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Trump: China “broke the deal” in U.S.-China trade talks

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (May 8) that he would be happy to keep tariffs on Chinese imports as the two countries prepare for new talks to try to rescue a faltering trade deal amid a sharp increase in U.S. duties as he charged China with “breaking the deal.”

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401) GMT on Friday (May 10), right in the middle of two days of meetings between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Trump’s top trade officials in Washington.

Beijing announced it would retaliate if tariffs rise.

“The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the U.S. tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures,” China’s Commerce Ministry said on its website, without elaborating.

The world’s two largest economies have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat tariff war since July 2018 over the U.S. demands that the Asian powerhouse adopt policy changes that would, among other things, better protect American intellectual property and make China’s market more accessible to U.S. companies.

Expectations were recently riding high that a deal could be reached but a deep rift over the language of the proposed agreement opened up last weekend.

Reuters, citing U.S. government and private-sector sources, reported on Wednesday that China had backtracked on almost all aspects of a draft trade agreement, threatening to blow up the negotiations and prompting Trump to order the tariff increase.

Trump, who has embraced largely protectionist policies as part of his “America First” agenda, warned China on Wednesday that it was mistaken if it hoped to delay a trade deal until a Democrat controlled the White House.

The United States is demanding that Beijing make sweeping changes to its trade and regulatory practices, including protecting U.S. intellectual property from theft and forced transfers to Chinese firms, curbs on Chinese government subsidies and increased American access to China’s markets.

Trump also has sought massive hikes in Chinese purchases of U.S. farm, energy, and manufactured products to shrink a gaping U.S. trade deficit with China.

Sources familiar with the talks said China’s latest demands for changes to a 150-page document that had been drafted over several months would make it hard to avoid the U.S. tariff hike on Friday.

That increase would affect Chinese imports from computer modems and routers to vacuum cleaners, furniture, lighting, and building materials. (REUTERS)

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Internet abuzz over Google suspending business with Huawei

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Google has suspended some business with Huawei after United States President Donald Trump added Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to a trade blacklist.

This includes the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.

“Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app,” according to Reuters in an exclusive report.

Due to this, netizens are in a melting pot of emotions.

via GIPHY

Current Huawei users, however, have nothing to worry about since they will be able to use and download app updates provided by Google, according to a Google spokesperson.

“For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices,” the spokesperson said.—Reuters

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Mali: At least 15 killed in Bamako floods

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

At least 15 people died at the start to the rainy season in Bamako, the capital of Mali, following heavy overnight rain that flooded several parts of the city on Thursday (May 16).

Torrential rain started to fall at around 3a.m. (0300gmt) and stopped around 8a.m. (0800gmt), with residents waking to flooded streets, floating cars and damaged shops.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Security Amadou Sangho said the flooding had caused serious damage and rescue teams were also deployed.

At least 10 people were reported to have died in Niamakoro where a bridge was badly damaged.

There residents blamed local government for not managing the area. They said there was too much rubbish left in the streets and that it blocked the evacuation canals.

“For me this is a warning for the Niamakoro residents. the government only comes after the damage is done. We need to take care not to lose lives. they are talking about 6 to 10 people killed . And we need to be cleaner. Its because of the rubbish that it overflowed (the river),” said Moustapha Doumbia, resident of Niamakoro,

By early afternoon traffic resumed after the flood waters receded leaving behind thick mud, broken buildings and homeless residents left in the street with the few belongings they managed to rescue. (REUTERS)

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Qatar brings first newly-built 2022 World Cup stadium to life

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Qatar inaugurated the first of seven new World Cup 2022 stadiums on Thursday (May 16), just weeks before a crucial FIFA summit will decide whether to expand the tournament and potentially push it beyond the tiny Gulf state’s borders to accommodate a larger format.

Fans packed into the Al Janoub stadium, a 40,000 seat venue designed by late architect Zaha Hadid and made to resemble the sail of a dhow, or traditional wooden sailboat, to cheer on Qatari teams playing in the final of the Emir Cup, a local tournament for the country’s club sides.

The inauguration comes as soccer’s world governing body FIFA floats a plan to expand the next World Cup to 48 teams from 32, which could require a last-minute co-host despite a protracted dispute between Qatar and some of its neighbours, bans on alcohol and a lack of facilities restricting likely candidates.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a political and trade boycott on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.

That rift has strained efforts by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to push for a suitable Word Cup co-host even as qualifying matches begin early next month.

FIFA will host its annual congress in Paris on June 5, where it is expected to make a final call on the expansion, though any decision must be signed off by Qatar, the first Arab country to win hosting rights for the tournament in 2010.

The finals will start in November 2022, having been moved from the usual June-July slot to avoid the searing summer heat.

Al Janoub, a fully air-conditioned stadium which kept the temperature 10 degrees lower than the 29 Celsius outside during Thursday’s inauguration match, was previously called Al Wakrah after the city hosting it just south of Doha.

However, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani tweeted before the match that it was being renamed.

It is one of seven venues built from scratch for the 2022 World Cup, with an eighth stadium renovated and opened in 2017.

Qatar has pushed ahead with an ambitious scale-up of its infrastructure ahead of 2022 that includes $6-8 billion on stadiums and sporting facilities, part of efforts to use the tournament to diversify its energy economy and project itself on to the world stage through sport. (REUTERS)

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