrain its adversaries.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:55:00 -0500
  • AP FACT CHECK: Trump's Davos remarks rife with distortion

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    On a rarefied world stage in the Swiss Alps, President Donald Trump cited accomplishments on clean air that aren't real, a level of economic progress he hasn't achieved and a blue-collar boom yet to be seen. Trump signed a law in December restoring money that lapsed for several months when Congress failed to reauthorize some $255 million in financing on time. The money came back because Senate education leaders reached a compromise on a broader dispute that had entangled financing for black schools.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:52:58 -0500
  • Many Lebanese say acting FM has no business being at Davos

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    Lebanon’s acting foreign minister is attending the elite annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss village Davos. Many Lebanese took to social media to tell the forum they think Gebran Bassil has no business being there. Another said Bassil bragged last year at Davos that he can teach others how to run a country without a budget while Lebanon grappled with its worst economic crisis.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:49:33 -0500
  • What you need to know before 2020 census starts in Alaska

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    U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham will be there to conduct the first count in the Bering Sea community of Toksook Bay. WHY IS THE 2020 CENSUS STARTING IN ALASKA? With its sparse population and subzero temperature, rural Alaska can be hard to reach, and some of its villages are accessible only when the ground is frozen.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:48:17 -0500
  • Office of Venezuela's Guaidó raided during his trip abroad

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    Intelligence police raided the office of Juan Guaidó on Tuesday, while the U.S.-backed opposition leader was travelling in Europe seeking to bolster support for his campaign to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Masked officers from feared SEBIN intelligence police unit blocked the building's entrances and lined the street with their vehicles, barring entry by lawmakers aligned with Guaidó. The United States and about 60 other nations recognize Guaidó, who heads the opposition-dominated National Assembly, as Venezuela's legitimate president.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:46:27 -0500
  • DAVOS-Lam launches Hong Kong charm drive as protests persist

    Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam sought on Tuesday to convince global business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the Asian financial hub is open for business. Hong Kong's status has come under scrutiny as seven months of sometimes violent demonstrations paralysed parts of the city and forced businesses to close, posing the gravest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012. Lam and "Team HK", including its trade secretary, top officials from the stock exchange, airport authority, MTR Corp and the head of Swire Group, are in the Swiss mountain resort after Moody's this week downgraded Hong Kong.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:46:08 -0500
  • At 90, Alaska Native woman is 1st counted in US Census

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    Lizzie Chimiugak has lived for 90 years in the windswept western wilds of Alaska, born to a nomadic family who lived in mud homes and followed where the good hunting and fishing led. "Elders that were before me, if they didn’t die too early, I wouldn’t have been the first person counted," Lizzie Chimiugak said, speaking Yup'ik language of Yugtun, with family members serving as interpreters. The decennial U.S. census has started in rural Alaska, out of tradition and necessity, ever since the U.S. purchased the territory from Russia in 1867.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:45:25 -0500
  • Ex-CIA contractor defends brutal post-9/11 interrogations

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    An architect of the brutal CIA interrogation and detention program developed after the Sept. 11 attacks defended the agency and its practices on Tuesday as those techniques become the focus of an effort to dismiss key evidence against five men charged in the terrorist plot. James Mitchell spent the first day of what is expected to be at least a week of questioning by defense teams at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, providing details about the CIA's interrogation program as well as what he said was the “context” necessary to understand it. The CIA was the “tip of the spear” in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was urgently trying to gather vital intelligence using techniques that had been authorized by the U.S. government, the retired Air Force psychologist told the court.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:37:00 -0500
  • Jess Phillips Quits Race to Replace Corbyn as U.K. Labour Leader

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Jess Phillips quit the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the U.K. Labour Party, saying she was unable to unite the divided movement.Phillips failed to win the necessary backing from trade unions and local parties to get on the final ballot. There are now four candidates left in the contest to succeed Corbyn, who last month led the party to its worst election defeat since the 1930s.Life After Corbyn? The Politicians Vying to Become Labour Leader“The Labour Party will need to select a candidate that can unite all parts of our movement -- the union movement, the members and elected representatives,” Phillips said in a video on YouTube Tuesday. “I have to be honest that at this time, that person isn’t me.”The new leader will have the task of reviving the U.K.’s main opposition party. Under Corbyn, the party became bitterly divided over his socialist policies, accusations of antisemitism, and an ambiguous policy on Brexit.Corbyn CriticPhillips, 38, was a vocal critic of Corbyn, making her a divisive candidate unpopular with his supporters, who saw her as undermining his efforts. She didn’t say which of the four remaining candidates she would support.The backbench member of Parliament had already said her campaign was not going well, and on Monday she failed to gain the support of retail trade union Usdaw, which instead backed front-runner Keir Starmer. As Labour’s fourth-largest affiliate, Usdaw would have helped get Phillips over the line, but instead assured Starmer of a place in the final ballot.Under the complex rules of the contest, candidates need to secure the backing of either 33 constituency Labour parties, or three affiliates, two of which must be unions and make up at least 5% of affiliated membership.Starmer’s main rival, Rebecca Long-Bailey, hopes to win the support of Unite or the Communication Workers Union. On Wednesday, the GMB union backed Lisa Nandy, calling her “a breath of fresh air in the debate over Labour’s future.”Four RemainThe fourth candidate remaining is Emily Thornberry. Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman just scraped through the first phase of the contest, which required candidates to secure the backing of 22 MPs and Members of the European Parliament.Writing in the Guardian newspaper on Monday, Phillips said her first hustings had been “awful” and it was highly unlikely anyone except Starmer or Long-Bailey would win the race.“I was awful because I was trying to hit a million different lines and messages in 40 seconds,” she wrote. “Some were my lines, some were other people’s and it fell flat.”\--With assistance from Thomas Penny.To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Alex Morales, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:29:28 -0500
  • UN rights panel finds climate change can be cause for asylum

    A U.N. human rights panel has ruled for the first time that people fleeing the effects of climate change may be entitled to claim asylum, even as it dismissed an individual plaintiff's case against his deportation from New Zealand. The U.N. Human Rights Committee published its ruling Tuesday in the case of a man from Kiribati who was sent back to the Pacific island nation after being denied asylum by New Zealand in 2015. The Geneva-based panel, which monitors states' compliance with the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, concluded that although the deportation was legal, similar cases might in future justify asylum claims.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:08:48 -0500
  • Johnson Victory Sees Lords Fight Losing Battle Over Brexit Bill

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost another vote on his Brexit bill in the House of Lords on Tuesday, but his commanding victory in last month’s general election means his plan to take the U.K. out of the European Union on Jan. 31 won’t be derailed.Parliament’s unelected upper chamber voted to reinsert provisions -- dropped by the government -- to protect child refugees after Brexit. It follows three defeats for Johnson on Monday, including on documentation for EU residents and the way British courts deal with EU case law after the U.K. leaves the bloc. The legislation returns to the House of Commons on Wednesday.Prior to the Dec. 12 election, when Johnson led a minority Conservative government, votes in the Lords held considerable weight in the elected lower chamber. Now that he’s armed with an 80-seat Commons majority, any changes made by peers will effectively be put forward in an advisory capacity.“It surely isn’t too much to ask” for the government “to think again,” John Thomas, a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, told fellow Lords on Tuesday as he introduced an amendment -- a clear indication of just how much the political landscape has changed.Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, was forced to make a series of concessions to the Lords as she fought to get her Brexit deal through Parliament. She accepted amendments, including the one peers voted for again on Tuesday which seeks to ensure that unaccompanied refugee children still have the right to join their families in the U.K. after it leaves the EU.Rejection“We’re not planning to accept any amendments” when the legislation returns to the Commons, Johnson’s spokesman James Slack told reporters when asked about the Lords’ votes.Johnson’s victory has effectively curtailed the power of the Lords to block legislation because convention dictates that proposed bills or policies included in the winning party’s election manifesto should be allowed to pass. The Tory campaign was dominated by Johnson’s pledge to “Get Brexit Done,” leaving little doubt voters knew his intention.The government’s Brexit legislation -- including amendments made by the Lords -- will return to the Commons, where they are likely to be removed before the bill returns to the upper house for approval. This so-called ping-pong process continues until the Lords back down, or until the Commons invokes the Parliament Act and uses Johnson’s majority to force through the bill without peers’ consent.Given that would spark a constitutional clash, it’s unlikely the Lords will seek to amend Johnson’s bill when it comes back.Meanwhile Alf Dubbs, the Labour peer who introduced the amendment to protect refugee children, said he doesn’t trust government promises that future legislation will cover his concerns.“Ministers have said to me this is a matter of trust,” Dubs told the House of Lords on Tuesday. “I trust individual ministers, but I don’t trust the government as a whole.”With Johnson’s majority, the new reality is sinking in.(Updates with Lords vote in first paragraph)\--With assistance from Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Alex MoralesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:05:25 -0500
  • It’s Donald Trump Versus Greta Thunberg in ‘Prophets of Doom’ Climate Showdown

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.They are the two highest profile attendees at this year’s annual World Economic Forum, but their respective recipes for global salvation couldn’t be further apart.President Donald Trump and climate activist Greta Thunberg talked past each other in dueling speeches at Davos on Tuesday that underscored the difficulty in achieving any kind of consensus on the urgency of the environmental challenges facing the planet.Trump, addressing the annual meeting of the business and political elite hours before his impeachment trial kicked off in Washington, avoided the WEF’s key topic this year of climate change, beyond a dismissive reference to “alarmists” determined to “control every aspect of our lives.”“We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse,” he told an audience that included Thunberg, adding that his stewardship of the booming U.S. economy, spurred on by soaring oil and gas production, meant that “this is a time for optimism.”Thunberg, in typically uncomprising comments made at either end of Trump’s appearance, accused the elite Davos crowd of “empty words and promises” that amounted to doing nothing about climate change.EntrenchedEven if the anticipated Trump versus Greta rematch (after she scowled at him at the United Nations in New York) may not have quite materialized -- neither mentioned the other by name, nor did they meet -- their clear and unbridgeable differences reflect equally entrenched sides of the climate debate.Only a handful of executives from the oil, gas and coal industries that are chiefly responsible for warming the planet were seen attending the panel at which Thunberg spoke, for example. Trump was greeted on arrival by giant letters etched in the Davos snow spelling out: “ACT ON CLIMATE.”Davos delegates may not like Trump but “they like his policies,” Ian Bremmer, president of consulting firm Eurasia Group, told Bloomberg TV. “You can have Greta here, you can have a bunch of people talking about climate and sustainability, but the reality is that Trump doesn’t drive people crazy at Davos the way he does in the United States.”Hundreds of climate activists arrived on foot on Tuesday following a three-day march across the Swiss Alps. Protesters will gather at the ski resort and stage a demonstration calling for the end of the World Economic Forum. Police said traffic was halted temporarily as a march of 100 activists or more made its way to the Swiss town.Environmental RisksStill, the concerns among the business and political elite are real. Oil and gas executives are scheduled to meet for a private dinner tonight in Davos, in which climate change is expected to be a top topic of behind-the-doors discussion, according to an executive who planned to attend the dinner and asked not to be named as it’s a private event.This year for the first time on record, environmental risks occupy the WEF’s top five long-term concerns, while corporate executives say they’re increasingly concerned about environmental issues. That reality also places governments are the forefront of the response.BlackRock Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the “biggest risk” on the path to a carbon-neutral economy is being too dependent on governments to take action, since they’re not equipped to handle the task on their own.“Climate change is now becoming an investment risk,” Fink said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. The transition to a carbon-free economy will take over 50 years, and “the key thing that we need to do is find ways to mitigate those risks while we are dependent on carbon,” he said.Many at Davos are preparing for another four years of Trump, expecting him to win a second term in November’s presidential election, according to Eurasia’s Bremmer. That would likely mean a continued U.S. focus on coal and other fossil fuels from a president who withdrew from the Paris climate accord.In his speech, Trump gave a nod to environmental issues by saying the U.S. would join a WEF initiative to restore, conserve or plant a trillion trees by 2030.For Trump, the U.S. is an example to the world. “The American dream is back, bigger, better and stronger than before,” he said.For Thunberg, addressing a panel on “averting a climate apocalypse,” the status quo is not an option. “Our house is still on fire,” she said.(Updates with U.S. joining tree effort in 15th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Chris Reiter.To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.net;Javier Blas in Davos at jblas3@bloomberg.net;Alan Crawford in Berlin at acrawford6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at skennedy4@bloomberg.net, Justin BlumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:56:47 -0500
  • Northeastern College Student Deported to Iran Despite Judge’s Order

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    The attorneys for a 24-year-old Iranian national and Northeastern University student who inspired protests at Boston Logan International Airport over the weekend said their client was deported late Monday in spite of a federal court order.Shahab Dehghani was detained Sunday night at about 5 p.m. when he arrived to study economics at the private school on a valid F1 student visa. He was held for secondary questioning by federal agents, and more than 100 people reportedly came out to demonstrate on his behalf outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) area of the airport for at least three hours on Monday. Protesters chanted “let Shahab in,” “do the right thing,” “stop deporting students,” and “let him in!”Dehghani was ordered removed from the U.S. without his having access to a lawyer, WBUR reported, but his attorneys, Susan Church and Kerry Doyle, filed an emergency federal petition on his behalf Monday night. The filing claimed CBP agents violated Dehghani’s rights when they detained him at the airport in the first place.U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs granted the order, scheduled a hearing in Boston federal court at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to discuss the matter, and appeared to delay Dehghani’s removal.“It is not a total victory. It is a partial victory,” Church told a crowd of protesters on Monday night, according to MassLive.com.Despite that order, Church said on Twitter Tuesday morning that Shahab Dehghani was “removed from the U.S. at 10:03 p.m.” Monday after agents told “multiple attorneys” that he was taken off the plane about 30 minutes earlier.Church tweeted on Tuesday morning: “THEY LIED.”A CBP spokesperson said in a statement that the agency could not confirm or deny that Dehghani was even in custody, citing the Privacy Act.“Applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the U.S. by overcoming all grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds,” the statement said.Judge Richard G. Stearns reportedly dismissed the case during a Tuesday morning hearing, declaring the issue moot—since Dehghani had already been deported—and noting that he did not believe he had the authority to order CBP to allow for the student’s return, according to WBUR.During the 10 a.m. hearing in Boston federal court, CBP attorneys also disputed the timeline presented by Dehghani’s attorneys, one of whom said Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey received confirmation that the emergency stay order was granted before the flight took off, WBUR reported. In court, the agency’s attorneys reportedly claimed that Dehghani’s plane left before the order was issued.“We are aware that a Northeastern University student who is an Iranian citizen has been denied entry to the United States,” school spokeswoman Shannon Nargi said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Northeastern welcomes thousands of international students and supports them with an array of resources. We have been in touch with federal officials to learn more about this case and to provide our student with the appropriate assistance to facilitate a successful return to Northeastern.”Dehghani previously attended University of Massachusetts Boston and was in the country for more than two years before he returned to Iran to visit family in December 2018, MassLive.com reported.Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently requested more information from CBP about additional security measures that may target Iranian travelers entering the country. The Guardian reported that the U.S. has deported at least 10 Iranian students with valid visas since August—despite the lengthy and intense approval process it takes to acquire that paperwork. Seven of those students had reportedly flown into Logan International Airport in Boston, and some now allege serious infractions by an individual CBP officer at the Boston airport, the newspaper reported.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:55:05 -0500
  • China Tries to Ease Concern U.S. Trade Deal Hurts Other Nations

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng told the World Economic Forum that the country’s trade deal with the U.S. won’t hurt rival exporting nations as complaints mount from governments that were left out of the agreement.In the most high-profile remarks on the country’s economic policy since the accord was signed last week, Han said that its commitment to buy more from the U.S. is in line with its World Trade Organization obligations and won’t squeeze out other imports. Han also pledged to lower barriers for foreign investors as he set out the case for China’s engagement with the global economy.“China will open its door wider,” Han told an audience in Davos, Switzerland. “Though facing some protectionism from some countries, the determination to open up will not waver.”The speech comes less than a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping sealed a “phase one” deal intended to de-escalate a trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump. The accord saw China commit to crack down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by its companies and state entities, while outlining a $200 billion spending spree to try to close its trade imbalance with the U.S.“The phase-one trade deal is good for U.S., China and the world,” Han said. “China’s increasing purchases of U.S. goods are in accordance with WTO guidelines and will not impact its imports from other countries.”Han made the comments just as Trump gave his own speech in Davos, in which the U.S. president claimed credit for overseeing an economy enjoying its longest expansion yet, with an unemployment rate that fell to a five-decade low after tax cuts, deregulation and improved trade deals. He also spoke of his close relationship with Xi.“He’s for China and I’m for the U.S., but other than that, we love each other,” he said.Under the agreement, China will boost purchases of U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, energy and services over the next two years. Critics say such pre-determined demand can have adverse consequences elsewhere.‘Managed Trade’”The real problem with managed trade is that it may divert, rather than expand, international commerce,” Chad Bown, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a report released Tuesday. “For example, China could purchase more American soybeans by cutting back on imports of oilseeds from Brazil.”Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy said China’s pledge to boost American imports could end up costing the European Union about $11 billion next year. “If trade costs and hence relative prices do not change, Chinese imports from the U.S. must come at the expense of third countries,” the institute said in a study published this week.Last week, EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan said his team will scrutinize whether China’s pledge is allowed under the WTO.“We haven’t analyzed the document in detail, but we will and if there’s a WTO-compliance issue of course we will take the case,” Hogan told a conference on Thursday in Washington.Separately, Australia is pushing China for the same dairy concessions that the U.S. received, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. As part of phase one of the deal, the U.S. secured regulatory breaks on dairy products shipped to China, barriers that have hampered Australian exporters, the newspaper reported last week.To contact the reporters on this story: Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.net;Crystal Chui in Zurich at tchui4@bloomberg.net;Bryce Baschuk in Geneva at bbaschuk2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Ben Sills, Brendan MurrayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:53:10 -0500
  • American journalist freed in Lebanon after questioning

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    An American freelance journalist who was detained in Lebanon on suspicion of broadcasting live footage of protests to an Israeli news outlet has been released, the journalist said Tuesday. Nicholas Frakes, 24, told The Associated Press he was released from nearly two days in detention after an official Lebanese investigation showed he was innocent. Security forces detained Frakes on Sunday night on suspicion of broadcasting live footage to the Israeli Haaretz.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:47:39 -0500
  • EU Should Make Up Its Mind on Candidate States, Serb Leader Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Applicants for European Union membership, mainly in the western Balkans, hope the bloc will clearly declare that it wants them as members, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said.Setbacks in the enlargement process, notably the rejection of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania last year, have thrown all hopefuls into doubt about what the world’s biggest trading bloc is planning, Vucic said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.“Just let us know what your final decision is on the western Balkans,” Vucic said Tuesday. “If it’s a positive decision, we’re very ready to boost not only our economic reforms but also political reforms and everything else.”The EU’s main condition for Serbia is for it to mend ties with Kosovo, which seceded with Western support after the two sides fought a 1998-1999 war and declared independence in 2008. Serbia, backed by its allies Russia and China, refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent state, and the EU won’t take new members that have unresolved territorial disputes.EU-brokered talks between Serbia and Kosovo may resume as soon as the latter revokes its punitive, 100% tax on Serbian goods, Vucic said. The tariff was imposed in 2018 in retaliation to Serbia’s lobbying to block Kosovo’s recognition in international bodies including the United Nations.The two countries took a small step toward partial rapprochement Monday, when they signed a U.S.-brokered deal that may allow them to resume commercial and cargo flights between Belgrade and Pristina, their capitals.“It’s up to them whether they want to revoke the tariffs or not,” Vucic said. Kosovo may have a new government in place next month, and it it lifts the trade barrier, “we are ready to come to the negotiation table,” he said.To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Dudik in Prague at adudik@bloomberg.net;Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Irina Vilcu at isavu@bloomberg.net, Michael Winfrey, Andrew LangleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:47:06 -0500
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