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Nearly ¾ of transgender people slain since 2017 killed with guns  » 
21 Nov 2019, 6:19

Nearly ¾ of transgender people slain since 2017 killed with guns"Transgender violence is a gun violence issue," says Everytown for Gun Safety researcher


Police officer shot and killed while investigating home invasion in Detroit  » 
21 Nov 2019, 3:34

Police officer shot and killed while investigating home invasion in DetroitAccording to Police Chief James Craig, the officers were responding to a home invasion on Detroit’s west side.


Singapore ‘Repatriates’ Hongkonger Who Held Political Meeting  » 
21 Nov 2019, 3:14

Singapore ‘Repatriates’ Hongkonger Who Held Political Meeting(Bloomberg) -- A Hong Kong resident living in Singapore has been “repatriated” home after organizing an illegal gathering of mostly ethnic Chinese last month to talk about the ongoing protests, according to local media reports.Restaurant owner Alex Yeung, along with a 55-year-old former Hong Kong resident, were issued a “stern warning” over what was said to be a gathering of about 10 people sharing their views of the escalating protests, which is an offense under the Public Order Act. Yeung, who has a Youtube channel of largely pro-Beijing content was further instructed he would not be allowed to enter Singapore again without permission from the authorities.“Singapore has always been clear that foreigners should not advocate their political causes in Singapore, through public assemblies, and other prohibited means,” the Singapore Police Force told Channel News Asia late on Wednesday.Speaking from Singapore’s Changi Airport on Thursday morning ahead of his flight, Yeung said he was now free to go where he pleased and thanked Singapore for upholding the rule of law.Illegal Gatherings“The Singapore Police Force has made no indictment against me. I am warned to refrain from any criminal conduct in the future under their discretion,” he said in a video posted to YouTube. “Singapore is a very civilized country with very good security.”In 2017, Singapore revoked the permanent residency of prominent academic and China expert Huang Jing after he allegedly used his position to covertly advance the agenda of an unnamed foreign country at Singapore’s expense.Hong Kong has been gripped for days by the standoff at the city’s Polytechnic University, where hard-core protesters remain surrounded by police. The unrest began in June with largely peaceful marches against legislation allowing extraditions to mainland China and have since mushroomed into a broader push for demands including an independent probe into police violence and the ability to nominate and elect city leaders.Speaking to reporters on Monday, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing warned a similar situation could “easily happen” in his country if the government is complacent. Under restrictive laws, cause-related gatherings are illegal without a police permit and participants are subject to fines without it.\--With assistance from Chester Yung.To contact the reporter on this story: Philip J. Heijmans in Singapore at pheijmans1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


China Committed to Peace Despite Challenges, Vice President Says  » 
21 Nov 2019, 1:56

China Committed to Peace Despite Challenges, Vice President Says(Bloomberg) -- A top deputy to Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s commitment to market-based economic reforms, while warning that the international order “was under attack.”Vice President Wang Qishan, who’s one of China’s best known economic reformers, told Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum on Thursday that the country would follow through on policy changes despite facing serious challenges at home and aboard. He said the country would continue to let the market play a “decisive role” in the allocation for resources and stick to the path of peaceful development.“Between war and peace, the Chinese people firmly choose peace. Humanity cherishes peace,” Wang said in his keynote address in Beijing. “We should abandon the zero-sum thinking and cold war mentality.”The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Other guests include Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.Wang’s speech comes as the U.S. and China work to assemble a partial trade agreement, even as broader tensions mount in the U.S.-China relationship from human rights concerns over Hong Kong and the western region of Xinjiang to strategic competition in the South China Sea. The sides are making progress in key areas, according to people close to the talks, even as concerns grow that efforts to nail down the first phase of a broader deal are stalling.U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation passed by Congress supporting the Hong Kong protesters, a person familiar said, after the bill was approved unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday and passed the House 417-1 on Wednesday.Trump -- facing an impeachment inquiry at home -- may seek a political win by reaching a trade deal with China. Policy makers in Beijing face their own troubles with a slowing economy at home, as well as factory-price deflation, a fragile financial system and spiraling food costs in the wake of a catastrophic disease epidemic among the nation’s pig herd.“Development must be balanced and inclusive,” Wang said Thursday. “We need to work together to make economic globalization work for all people across the world.”Wang struck a less confrontational tone than when he addressed the same forum last year in Singapore as trade tensions were at a crescendo. In his remarks last year, he both reaffirmed China’s desire to move forward with trade talks and warned that his country wouldn’t again be “bullied and oppressed” by foreign powers.\--With assistance from Dandan Li and Tian Ying.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.net;Miao Han in Beijing at mhan22@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Sharon ChenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Arizona border activist found not guilty of hiding migrants  » 
20 Nov 2019, 22:54

Arizona border activist found not guilty of hiding migrantsAn Arizona jury on Wednesday found a human rights activist not guilty of harboring two migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, after the U.S. government prosecuted him for giving them food, water and shelter in the desert. The Tucson jury took just over two hours to decide that Scott Warren, 37, a geography professor, provided the men with legal humanitarian aid in January 2018 and did not deliberately conceal them from U.S. Border Patrol. A previous jury was unable to decide whether he broke the law by letting the men stay in a building near Ajo, Arizona, to recover from a two-day trek.


Mexicans sue Walmart over El Paso shooting  » 
20 Nov 2019, 22:13

Mexicans sue Walmart over El Paso shootingMexico's government said Wednesday it has helped 10 Mexican citizens file lawsuits against Walmart over an August shooting at a store in El Paso, Texas, where a suspected white nationalist killed 22 people. "The objective of these suits, presented in El Paso county, is to hold the company responsible for not taking reasonable and necessary measures to protect its clients from the attack," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Eight Mexicans were killed and eight wounded in the August 3 attack in El Paso, a city on the US-Mexican border where 83 percent of the population is Latino.


A Lack of Money Will Stop Russia from Building More Stealth Fighters  » 
20 Nov 2019, 21:00

A Lack of Money Will Stop Russia from Building More Stealth FightersOr at least enough more to make a big difference.


Lawyer for NSC Adviser Vindman Sends Letter to Fox Demanding Retraction of ‘Espionage’ Allegation  » 
20 Nov 2019, 20:50

Lawyer for NSC Adviser Vindman Sends Letter to Fox Demanding Retraction of ‘Espionage’ AllegationA lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman sent a letter to Fox News on Wednesday demanding the network either retract or issue a correction for a segment of the The Ingraham Angle, in which guest John Yoo, a former top lawyer in the Bush administration, seemed to suggest that Vindman might be guilty of espionage.Vindman, who listened to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that forms part of the impeachment probe, testified in House hearings on Tuesday regarding the matter. Vindman is a long-serving military officer whose family fled Soviet Ukraine when he was three years old.During the October 28 airing of "The Ingraham Angle," host Laura Ingraham speculated on Vindman's motives for testifying."Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest," Ingraham said. "Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?""I found that astounding,” Yoo responded. "Some people might call that espionage.""LTC Vindman and his family have been forced to examine options, including potentially moving onto a military base, in order to ensure their physical security in the face of threats rooted in the falsehood that Fox News originated," Vindman's lawyer David Pressman wrote.Pressman noted that espionage is a crime punishable by death, and that Vindman "had never in his decorated 20-year career of service to his country been accused of having dual loyalties or committing espionage."A spokeswoman for Fox News said she had no immediate comment when asked by the New York Times.Yoo wrote an op-ed in USA Today after the segment aired in which he clarified that he meant Ukraine may have committed an espionage operation, but that he didn't accuse Vindman specifically of espionage.Pressman wrote in his letter that "Mr. Yoo’s argument that he did not intend to accuse LTC of Vindman of ‘espionage’ — that he was accusing the nation of Ukraine instead — is as legally irrelevant as it is factually incredible."


American Airlines admits a midair accident that knocked out 2 flight crew was not caused by spilled soap  » 
20 Nov 2019, 19:19

American Airlines admits a midair accident that knocked out 2 flight crew was not caused by spilled soapAmerican Airlines admitted Tuesday the powerful fumes that knocked two flight attendants unconscious and forced a flight to make an emergency landing were not caused by spilled soap, as the airline had previously claimed.


Israel lurches towards third election after Benny Gantz fails to form government  » 
20 Nov 2019, 18:47

Israel lurches towards third election after Benny Gantz fails to form governmentIsrael lurched closer to an unprecedented third election in one year on Wednesday as Benjamin Netanyahu's centrist challenger admitted that he had failed to form a government. Both Mr Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, the former general who heads the centrist Blue & White party, have now tried and failed to form governments - pushing Israel into an ever deeper political crisis.  For the first time in Israeli history, neither of the major parties have succeeded in putting together a governing coalition.  The country now enters an unusual 21-day period where any of Israel’s 120 MPs, including Mr Gantz or Mr Netanyahu, can become prime minister if they can show they have the support of a majority of their colleagues.  If no clear winner emerges by December 11, Israel will plunge into its third election in 12 months. Aides to both Mr Gantz and Mr Netanyahu said they believed that was the likeliest outcome.  Mr Netanyahu has also failed to form a government Credit: ABIR SULTAN/EPA-EFE/REX Both party leaders said they were in favour of a national national government between Mr Gantz’s Blue & White and Mr Netanyahu’s Likud. But the two sides were never able to reach an agreement on what that unity government would look like.  In a scorching speech, Mr Gantz accused the prime minister of continuing the political crisis to shield himself from the criminal corruption charges he is facing. “You are leading us to a dangerous collision that will exert a historic price,” Mr Gantz warned.  Prosecutors are expected to bring a formal indictment on corruption charges against Mr Netanyahu next week. He denies any wrongdoing.  Mr Netanyahu insisted during negotiations that his Right-wing allies be part of any coalition government, a demand that Blue & White said was unacceptable. The two sides also discussed an arrangement in which Mr Gantz and Mr Netanyahu would rotate as prime minister but could not agree who would go first.  Meanwhile, More than 20 Iranian and Syrian regime fighters were reportedly killed in a wave of Israeli airstrikes in and around Damascus on Wednesday, marking the bloodiest Israeli raid in Syria in months.  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 foreign fighters, including Iranian soldiers, were killed during the attack along with seven Syrian regime troops. Two civilians were also reportedly killed.


Ken Starr on the Sondland testimony: 'It's over'  » 
20 Nov 2019, 16:57

Ken Starr on the Sondland testimony: 'It's over'Ken Starr, the former solicitor general who headed the investigation that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, called Wednesday's testimony by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland "obviously ... one of those bombshell days."Speaking on Fox News, Starr agreed with the hosts that things now do not "look good for the president substantively." Sondland's testimony, Starr said, confirmed that there was a quid pro quo between Trump's administration and the Ukrainian government -- which would be "bribery," in the jargon of impeachment. Sondland also said that the orders to push Kyiv to open an investigation into Trump's political rivals had come directly from the Oval Office.Starr focused specifically on the question of Trump's alleged contempt, noting that Sondland had spoken "vehemently and bitterly about his lack of access to records to help him." Additionally, the Democrats' line of questioning made clear that Sondland's attempts to refresh his memory for the testimony had been denied by the administration, which could build the Democrats' case for obstruction."There will be articles of impeachment," Starr said. "I think we've known that, it was just confirmed today. Substantively, what we heard from the chairman just now is: It's over. We now know -- this is his position -- we now know that the president in fact committed the crime of bribery." Watch below. > Ken Starr on Fox News: "It doesn't look good for the president, substantively." pic.twitter.com/kDBdx0DapS> > -- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 20, 2019More stories from theweek.com India is entering a new dark age Rep. Devin Nunes got help from indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas for 2018 Europe trip Outed CIA agent Valerie Plame is running for Congress, and her launch video looks like a spy movie trailer


REFILE-Extinction Rebellion aims to turn up political heat with hunger strikes  » 
20 Nov 2019, 16:22

REFILE-Extinction Rebellion aims to turn up political heat with hunger strikesExtinction Rebellion activists pressing for more rapid action on climate change threats on Wednesday entered a third day of a week-long hunger strikes in 27 countries. The strikes, which began Monday, have been in part spearheaded by 20-year-old Giovanni Tamacas, a University of San Diego student, who carried out a solo hunger strike last month in front of the White House. “We are hunger striking because we have no choice," he said in a statement, arguing governments and corporations "have criminally and catastrophically failed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency".


Amazon tried to remove a Seattle City Councilmember and lost. Here's how she describes taking on and defeating one of the world's biggest companies. (AMZN)  » 
20 Nov 2019, 16:11

Amazon tried to remove a Seattle City Councilmember and lost. Here's how she describes taking on and defeating one of the world's biggest companies. (AMZN)Amazon spent hundreds of thousands trying to defeat Seattle politician Kshama Sawant, who's openly critical of the tech giant, but she won reelection.


Meet NATO's New Command Whose Job Is to Stop a Russian Attack  » 
20 Nov 2019, 13:00

Meet NATO's New Command Whose Job Is to Stop a Russian AttackA lot of work to do.


Pompeo planning to resign over Trump, report claims  » 
20 Nov 2019, 12:43

Pompeo planning to resign over Trump, report claimsSecretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly told three prominent Republicans that he is planning to resign from the White House to run for a Senate seat.


FBI seeks interview with CIA whistleblower  » 
20 Nov 2019, 12:16

FBI seeks interview with CIA whistleblowerThe FBI recently sought to question the CIA whistleblower who filed a complaint over President Trump’s July 25 Ukraine call — a move that came after a vigorous internal debate within the bureau over how to respond to some of the issues raised by the complaint’s allegations and whether they needed to be more thoroughly investigated, according to sources familiar with the matter.


In rare move, N. Carolina county removes Confederate statue  » 
20 Nov 2019, 12:01

In rare move, N. Carolina county removes Confederate statueA North Carolina county removed a Confederate statue from a historic courthouse early Wednesday, joining the handful of places around the state where such monuments have come down in recent years despite a law protecting them. Preparations began Tuesday night to carefully dismantle the statue of a soldier outside the historic Chatham County courthouse, where it had stood since 1907, and continued for hours overnight, said county spokeswoman Kara Lusk Dudley. The removal comes months after Winston-Salem officials removed a Confederate statue from land there that had passed into private hands.


Turkey says about 100,000 Syrians left Istanbul since early July  » 
20 Nov 2019, 11:17

Turkey says about 100,000 Syrians left Istanbul since early JulyTurkey's Interior Minister said on Wednesday that around 100,000 Syrians living without approval in Istanbul had left it since early July, when the government set a deadline for Syrians not registered in the city to leave for other provinces. As sentiment towards Syrian refugees among Turks began to sour in recent years, authorities said Syrians not registered in Turkey's largest city should return to the provinces in which they are registered by Oct. 30, or face forced removal. Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees who fled the eight-year-old civil war, more than any other country.


Maria Ressa: "Our dystopian present is your dystopian future"  » 
20 Nov 2019, 10:15

Maria Ressa: "Our dystopian present is your dystopian future"Ressa was among a group of journalists recognized by Time magazine as 2018's Person of the Year


22 farmers arrested in India for causing air pollution  » 
20 Nov 2019, 9:41

22 farmers arrested in India for causing air pollutionTwenty-two farmers were arrested in northern India on Wednesday for setting fires to clear their fields and contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country, a government official said. India’s Supreme court last week ordered a fine of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,420) for those polluting the air. Air pollution in northern India peaks in the winter due to smoke from agricultural fires.


India Army to Cut Sniper Rifle Orders by About 70%  » 
20 Nov 2019, 9:35

India Army to Cut Sniper Rifle Orders by About 70%(Bloomberg) -- The Indian Army plans to buy just 1,800 state-of-the-art sniper rifles and 2.7 million rounds of ammunition -- less than a third of its total requirement -- driven by budgetary constraints and the need to speed up deliveries, people with knowledge of the matter said.The military pruned its original requirement of 5,720 sniper rifles and 10 million rounds of ammunition, which would have cost $140 million, to prioritize spending and advance the purchase of more modern equipment, they said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.Indian Army spokesman Aman Anand said he had no comment to offer on the change in procurement plans.The Indian armed forces have 450,000 infantry soldiers, of whom only half go into ground battle and an even smaller number of them use sniper rifles to take out specific enemy targets through precision firing.The move is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $250-billion modernization plan for the Indian defense forces, as the infantry soldiers continue to face the brunt of deadly attacks in disputed border areas such as Kashmir and the northeast.Plans to buy new equipment from global manufacturers, however, has been hit by bureaucratic delays and the Modi government’s desire to meet the needs of the armed forces through the domestic industry under his ‘Make in India’ initiative, a key plank to boost local defense manufacturing and woo his core supporters.The 1.3 million-strong Indian Army’s previous efforts to buy 5,720 sniper rifles in a process that began in Feb. 2018 was scrapped in July this year after four vendors, including the U.S.-based Barrett, Indonesia’s PT Pindad and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, failed to meet technical requirements, such as technology transfers for manufacturing the ammunition by local industry.Through the new bid to buy a smaller quantity of 8.6 mm sniper rifles and .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition, India wants to overcome the hurdles in first identifying the vendor to buy them in a fast-track mode, before placing future orders for 4,000 more sniper rifles.To contact the reporter on this story: N. C. Bipindra in New Delhi at nbipindra@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


UPDATE 1-U.S. to provide ship to Vietnam to boost South China Sea patrols  » 
20 Nov 2019, 8:59

UPDATE 1-U.S. to provide ship to Vietnam to boost South China Sea patrolsThe United States announced on Wednesday it will provide Vietnam with another coast guard cutter for its growing fleet of ships, boosting Hanoi's ability to patrol the South China Sea amid tensions with China. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper disclosed the decision during an address in Vietnam, which has emerged as the most vocal opponent in Asia of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. In his speech, Esper took aim at China, which he accused of "bullying" neighbours, like Vietnam.


Ex-British Consulate staff says Chinese police tortured him  » 
20 Nov 2019, 8:41

Ex-British Consulate staff says Chinese police tortured himA former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong says he was detained and tortured by Chinese secret police trying to extract information about massive anti-government protests in the territory. Simon Cheng said in an online statement and media interviews that he was hooded, beaten, deprived of sleep and chained to an X-shaped frame by plainclothes and uniformed agents as they sought information on activists involved in the protests and the role they believed Britain played in the demonstrations. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab summoned the Chinese ambassador in London to demand Beijing investigate.


Meet What Could be The U.S. Navy's Ultimate Weapon (As in a New Destroyer)  » 
20 Nov 2019, 8:11

Meet What Could be The U.S. Navy's Ultimate Weapon (As in a New Destroyer)Navy Flight III Destroyers have a host of defining new technologies not included in current ships.


Gay Saudi journalists detained in Australia after asylum bid  » 
20 Nov 2019, 7:47

Gay Saudi journalists detained in Australia after asylum bidTwo gay Saudi journalists who sought asylum in Australia after being threatened at home over their relationship have been held for weeks at an immigration detention centre, their lawyer said Wednesday. The couple arrived in Australia in mid-October on tourist visas but was singled out by airport customs officials -- then taken into detention -- when they admitted plans to seek asylum, lawyer Alison Battisson told AFP. "Australia being very well known for being... a safe place for LGBTI people, they were incredibly surprised and distressed," she said.


Son of former German president stabbed to death in Berlin  » 
20 Nov 2019, 7:28

Son of former German president stabbed to death in BerlinThe son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he worked as a head physician, police said Wednesday. A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he jumped up from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife on Tuesday evening. Von Weizsaecker died at the scene from a knife wound to the neck despite immediate attention from colleagues, said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors.


Seller of bullets to Las Vegas gunman pleads guilty to ammo licensing offense  » 
20 Nov 2019, 3:33

Seller of bullets to Las Vegas gunman pleads guilty to ammo licensing offenseDouglas Haig, 57, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first and only person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre, which ended when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig told reporters following his arrest early last year that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold to Paddock in September 2017 was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.


Russia's TU-22M3 Backfire Bomber Has A New Supersonic Missile (And The Navy Is Worried)  » 
19 Nov 2019, 23:30

Russia's TU-22M3 Backfire Bomber Has A New Supersonic Missile (And The Navy Is Worried)A formidable strike capability.


7 Amazing Facts About Jaguars, One of the World's Coolest Cats  » 
19 Nov 2019, 23:04

7 Amazing Facts About Jaguars, One of the World's Coolest Cats


Ukrainian gas executive cooperating in US probe of Giuliani  » 
19 Nov 2019, 22:49

Ukrainian gas executive cooperating in US probe of GiulianiFederal prosecutors in New York are investigating Rudy Giuliani's business dealings, including whether he failed to register as a foreign agent.


GLAAD Commends Chick-fil-A for Dropping Donations to Christian Groups But Demands Franchise Change ‘Anti-LGBTQ’ Brand  » 
19 Nov 2019, 22:05

GLAAD Commends Chick-fil-A for Dropping Donations to Christian Groups But Demands Franchise Change ‘Anti-LGBTQ’ BrandOn Monday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation commended Chick-fil-A for its decision to halt donations to several Christian charities but demanded the fast-food chain do more to change its "anti-LGBTQ" brand.GLAAD said it "greet[s] today's announcement with cautious optimism" but warned that the Georgia-based company still has work to do to fix its tarnished image with the LGBTQ community."In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents," GLAAD director of campaigns Drew Anderson said in a statement to CNN.Chick-fil-A announced Monday that as the company expands it will no longer donate to the Salvation Army, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which opposes same-sex marriage. The company’s charity, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, has donated millions of dollars to the two organizations.“We made multi-year commitments to both organizations and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018,” the company said, adding that from now on it will focus its charitable work “education, homelessness and hunger.”"There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," said Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A's president and Chief Operating Officer. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."Tassopoulos added that he believes the decision to pull donations will be "helpful" and is "just the right thing to do."CEO Dan Cathy said in 2012 that Chick-fil-A backs "the biblical definition of the family unit."Chick-fil-A has frequently found itself on the receiving end of criticism from LGBT rights advocates, with some groups boycotting the franchise as it expanded.Conversely, however, Chick-fil-A's move was excoriated by conservatives who accused the company of caving to progressive pressure at the expense of its charity work."Congrats to the wokescolds who finally bullied Chick-Fil-A into stopping donations to the Salvation Army and their 'bigoted' history of helping the poor and helpless," Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) wrote in a tweet Tuesday. "Real big accomplishment for the progressives. Hope you're happy."


Rep. Ilhan Omar Asks Judge for 'Compassion' When Sentencing Man Who Threatened Her Life  » 
19 Nov 2019, 21:51

Rep. Ilhan Omar Asks Judge for 'Compassion' When Sentencing Man Who Threatened Her Life'A lengthy prison sentence or a burdensome financial fine would not rehabilitate him,' Rep. Omar wrote


US aircraft carrier transits Strait of Hormuz  » 
19 Nov 2019, 21:43

US aircraft carrier transits Strait of HormuzThe US aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the key Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday to show Washington's "commitment" to freedom of navigation, the Pentagon said, amid tensions with Tehran. The group's move through the strategic waterway separating Iran and the United Arab Emirates towards the Gulf was scheduled, and unfolded without incident, the US Navy said in a statement. It was the first time a US aircraft carrier group went through the strait since Iran downed a US drone in June in the same area.


Trump news – live: Witnesses describe 'improper' Ukraine call as president mocks veteran's military uniform  » 
19 Nov 2019, 20:30

Trump news – live: Witnesses describe 'improper' Ukraine call as president mocks veteran's military uniformDonald Trump’s personal physician, Navy commander Sean Conley, has written a letter insisting the president’s unannounced Saturday visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, was “a routine, planned interim checkup”.“Despite some of the speculation, the president has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,” Commander Conley wrote in his statement, issued by the White House in a bid to dispel rumours that a more serious health complaint was being covered up.


Syracuse University has suspended all fraternity activities for the rest of the semester after a black student said a group of students accosted her and called her a racial slur  » 
19 Nov 2019, 20:23

Syracuse University has suspended all fraternity activities for the rest of the semester after a black student said a group of students accosted her and called her a racial slurThe student newspaper reported that a black female student was called the N-word while walking on campus Saturday night.


Ocasio-Cortez: Trump was 'clearly engaged in extortion and bribery'  » 
19 Nov 2019, 18:26

Ocasio-Cortez: Trump was 'clearly engaged in extortion and bribery'Ocasio-Cortez discussed the issue with Yahoo News on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as the third day of public hearings was being conducted in the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.


Obama's former doctor: Trump suffering 'unaddressed neurological issue'  » 
19 Nov 2019, 18:12

Obama's former doctor: Trump suffering 'unaddressed neurological issue'President Trump may be suffering from an untreated “neurological issue,” Barack Obama’s former doctor said.


MSNBC Host: GOP Hinting at Vindman Dual Loyalty ‘Perhaps Inspired’ by Fox News  » 
19 Nov 2019, 18:04

MSNBC Host: GOP Hinting at Vindman Dual Loyalty ‘Perhaps Inspired’ by Fox NewsMSNBC host Nicolle Wallace laced into Republicans for not-so-subtly implying during Tuesday’s impeachment hearings that National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman could have dual loyalty. The GOP’s line of questioning, the MSNBC host suggested, was inspired by pro-Trump hosts at Fox News.During a break in Tuesday's testimony, Wallace asked MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake about counsel Steve Castor questioning Vindman about a Ukrainian official asking him if he’d be interested in becoming Ukraine’s minister of defense. Vindman is a Ukrainian-born American citizen who emigrated to the United States when he was a child.After Haake said the Republicans were trying to portray Vindman—an Iraq War veteran who earned a Purple Heart—as “disgruntled and perhaps having dual loyalty,” Wallace said they needed to be more “blunt” about this.“It’s a reprehensible line of questioning,” she exclaimed, “but it is one that they were perhaps inspired by some of the president’s favorite programs.”Specifically pointing to a Fox News segment last month in which pro-Trump host Laura Ingraham and former Bush administration official John Yoo speculated that Vindman committed “espionage” and could be a double agent, Wallace added that since this is “out there” they “should out it.”“This is a smear campaign against Lieutenant Colonel Vindman,” Wallace said. “It is active. It is live, and today it spilled out in this public hearing.”MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley, meanwhile, agreed with Wallace while going even further in repudiating the implication that Vindman was disloyal to the United States.“What’s implied in all this that hasn’t been as explicit is he’s Jewish,” Wiley noted. “And at the time [his family] fled the Soviet Union, Jews had extreme discrimination against them.”“They were fleeing persecution,” she continued. “Synagogues all over the United States had signs that said free Soviet Jewry. That’s what he represents, and yet, and yet he has to signal publicly that his father did not make a mistake in bringing him to the U.S. when he was three years old.”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.


Obama aides deny they left behind nasty notes when they departed White House — in 2017  » 
19 Nov 2019, 16:50

Obama aides deny they left behind nasty notes when they departed White House — in 2017White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that Obama officials left Trump personnel messages after the presidential transition.


Trump rallies for Louisiana governor race, mocks diplomats in impeachment hearings  » 
19 Nov 2019, 16:45

Trump rallies for Louisiana governor race, mocks diplomats in impeachment hearingsEscaping Washington amid a new, public phase of the impeachment inquiry, Donald Trump is returning to Louisiana to stump for Republican Eddie Rispone.


10 Things We Want to Leave Behind in the 2010s  » 
19 Nov 2019, 16:40

10 Things We Want to Leave Behind in the 2010s


French court confirms sentence for Picasso's electrician over hoarded art  » 
19 Nov 2019, 15:45

French court confirms sentence for Picasso's electrician over hoarded artA French court on Tuesday confirmed the two-year suspended jail terms given to Pablo Picasso's former electrician and his wife, who hoarded 271 of the great painter's works in a garage for four decades. The verdict by the Lyon court is the latest twist in a decade-long legal saga, which took the couple, who claim the works were a gift, all the way to France's top appeals court. Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec were first given two-year suspended terms in 2015 after being convicted of possession of stolen goods over the huge trove of works by Picasso, including nine rare Cubist collages and a work from his famous Blue Period.


‘Without a shot’: How a local warlord aims to break Hezbollah’s hold  » 
19 Nov 2019, 15:25

‘Without a shot’: How a local warlord aims to break Hezbollah’s holdHezbollah made its name fighting Israel. But in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, a local warlord says what the people need now are services and better lives.


Embattled Illinois prosecutor announces bid for reelection  » 
19 Nov 2019, 15:20

Embattled Illinois prosecutor announces bid for reelectionA prosecutor who came under harsh criticism when her office suddenly dropped charges against actor Jussie Smollett and is now the subject of a court-ordered investigation announced Tuesday she is running for reelection. In her news release saying she’s seeking the position again, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed the Smollett case and the furor over the handling of it. “Four years ago, I ran for State’s Attorney to change criminal justice in Cook County,” said Foxx, who grew up in Chicago’s crime-ridden Cabrini Green housing project.


Desperate Hong Kong protesters explore sewers in campus escape bid  » 
19 Nov 2019, 14:26

Desperate Hong Kong protesters explore sewers in campus escape bidArms covered in cling film and torches in hand as they drop into the sewers, clusters of pro-democracy protesters still inside a Hong Kong campus are plotting increasingly ingenious -- and desperate -- ways to escape a police siege. Among the detritus of a scorched and graffiti-sprayed concourse at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, several plastic covers -- some with torches placed above them -- betray extraordinary underground escape plans. Protesters have removed metal manholes, some making exploratory forays into the fetid tunnels, following rumours of successful exfiltrations from a campus ringed for three days by baton-wielding police determined to arrest them.


Isil leaders with 'vast amounts of cash' planning comeback in Turkey, Iraq spy chief claims  » 
19 Nov 2019, 13:27

Isil leaders with 'vast amounts of cash' planning comeback in Turkey, Iraq spy chief claimsSenior Islamic State members with access to “huge” amounts of money are in Turkey and plotting a comeback, an Iraqi spy chief has warned. Lieutenant General Saad al-Allaq, head of Iraq’s Military Intelligence, claimed in an interview with CNN that Iraq has given Ankara dossiers on nine alleged leaders of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), including top financiers for the terror group. The general said senior Isil figures known as "emirs" have access to vast reserves of cash and were forming new cells in Turkey. He claimed many of them had managed to escape from Isil’s final patch of territory in Baghouz, eastern Syria, after bribing Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to reach Idlib in the north-west. From there, he said, they crossed the border to Gaziantep in southern Turkey. "Some of its important leadership fled north, I mean in the direction of neighbouring countries and into border areas like Gazientep," Lt. Gen. Allaq said. US Special Forces, figures at lower right, moving toward compound of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi  Credit: Department of Defense  "They have secretly crossed into these areas from the Syrian-Turkish border - top leaders who have money. They crossed with the help of smugglers by paying large amount of money and have secretly entered Turkish territory." He added: "Those elements who are right now in Turkey play a key role in the recruitment of fighters and terrorists." CNN was shown Iraq’s arrest warrants for the nine men, who are described as bomb makers. Lt. Gen. Allaq said the men were "among the best bomb makers that Isis ever had." Lt. Gen. Allaq, who rarely gives interviews, said Iraq had intelligence that Isil leaders were planning jailbreaks of its supporters held in prisons and camps across Syria and Iraq. Isil members are led away to be questioned by coalition forces after surrendering, near Baghuz, eastern Syria Credit: Sam Tarling  Turkey told the US network they were looking into the allegations. He said a new Isil mission code-named "Break Down the Fences" intended to storm jails where their followers were being held and try to replenish its manpower. Several high-profile Isil figures and their family members have been discovered in recent weeks in or near Turkey. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, was found hiding three miles from the border of Turkey in the Syria village of Barisha in Idlib, where he was killed in a US raid on October 26. Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, Isil’s spokesman, was killed the following day several miles away near the town of Jarablus, which is under Turkish administration. Turkey then announced arrests it had made of Baghdadi’s relatives, who had apparently been hiding in the country.


How a publishing error may have revealed China's secret super missile  » 
19 Nov 2019, 13:26

How a publishing error may have revealed China's secret super missileA Chinese magazine may have accidentally committed espionage after it published what appeared to be the first image of a top-secret missile system.  The apparent gaffe came in a centrefold graphic devoted to China's new H-6N strategic bomber in the latest edition of Modern Ships, a government-produced magazine. The H-6N, which is modelled on the Soviet Union's now retired Tu-16 Badger bomber, is a long-range aircraft designed to project Chinese air power into the western Pacific. But in the image published in Modern Ships showed the aircraft with a never-before-seen ballistic missile strapped beneath its fuselage. The huge missile is unlike any known Chinese weapons system and analysts believe it may be the first glimpse of an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) Beijing is known to have been working on.  The magazine showed a large missile beneath the fuselage Malcolm Davis, senior analyst in Defence and Strategy capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said: "This may be the CH-AS-X-13 Air Launched Ballistic missile (ALBM), which is evidently an air-launched variant of the DF-21 medium range ballistic missile. "The combination of the range of that system - about 1700km plus the range of the H-6N - would give China greater ability to strike either at land targets as far out as Guam, or potentially, if equipped with an antiship mode, maritime targets at similar range. "That means, between the DF-26 antiship capable IRBM, this missile, and the land-based DF-21D, China is building a much more sophisticated A2AD in which precision conventional missiles play a major role. "   The Global Times, China's state-owned English language daily, quickly published a piece saying the picture was nothing more than an artist's impression. "The images are computer generated, merely conceptual and have no official background," the paper said citing an "insider" source.   DF-17 missiles parade through Beijing on October 1 Credit:  Ng Han Guan/AP China is believed to have been developing an ALBM as part of a "carrier killing" missile programme designed to challenge US naval supremacy.   Such a weapon would combine immense speed and range with the ability to carry a nuclear warhead, allowing China to project fearsome firepower deep into the Pacific Ocean. The only other country to have developed an ALBM is Russia, which unveiled its nuclear-capable Kinzhal missile  in 2017. The H-6N made its public debut in a fly-past  marking the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China over Beijing last month. Chinese media trailed the bomber's air-to-air refuelling capacity as its major innovation. But observers also noted that it lacked the bomb bay of its Soviet predecessor - suggesting it was designed instead to externally carry large missiles in a recess on its fuselage. China is known to have been working on a series of drones, missiles, and aircraft designed to hunt and destroy American aircraft carrier groups deep in the Pacific ocean. Last week the South China Morning Post reported that the H-6N was designed to carry the DF-100, a third generation anti-ship cruise missile, or the DR-8, a supersonic reconnaissance drone.       Other weapons in China's new "carrier killer" arsenal include the  DF-17, a hypersonic missile that can travel at five-times the speed of sound and is almost impossible to intercept.


Forget the Bombs or Missiles: Iran's Intelligence Machine Is Quite Powerful  » 
19 Nov 2019, 13:20

Forget the Bombs or Missiles: Iran's Intelligence Machine Is Quite PowerfulA remarkable collaborative project between The Intercept and the New York Times has provided the general public with a little more insight into the Iranian spy-games. They are quite something.


Chinese bishop 'on the run' after refusing to join state-sanctioned church  » 
19 Nov 2019, 11:52

Chinese bishop 'on the run' after refusing to join state-sanctioned churchA Catholic bishop in China is believed to be on the run from state security after refusing to bring his church under a government-sanctioned religious association. Guo Xijin, 61, has fled the custody of state agents and has gone into hiding, reported Catholic Asia News, a website, and cannot be immediately reached for comment.  Mr Guo is part of a group of bishops that many religious and human rights experts feared would be persecuted after the Vatican inked a deal with Beijing last year on the ordaining bishops.  China has long insisted that it approve appointments, clashing with absolute papal authority to pick bishops. The agreement broke that standoff, and could help pave the way for formal diplomatic ties, but also stoked worries that the Chinese state would have too much power to regulate religion.  Since Communism took hold in China, there have been in practice two Catholic churches - one sanctioned by the government, and an underground one loyal to the Vatican, and it remains unclear what would happen to bishops who refused to fall in line with the government. China’s officially atheist Communist Party – has engaged in a widespread crackdown on religion in the last few years. Authorities have banned Arab-style onion domes on mosques and other buildings – even if merely decorative. The UN estimates more than a million Muslims have been detained in chilling “re-education” camps, where former detainees have told The Telegraph they were subject to physical torture, psychological intimidation and political indoctrination. The government has shut down churches not sanctioned by the Party, detaining priests and members of various congregations. And houses of worship, including Buddhist temples, are now mandated to have pictures of Xi Jinping, the leader of the Party.  Chinese authorities claim that people have freedom of religion – provided that they worship in state-sanctioned temples, churches, and mosques. The government has said that all religious believers must “be subordinate to and serve the overall interests of the nation and the Chinese people,” making it explicit that they must also “support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”


A Saudi Arabian princess and rights activist who 'fell off the radar' in late 2018 is reportedly detained under house arrest with 24/7 surveillance  » 
19 Nov 2019, 10:47

A Saudi Arabian princess and rights activist who 'fell off the radar' in late 2018 is reportedly detained under house arrest with 24/7 surveillanceSources close to Princess Basmah told Deutsche Welle that Saudi authorities stopped her travelling to Europe for urgent medical care in December 2018.


Business

Jaguar Land Rover chief wants alliances, not a merger  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:14

Jaguar Land Rover chief wants alliances, not a mergerLuxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive told Reuters he is open to more alliances to lower the costs of developing technology, but is not looking for a full-blown corporate merger. "We feel the pressure" from demands to slash carbon emissions and develop electric vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover chief Ralf Speth said in an interview on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show.


OECD sees global growth at decade-low, blames governments' indecision  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:05

OECD sees global growth at decade-low, blames governments' indecisionThe global economy is growing at the slowest pace since the financial crisis as governments leave it to central banks to revive investment, the OECD said on Thursday in an update of its forecasts. The world economy is projected to grow by a decade-low 2.9% this year and next, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its Economic Outlook, trimming its 2020 forecast from an estimate of 3.0% in September. A bigger concern, however, is that governments are failing to get to grips with global challenges such as climate change, the digitalization of their economies and the crumbling of the multilateral order that emerged after the fall of Communism.


OECD sees global growth at decade-low, blames governments' indecision  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:05

OECD sees global growth at decade-low, blames governments' indecisionThe global economy is growing at the slowest pace since the financial crisis as governments leave it to central banks to revive investment, the OECD said on Thursday in an update of its forecasts. The world economy is projected to grow by a decade-low 2.9% this year and next, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its Economic Outlook, trimming its 2020 forecast from an estimate of 3.0% in September. A bigger concern, however, is that governments are failing to get to grips with global challenges such as climate change, the digitalization of their economies and the crumbling of the multilateral order that emerged after the fall of Communism.


Apple, Intel file antitrust case against SoftBank-owned firm over patent practices  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:03

Apple, Intel file antitrust case against SoftBank-owned firm over patent practicesApple Inc and Intel Corp on Wednesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Fortress Investment Group, alleging the SoftBank Group Corp <9984.T> unit stockpiled patents to hold up tech firms with lawsuits demanding as much as $5.1 billion. The suit follows an earlier case that Intel filed against Fortress in October. Intel withdrew that suit and on Wednesday filed a new version in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with Apple joining as a plaintiff.


Fiat Chrysler to recall nearly 700,000 SUVs for electrical fault risk  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:02

Fiat Chrysler to recall nearly 700,000 SUVs for electrical fault riskFiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Thursday it will recall nearly 700,000 sport utility vehicles worldwide because a faulty electrical connection could prevent engine starts or contribute to a stall. The recall, covering 2011 through 2013 model year Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, will address silicon deposits on the contact points of fuel pump relays that may interrupt electrical current, Fiat Chrysler said in a statement.


Jaguar Land Rover chief wants alliances, not a merger  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:01

Jaguar Land Rover chief wants alliances, not a mergerLuxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive told Reuters he is open to more alliances to lower the costs of developing technology, but is not looking for a full-blown corporate merger. "We feel the pressure" from demands to slash carbon emissions and develop electric vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover chief Ralf Speth said in an interview on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show.


California’s Governor Wants State-Appointed PG&E Board Members  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:01

California’s Governor Wants State-Appointed PG&E Board Members(Bloomberg) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom wants PG&E Corp. to add state-appointed members to its board as part of the utility giant’s reorganization.Newsom’s administration pushed for this, along with several other conditions, to be included in PG&E’s restructuring plan during a meeting on Wednesday with the company and other parties in its bankruptcy case. Newsom also wants a governance structure that would give these board members greater management authority over the utility if it fails to meet certain safety performance standards, the governor’s office said Wednesday.The pressure on Newsom to force an overhaul at PG&E has escalated in recent weeks as the company plunged millions into darkness to keep its power lines from igniting wildfires. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January after its equipment was tied to a series of 2017 and 2018 blazes that left it with $30 billion in estimated liabilities.Read More: PG&E Starts Restoring Power After Latest Deliberate BlackoutEarlier this month, Newsom threatened to take over PG&E if the company fails to emerge from bankruptcy by a state-imposed deadline of June 30, 2020, and improves its operations before next year’s wildfire season.The company has struggled for months to come up with a restructuring plan that bondholders and wildfire victims are willing to sign off on. The judge overseeing its case ordered parties into mediation in an effort to speed up a settlement.In the meeting on Wednesday, Newsom’s administration said it wants to leave the door open for a government takeover if it’s deemed necessary. The governor’s office said it's also seeking assurances that the utility will make safety investments without placing an undue burden on customers.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


How to keep schools safe? We're focusing our time, energy and money on 'all the wrong things,' experts say  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:00

How to keep schools safe? We're focusing our time, energy and money on 'all the wrong things,' experts sayThe Saugus High School shooting in California renewed calls for metal detectors. But experts don't believe that's the best way to protect students.


The World May Have a Bigger Problem Than a Potential Recession  » 
21 Nov 2019, 10:00

The World May Have a Bigger Problem Than a Potential Recession(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.The global economy is stuck in a rut that it won’t exit unless governments revolutionize policies and how they invest, rather than just hoping for a cyclical upswing, the OECD said.The latest outlook and policy prescriptions from the Paris-based group mark a step beyond its repeated warnings about threats to growth from U.S.-China tensions, weak investment and trade flows. Those remain, but it also flags more systemic challenges from climate change, technology and the fact that the trade war is just part of a bigger shift in the global order.For OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone, the worry is that the world could continue to suffer in the decades to come if authorities offer short-term fiscal and monetary fixes as the only response.“The biggest concern… is that the deterioration of the outlook continues unabated, reflecting unaddressed structural changes more than any cyclical shock,” Boone said. “It would be a policy mistake to consider these shifts as temporary factors that can be addressed with monetary and fiscal policy: they are structural.”The pessimism about the deep seated problems in the global economy contrasts with more upbeat signals coming from financial markets, where investors are increasingly betting on an upswing next year depending on the latest twists in trade talks.Morgan Stanley sees a pickup in global growth from early next year, though risks are still skewed to the downside, while Goldman Sachs says better trade policy news recently means the drag on world growth should ease.The OECD sees global growth stuck at 2.9% this year and next, and rising slightly to 3% in 2021. It lowered its 2019 U.S. forecast to 2.3% from 2.4% previously, and left 2020 at 2%.On trade, the OECD said the risk of further escalation of tensions is a “serious concern.” More worrying, even if recent restrictions were reversed, uncertainties could linger. That would weigh on business investment growth in major advanced economies, which the OECD expects to slow to about 1.25% a year from close to 2% in 2018.The entrenched trade and investment challenges mean governments must make deeper changes beyond simply rolling back tariffs of the last two years. This could mean updating global rules and reducing subsidies with harmful effects on trade, the OECD said.It urged a similarly profound rethink of environmental policies amid bushfires in Australia and flooding in Venice that some have linked to climate change. The backlash against carbon emissions has even led to protest movements such as “flight shaming.”Beyond how climate events harm the economy, how governments regulate and respond is also having an impact. Without clear policy on issues like carbon tax, the delays to business investment have “dire consequences for growth and employment,” Boone said.While fiscal stimulus could provide a short-term boost, the OECD said the focus should be on the long term, such as through dedicated investment funds.“The situation remains inherently fragile, and structural challenges are daunting,” Boone said. “There is a unique window of opportunity to avoid a stagnation that would harm most people: restore certainty and invest for the benefit of all.”To contact the reporter on this story: William Horobin in Paris at whorobin@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Zoe SchneeweissFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Iran's Guards praise 'timely' action against protesters  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:48

Iran's Guards praise 'timely' action against protestersIran's Revolutionary Guards on Thursday praised the armed forces for taking "timely" action against "rioters" and said calm had returned after days of unrest sparked by a hike in petrol prices. Motorists blocked highways in Tehran before the unrest spread to cities and towns across the country, with petrol pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted. "Incidents, big and small, caused by the rise in petrol price took place in (a little) less than 100 cities across Iran," said a statement on the Guards' official website Sepahnews.com.


Chinese food delivery firm Meituan says quarterly revenue jumps  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:45

Chinese food delivery firm Meituan says quarterly revenue jumpsChinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping said third-quarter revenue climbed 44.1%, beating analysts' expectations. Revenue for China's third-biggest internet company by market value came in at 27.49 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) for the July-September quarter, up from 19.1 billion yuan in the same period a year earlier. Competition in the sector has become less cut-throat as companies roll back profit-damaging subsidies, which in turn has allowed Meituan to capitalize on its first-mover advantage over rivals in China's smaller cities.


Stocks Decline, Bonds Drift on Hong Kong Bill Risk: Markets Wrap  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:38

Stocks Decline, Bonds Drift on Hong Kong Bill Risk: Markets Wrap(Bloomberg) -- Stocks dropped in Europe and S&P 500 futures edged lower as support from the U.S. Congress for Hong Kong protesters complicated prospects for a China trade deal. Treasuries drifted.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid, with all sectors trading in the red. Thyssenkrupp AG shares tumbled after the steelmaker said it was suspending dividend payments and warned of deepening losses. U.S equity futures pointed to a modestly lower open as President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation backing Hong Kong protesters, potentially setting up further confrontation with China.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index at one point fell the most in almost three months, though the moves eased and the yen and gold trimmed gains as Beijing’s chief negotiator said he was “cautiously optimistic” about reaching a phase-one trade deal with the U.S.Crucial to the trade discussions is the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong, with the latest developments helping end a streak of record highs for U.S. stocks. China has threatened to retaliate for the passage of an American bill and said supporting the protesters was a “gross” interference in Hong Kong affairs. Traders will be watching closely for signs of progress ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for further tariffs.“From a market perspective, there’s a consensus that an agreement will be reached,” Viktor Shvets, head of Asian strategy at Macquarie Commodities and Global Market, told Bloomberg Television. “They need to sign something, otherwise volatility in markets could be quite extreme.”Elsewhere, oil edged down after jumping on Wednesday as American crude stockpiles rose less than expected and inventories at a key storage hub shrank by the most since August.Here are some key events coming up this week:U.S. economic indicators due for release include initial jobless claims on Thursday.These are the main moves in markets:StocksFutures on the S&P 500 Index decreased 0.1% as of 9:36 a.m. London time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 0.6%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.7%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index fell 0.9%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.1%.The euro advanced 0.1% to $1.1087.The British pound jumped 0.1% to $1.2941.The onshore yuan was little changed at 7.036 per dollar.The Japanese yen increased 0.1% to 108.52 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries declined less than one basis point to 1.74%.The yield on two-year Treasuries jumped one basis point to 1.58%.Germany’s 10-year yield advanced less than one basis point to -0.35%.Britain’s 10-year yield decreased less than one basis point to 0.729%.Japan’s 10-year yield increased less than one basis point to -0.105%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.3% to $56.83 a barrel.Iron ore gained 0.7% to $83.40 per metric ton.Gold was little changed at $1,471.22 an ounce.\--With assistance from Kyoungwha Kim, Andreea Papuc, Adam Haigh and Cormac Mullen.To contact the reporter on this story: Yakob Peterseil in London at ypeterseil@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Samuel Potter at spotter33@bloomberg.net, Todd WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Bouygues to Seek Partners for $2.2 Billion Fiber Projects  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:35

Bouygues to Seek Partners for $2.2 Billion Fiber Projects(Bloomberg) -- Bouygues Telecom, the French mobile operator, is seeking partners for two infrastructure rollouts in France that will cost about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) combined, people familiar with the matter said.The company is seeking investors to help fund 1 billion euros of capital expenditures for a planned fiber construction project in France, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It is working with an adviser on the potential deal, known internally as “Project Saint-Malo,” the people said.Bouygues Telecom, which is a unit of publicly traded conglomerate Bouygues SA, has received interest from several infrastructure funds as well as French companies, the people said.The company is also reaching out to potential partners for another fiber network rollout, dubbed “Project Asterix,” that will involve spending of at least 1 billion euros, the people said. Its advisers recently kicked off the process by sending out teaser documents, according to the people.Bouygues Telecom has been adding customers by ramping up the roll-out of its network. It now has fiber connections to 10 million premises as of the end of September, up more than 40% from a year earlier, and covers more than 3,090 municipalities, according to an investor presentation. The company targets to increase that to 12 million premises by year-end, adding customers in very dense and medium-density areas.A representatives for Bouygues Telecom declined to comment.Shares of Bouygues were little changed as of 10:21 a.m. in Paris, bringing their year-to-date gain to 17%.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“Bouygues’ potential 2 billion-euro fiber investment in France, according to Bloomberg News, could enable co-financing of connections in 4 million homes (11% of households), likely in medium-dense and rural areas, boosting retail competition to Altice, given better economics compared with the rental model. An expanding fiber focus by Iliad and Bouygues is a risk to Altice and Orange.”\--Erhan Gurses, BI telecom analystDemand for fiber connections is rising as the French government pushes to expand ultra-fast internet access to a wider swath of the population. That’s led to deals for yield-hungry pension funds and infrastructure investors, with a consortium led by Omers Infrastructure buying nearly half of Altice Europe NV’s French fiber-to-the-home business for 1.7 billion euros earlier this year.(Updates with shares in seventh paragraph, analyst comment lower)\--With assistance from Angelina Rascouet.To contact the reporters on this story: Myriam Balezou in London at mbalezou@bloomberg.net;Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Dinesh Nair at dnair5@bloomberg.net, ;Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net, Ben Scent, Matthew MonksFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Two China Firms’ Dollar Bonds Sink in Shandong as Woes Grow  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:30

Two China Firms’ Dollar Bonds Sink in Shandong as Woes Grow(Bloomberg) -- Two companies based in China’s Shandong province saw their dollar bonds plunge on Thursday amid signs that their debt troubles are worsening.Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co.’s dollar bond due in December plunged by 11.2 cents on the dollar to 77 cents as of 5:24 p.m. in Hong Kong, its biggest drop on record, according to Bloomberg-compiled prices. Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co., another firm from the same province, saw its dollar bond due in March drop by 13.6 cents to 59 cents, also a record drop for the note, the data show.Both bonds dropped amid investor concern over their repayments. Debtwire reported late on Wednesday citing unnamed sources that Ruyi had appointed Houlihan Lokey Inc., without specifying its role. The report also cited a Ruyi spokesperson as saying that it had consulted with Houlihan Lokey for general financial services and that the management remains committed to repaying on time its dollar bond due next month.Bloomberg’s calls to Ruyi went unanswered and Houlihan Lokey declined to comment.Yuhuang’s 6% 500 million yuan ($71 million) bond was suspended from trading from Nov. 21 because of a “major event,” the company said in an exchange filing. It’s due to repay almost all that bond principal on Thursday after bondholders exercised a put option. S&P Global Ratings downgraded Yuhuang to CC from CCC+ on the same day, citing high near-term risk of default the company’s maturing debt.The two firms add to a growing list of distressed companies in the eastern Chinese province. In late October, steelmaker Xiwang Group Co., also based in Shandong, said it failed to repay a local bond after a ratings company warned in the previous month that the firm faces heightened pressure to repay debt in the final quarter.Amid the Ruyi and Yuhuang’s bond plunge, Shandong Sanxing Group Co.’s dollar bond due 2021 also fell 5.6 cents, its biggest drop in more than two months.Shandong’s privately owned companies are frequent users of cross guarantees, which has the potential to send one company’s liquidity issues cascading through the credit system, S&P Global Ratings said in a note last month.(Updates bond prices throughout)\--With assistance from Annie Lee.To contact the reporter on this story: Ina Zhou in Hong Kong at hzhou179@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Neha D'silva at ndsilva1@bloomberg.net, Magdalene FungFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Donald Trump is threatening South Korea, but US military commitments to long-time allies are considered safe  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:30

Donald Trump is threatening South Korea, but US military commitments to long-time allies are considered safeWashington's military commitments in Asia and Europe are here to stay despite the Trump administration's unorthodox foreign policy, which is causing friction with traditional US allies and led to a breakdown in talks with South Korea this week, American analysts say.The observations were made as Asian and European officials voiced new doubts about the level of Washington's commitments to its allies, after US President Donald Trump demanded that South Korea increase by 400 per cent its contributions to pay for keeping US military personnel on the peninsula.The resentment was evident in Seoul on Tuesday, when the US delegation cut short talks over how to share the costs after Seoul balked at accepting Washington's unexpected demands. "The proposals that were put forward by the Korean team were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden sharing," lead US negotiator James DeHart said.James DeHart, the US State Department official who is leading the negotiations with South Korea, speaking in Seoul on Tuesday. Photo: AP alt=James DeHart, the US State Department official who is leading the negotiations with South Korea, speaking in Seoul on Tuesday. Photo: APThe current cost-sharing agreement expires at the end of the year.The administration has insisted that South Korea and Japan quadruple their payments for US military deployments in their countries to roughly US$5 billion and US$8 billion, respectively. The US is expected to begin separate negotiations with Japan next year.General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that average Americans were becoming sceptical of the US troop presence in South Korea and Japan."Why are they needed there? How much does it cost? These are very rich and wealthy countries, why can't they defend themselves?" Milley asked.Amid the tensions, the Trump administration is diminishing the US military presence in the region, causing concern among allies.On Sunday, Washington postponed its joint military air exercises with Seoul, which North Korea has long criticised as "provocative". The South Korean floor leader for the opposition Liberty Korea party, Na Kyung-won, condemned the decision the next day, saying the allies were acceding to the North Korean regime's demands."The two countries must deeply reflect on why the US-ROK alliance has ended up being such a transactional product," Na said, suggesting the nature of the long-time alliance was showing signs of change.Similar concerns are also rising in Europe, where Trump has long criticised Nato allies over defence spending. He has demanded that each Nato member country pay at least 2 per cent of its gross domestic product toward the military alliance, and the US is scheduled to negotiate the new cost-sharing with Germany and Nato next year.General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listens as US President Donald Trump speaks before a meeting with senior military leaders last month at the White House. Photo: AFP alt=General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listens as US President Donald Trump speaks before a meeting with senior military leaders last month at the White House. Photo: AFPFrench President Emmanuel Macron recently said Nato was experiencing "brain death", lacking strategic coordination and leadership from the Trump administration. Macron said that under Trump the US was "turning its back on us", and called on Europeans to do more in their own defence with the aim of "strategic autonomy" to fill the security vacuum.At the same time US military commitments are being questioned in Europe, Russia is expanding the scope of its influence. Last month it sent two bombers to Africa, escorted by fighter jets from the South African Air Force, adding to European concerns.Last month, Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, despite warnings that the move would only Russia's influence in the region.Kristine Lee, an associate fellow for the Asia-Pacific Security Programme at the Centre for a New American Security (CNAS), said the Trump administration had not been particularly successful in reassuring its allies and partners of American commitment in the region and their strategic importance to the US."Bilateralism and transactionalism, particularly in the manner in which it has approached discussions on burden sharing, has not put the United States on a steady footing for competing effectively with China and Russia in critical theatres," Lee said."[But] despite the rhetoric that is coming from the highest levels of government, the US foreign policy establishment no doubt understands the importance of its alliance systems both in Europe and in Asia," she added.Lee said the "great power competition" framework laid out in the administration's 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 National Defence Strategy (NDS) is predicated on the assumption that alliances are elemental to American power."The NDS explicitly states that one of the core pillars of its strategy is to 'strengthen alliances and attract new partners'," Lee said.South Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo speaks to the media after a meeting with his US counterpart, James DeHart, on Tuesday in Seoul. Photo: AP alt=South Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo speaks to the media after a meeting with his US counterpart, James DeHart, on Tuesday in Seoul. Photo: APUS lawmakers' concerns about Beijing's growing influence were reflected in a congressional report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2019"."Over the coming decades, [Chinese leaders] are focused on realising a powerful and prosperous China that is equipped with a 'world-class' military, securing China's status as a great power with the aim of emerging as the pre-eminent power in the Indo-Pacific region," the report said.Said Lee: "Even if rhetoric from President Trump does not reflect this reality, the United States is continuing to maintain close dialogue and coordination with allies to ensure that US military presence and investments reflect the political realities on the ground."Timothy Heath, a senior international defence researcher at the RAND Corporation, also predicted that the US would not significantly reduce its commitments in Europe and Asia."The inconsistencies in the statements by top US officials understandably have caused concern," he said. "However, a closer look at US national security and defence documents make clear the US commitment to Europe and Asia. The US has important security and economic interests in those regions and cannot afford to withdraw its commitment."Heath also said the strategic needs run both ways, noting that there is no substitute for US power in Europe and Asia."Those countries " [especially] Europe and Japan " cannot replace the US military power needed to protect those supplies," he said. "The US will continue to play an important role in that region to ensure stable global energy supplies and safe shipping, both of which are vital to the global and US economies.""Although building self-defence capacity and taking on more responsibility for security affairs is a reasonable response to evidence of US constraints on operating abroad, European countries, Japan and South Korea will continue to look to the United States to play a critical stabilising and deterrent role in their regions," he added. "An Asia that features a weaker US presence, and nuclear-armed South and North Koreas, China and Japan, is not one that is likely to be stable and peaceful."Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi, a visiting professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, agreed, saying that "the core of the US military commitment still remains strong"."So at this moment we're seeing more of a refinement of US forces in Europe and East Asia, rather than a simple reduction," Hinata-Yamaguchi said."Whether it's in Asia or Europe, any reductive changes to the alliance would open up opportunities for China and Russia to flex their muscles."In July, as the US' regional allies South Korea and Japan underwent a bitter trade dispute with the absence of mediation from Washington, China and Russia conducted their first joint long-range air patrol by over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan (also known as the East Sea), calling Washington's military commitment in the region into question."[Washington] should instead seek to reinforce areas of overlap and convergence in the Venn diagram of [its] varies allies' interests," Lee said."Absent this, China and Russia are positioned to exploit fissures and pressure points in the US alliances systems."This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


China quantum research team uses AI to crack processing time in supercomputer race  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:30

China quantum research team uses AI to crack processing time in supercomputer raceArtificial intelligence is set to transform quantum research with a huge boost in processing speed that could ultimately pave the way for a supercomputer a billion " or even a trillion " times faster than existing technology.According to a new study by scientists in China " which has established some of the world's largest quantum research facilities " machine learning technology can slash the time-consuming task of calculating the nature of the quirky ties between particles that exist in the subatomic quantum realm.The power of quantum technology arises from particles that are linked by the mysterious forces of quantum mechanics.Quantum entanglement, for example, refers to the correlation between particles that allows changes in one to instantly affect another, regardless of the distance between them. The behaviour of these correlated particles forms the basis of quantum information processing.The power of quantum technology arises from particles that are linked by the mysterious forces of quantum mechanics. Photo: Shutterstock alt=The power of quantum technology arises from particles that are linked by the mysterious forces of quantum mechanics. Photo: ShutterstockNow, a Chinese research team has established that machine learning technology can assess the nature of the ties between particles with unprecedented speed and accuracy, according to a paper published this month in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.This is important, according to the researchers, because different ties between particles make them suitable for different tasks. As well as quantum entanglement, particles may be related through EPR steering " the paradoxical phenomenon best known for Schrodinger's Cat " or Bell nonlocality " which states that in some situations the property of a particle can be altered by the act of measuring it.Most quantum devices " from key distribution networks for ultra-safe communication, superfast quantum computers, to quantum radar systems for stealth aircraft detection " remain tantalisingly beyond practical application because of the huge amount of traditional processing time required now to establish the nature of the ties between particles."It works like the separation of minerals," said Professor Li Chuanfeng, a lead scientist of the study with the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, Anhui province."The AI tells us whether an ore contains gold, iron or copper, so we can make use of them for different purposes. This was not possible before," Li said.Until now, quantum researchers have had to measure a complete set of physical properties to determine the type of link between particles. It is a difficult, time consuming job and, when the number of particles increases, the workload grows exponentially."At the end of the day we might be able to tell this is not a piece of gold, and that would be it. There is no way to know more," Li said.USTC researchers have been conducting quantum experiments for decades and amassed a large amount of data. Li's team built up a data set containing more than 400 pairs of particles carefully picked with different types of links, such as quantum entanglement, EPR steering and Bell nonlocality.The scientists then used the data set to train a computer with a deep learning algorithm to measure the physical properties of the particles. The AI can now achieve an accuracy higher than 90 per cent, and the time taken has been slashed to the point where calculations that previously took an hour can be worked out in a fraction of a second.The machine also does not need full information on each particle to make the assessment. According to the paper, researchers only need to feed details of two physical properties into the machine, which can then fill in the gaps and make a correct estimate on the outcome."This method will increase the supply of resources for quantum information processing significantly," Li said.Ren Changliang, associate professor with the Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology and co-author of the paper, said the breakthrough did not mean AI had a better grasp on the world of quantum physics than the human brain."We label the data, we teach it, we correct its mistakes. The AI follows human guidance. It is not outsmarting us," he said.Another obvious advantage of AI over traditional methods is that it can deal with multidimensional issues much more efficiently " and there are many dimensions in quantum physics."There seems to be a good match between the two worlds," Ren said.According to the scientists, this is not the end of their research. The team is now planning to continue training the machine with a larger data set, and is also developing new artificial intelligence technology specifically for a quantum computer, which is predicted to be up to 1 trillion times faster than the most powerful supercomputer today.Some researchers say that a combination of AI and quantum computing might eventually lead to machines with intelligence equal or greater to that of humans.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


UK’s Labour promises radical change if it wins election  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:26

UK’s Labour promises radical change if it wins electionBritain’s main opposition Labour Party is launching its detailed platform for Britain’s Dec. 12 election as it tries to close an opinion-poll gap with the governing Conservatives. The left-of-center party is pledging higher public spending and a greater role for the state in housing, transport and the provision of utilities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives accuse Labour of reckless spending and outmoded socialist ideas.


OPEC’s Flaring Political Crises Add New Risk for Oil Supply  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:24

OPEC’s Flaring Political Crises Add New Risk for Oil Supply(Bloomberg) -- OPEC may have no appetite to cut oil production deeper when it meets next month, but flaring political crises across the group are once again threatening supply.Unrest erupted in Iraq and Iran this month -- two of the Middle East’s biggest producers -- as people took to the streets protesting financial hardship and bad governance. That’s adding to the range of supply threats already afflicting the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, from economic collapse in Venezuela and simmering discontent in Algeria to the recent missile attack on Saudi Arabia.“We kind of had a second Arab Spring, but it’s been under the radar,” said Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets. “The real question is what is going to happen in Iraq.”Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, has violently cracked down on demonstrations against corruption in recent weeks that have spread to the southern oil hub of Basra. Iran has seen its oil exports slashed by U.S. sanctions and is forcefully suppressing protests spurred by the resulting economic stagnation.OPEC and its allies -- who together pump about half the world’s oil -- will meet in Vienna in early December to consider production levels for 2020, having cut output this year to prevent a global surplus. Despite signs that fragile demand and surging U.S. shale supply will unleash a new glut, they’ve signaled no desire to reduce output further.They may not have a choice.In recent years, unplanned supply disruptions within OPEC nations have done as much to keep markets balanced as the cartel’s deliberate cutbacks. Iran and Venezuela have lost a combined 1.7 million barrels a day since last October, more than all 24 nations in the OPEC+ coalition agreed to cut this year.As turmoil intensifies across the group, next year could see more accidental losses: oil prices of about $60 a barrel are already below levels most OPEC nations need to cover government spending, and a further slump would only deepen the strain.“There is no better way to put it: the geopolitical risk is rising in the Middle East again,” said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. in London.Algeria is struggling to placate a mass youth-led movement seeking change after ousting long-term President Abdelaziz Bouteflika earlier this year, and Libya remains split by armed factions. Ecuador, which will leave OPEC in January, suffered a 20% slump in oil production last month amid riots and looting.In Iran, at least 106 people have been killed in protests triggered by an increase in gasoline prices, according to Amnesty International. The country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that several alleged “ring-leaders” backed by foreign powers had been arrested by intelligence services.Iraq RiskThe biggest risk is posed by Iraq, according to RBC’s Croft. While the country’s oil sector has proven robust during recent turbulence, even boosting output when Islamic State militants captured swathes of territory five years ago, the latest demonstrations reflect a new level of popular discontent.“If you had attacks on infrastructure, oil workers going on strike -- Iraq is the place that could surprise the market,” she said.Iraq’s current unrest is partly driven by widespread anger at Iranian interference in its politics, but as Iran’s own troubles worsen that involvement will only intensify, according to Croft.As it reels from U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” -- aimed at forcing the Islamic Republic to curtail its nuclear program -- Tehran will likely retaliate by asserting its influence in the region, she said.Read More: Iran protests are about more than rising fuel pricesIran could try to destabilize oil production in the south of Iraq, where American companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. operate, Croft said. There may also be consequences for Saudi Arabia.Half of the kingdom’s output capacity was temporarily knocked out when its Abqaiq processing facility was blasted by drones and missiles on Sept. 14. The brief disruption halted 5.7 million barrels a day, or about 5% of global oil supply.Yemen’s Houthi rebel group claimed credit and U.S. officials blamed their allies in Iran, though Tehran denied responsibility. It followed a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the region, which Washington also blamed on the Islamic Republic.Unless Tehran is given relief from the sanctions squeezing its economy, further incidents are likely, said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group and a former oil official at the White House under President George W. Bush. That could dramatically alter the anticipated picture of oversupply.“Barring a diplomatic breakthrough, the next Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities is more a matter of where and when than if,” said McNally.(Updates with detail on Iran in 11th paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9@bloomberg.net, Rakteem Katakey, Christopher SellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


OPEC’s Flaring Political Crises Add New Risk for Oil Supply  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:24

OPEC’s Flaring Political Crises Add New Risk for Oil Supply(Bloomberg) -- OPEC may have no appetite to cut oil production deeper when it meets next month, but flaring political crises across the group are once again threatening supply.Unrest erupted in Iraq and Iran this month -- two of the Middle East’s biggest producers -- as people took to the streets protesting financial hardship and bad governance. That’s adding to the range of supply threats already afflicting the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, from economic collapse in Venezuela and simmering discontent in Algeria to the recent missile attack on Saudi Arabia.“We kind of had a second Arab Spring, but it’s been under the radar,” said Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets. “The real question is what is going to happen in Iraq.”Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, has violently cracked down on demonstrations against corruption in recent weeks that have spread to the southern oil hub of Basra. Iran has seen its oil exports slashed by U.S. sanctions and is forcefully suppressing protests spurred by the resulting economic stagnation.OPEC and its allies -- who together pump about half the world’s oil -- will meet in Vienna in early December to consider production levels for 2020, having cut output this year to prevent a global surplus. Despite signs that fragile demand and surging U.S. shale supply will unleash a new glut, they’ve signaled no desire to reduce output further.They may not have a choice.In recent years, unplanned supply disruptions within OPEC nations have done as much to keep markets balanced as the cartel’s deliberate cutbacks. Iran and Venezuela have lost a combined 1.7 million barrels a day since last October, more than all 24 nations in the OPEC+ coalition agreed to cut this year.As turmoil intensifies across the group, next year could see more accidental losses: oil prices of about $60 a barrel are already below levels most OPEC nations need to cover government spending, and a further slump would only deepen the strain.“There is no better way to put it: the geopolitical risk is rising in the Middle East again,” said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. in London.Algeria is struggling to placate a mass youth-led movement seeking change after ousting long-term President Abdelaziz Bouteflika earlier this year, and Libya remains split by armed factions. Ecuador, which will leave OPEC in January, suffered a 20% slump in oil production last month amid riots and looting.In Iran, at least 106 people have been killed in protests triggered by an increase in gasoline prices, according to Amnesty International. The country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that several alleged “ring-leaders” backed by foreign powers had been arrested by intelligence services.Iraq RiskThe biggest risk is posed by Iraq, according to RBC’s Croft. While the country’s oil sector has proven robust during recent turbulence, even boosting output when Islamic State militants captured swathes of territory five years ago, the latest demonstrations reflect a new level of popular discontent.“If you had attacks on infrastructure, oil workers going on strike -- Iraq is the place that could surprise the market,” she said.Iraq’s current unrest is partly driven by widespread anger at Iranian interference in its politics, but as Iran’s own troubles worsen that involvement will only intensify, according to Croft.As it reels from U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” -- aimed at forcing the Islamic Republic to curtail its nuclear program -- Tehran will likely retaliate by asserting its influence in the region, she said.Read More: Iran protests are about more than rising fuel pricesIran could try to destabilize oil production in the south of Iraq, where American companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. operate, Croft said. There may also be consequences for Saudi Arabia.Half of the kingdom’s output capacity was temporarily knocked out when its Abqaiq processing facility was blasted by drones and missiles on Sept. 14. The brief disruption halted 5.7 million barrels a day, or about 5% of global oil supply.Yemen’s Houthi rebel group claimed credit and U.S. officials blamed their allies in Iran, though Tehran denied responsibility. It followed a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the region, which Washington also blamed on the Islamic Republic.Unless Tehran is given relief from the sanctions squeezing its economy, further incidents are likely, said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group and a former oil official at the White House under President George W. Bush. That could dramatically alter the anticipated picture of oversupply.“Barring a diplomatic breakthrough, the next Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities is more a matter of where and when than if,” said McNally.(Updates with detail on Iran in 11th paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9@bloomberg.net, Rakteem Katakey, Christopher SellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


De Beers Namibian diamond venture seeks tax breaks to extend operations  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:24

De Beers Namibian diamond venture seeks tax breaks to extend operationsNamdeb, a joint venture between the Namibian government and Anglo American's diamond unit De Beers Group, said on Thursday it was in talks with the government about tax breaks to extend its land-based operations beyond 2023. Diamond mining is the largest taxpayer in Namibia and generates 20% of the southern African country's export earnings. Diamonds have been mined in Namibia since 1908, but land-based operations could end in 2023 as Namdeb says it is no longer economical to continue under the current tax regime.


De Beers Namibian diamond venture seeks tax breaks to extend operations  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:24

De Beers Namibian diamond venture seeks tax breaks to extend operationsNamdeb, a joint venture between the Namibian government and Anglo American's diamond unit De Beers Group, said on Thursday it was in talks with the government about tax breaks to extend its land-based operations beyond 2023. Diamond mining is the largest taxpayer in Namibia and generates 20% of the southern African country's export earnings. Diamonds have been mined in Namibia since 1908, but land-based operations could end in 2023 as Namdeb says it is no longer economical to continue under the current tax regime.


Saudi Arabia Sidelines Wall Street Banks on Aramco IPO  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:22

Saudi Arabia Sidelines Wall Street Banks on Aramco IPO(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia sidelined global banks advising on Aramco’s initial public offering after the deal was pared back to a mainly domestic affair.JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are among global coordinators that have been marginalized as the oil giant turns to local lenders Samba Financial Group and National Commercial Bank, as well as HSBC Holdings Plc to handle investor orders, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- also global coordinators -- have been told to submit their orders through the three banks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The international banks won’t have access to the IPO orderbook without Aramco’s permission, they said.Aramco declined to comment. Citigroup, BofA, HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Samba and NCB didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.More than 20 global investment banks are working on Aramco’s IPO after it was finally given the green light following repeated delays. Senior bankers delivered pitches that Aramco would be able to achieve Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s $2 trillion target. Saudi officials are now frustrated Wall Street’s biggest names were unable to deliver on those promises.The banks are also set to miss out on an expected fee bonanza after foreign investors snubbed the deal and Aramco decided not to market the share sale outside the Middle East, Bloomberg News has reported.The offering will now rely mainly on local investors after most international money managers balked at even the reduced price target of $1.6 trillion to $1.71 trillion.Aramco was expected to pay the more than two dozen advisers on the deal, including banks, lawyers, marketing and advertising agencies, between $350 million to $450 million, Bloomberg News reported in October. But the final payments will depend on how much equity banks are able to place with investors, the people said.(Updates with details from sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Martin in Dubai at mmartin128@bloomberg.net;Archana Narayanan in Dubai at anarayanan16@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stefania Bianchi at sbianchi10@bloomberg.net, Shaji MathewFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Pressure grows on Westpac CEO after massive Australian money laundering scandal  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:21

Pressure grows on Westpac CEO after massive Australian money laundering scandalPressure mounted on the chief executive of Westpac Banking Corp on Thursday over the handling of Australia's biggest money laundering scandal, with the prime minister saying the bank's board should reflect deeply on Brian Hartzer's position. Australian regulator AUSTRAC is suing the country's No.2 bank for 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws including a failure to monitor and report payments between known child exploiters. "These are some very disturbing, very disturbing transactions involving despicable behaviour," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australian Broadcasting Corp on Thursday.


Fiat Chrysler says Peugeot talks progressing despite GM lawsuit  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:05

Fiat Chrysler says Peugeot talks progressing despite GM lawsuitFRANKFURT/PARIS (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler (FCA) said on Thursday talks with Peugeot owner PSA Group to create a $50 billion carmaking group were going well, despite FCA being sued for "substantial damages" by General Motors late on Wednesday. General Motors (GM) filed the lawsuit in the United States, alleging FCA had bribed United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials over many years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain advantages, costing GM billions of dollars.


India offers ailing telecom firms two-year moratorium on payments  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:03

India offers ailing telecom firms two-year moratorium on paymentsIndia has granted the country's beleaguered telecom giants a moratorium on spectrum payments until the end of March 2022, offering much-needed respite after the Supreme Court slapped a massive $13-billion bill on the companies. Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel bore the brunt of last month's court ruling ordering firms to pay a combined 920 billion rupees in past spectrum and licensing fees. The judgement saw Vodafone Idea record the biggest quarterly loss in Indian corporate history last week after it factored in the $4 billion levy.


Thyssenkrupp Set to Suspend Dividend  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:00

Thyssenkrupp Set to Suspend Dividend(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Thyssenkrupp AG plunged the most in a year after moving to suspend dividend payments as it warned losses would deepen, underscoring the challenges facing executives trying to chart a path out of crisis.The German company will ask shareholders to approve suspending payments for the past fiscal year at a meeting in January and warned the financial situation may worsen as it restructures. Losses widened and debt surged in the year through September as a deteriorating economic environment compounded faltering performance at several units of the steel-to-submarines conglomerate.The shares fell as much as 12%, and were down 10% by 9:51 a.m. in Frankfurt, taking this year’s decline to 19%.“The performance of many of our businesses is not satisfying,” Chief Executive Officer Martina Merz said in a statement on Thursday, adding the company would press ahead with a sale or listing of its crown-jewel elevator unit and restructuring measures at other divisions.Once a paragon of German engineering might, Thyssenkrupp is fighting for survival in the teeth of a factory sector slowdown. The company has said it would pursue a sale or listing of its elevator division in order to stabilize its worsening balance sheet. The unit, which is riding a global megatrend for urbanization, was again a glimmer of light in an earnings statement that showed the firm’s cash and debt position worsening.Ingo Schachel, an analyst at Commerzbank AG, said the bank was “somewhat disappointed” by the outlook for 2020 as it implied “a notable increase of net debt and cash burn” in the first quarter.“The strategy update appears to pull the right levers, but for today, market focus will probably rather be on the short-term outlook for 2020 as many of the strategic steps were already anticipated,” Schachel said by email.READ: Steel Royalty No More, Thyssenkrupp Sells Itself Off to SurviveThyssenkrupp said its earnings performance for financial year 2019-20 was uncertain, but expected adjusted earnings before interest and taxes to be around this year’s level of 802 million euros ($890 million). The company also forecasts net losses will be significantly worse in this fiscal year due to restructuring costs.“The expenses for the intensification of restructuring will result in a significantly higher net loss for the year than in the previous year,” Thyssenkrupp said in the statement.Thyssenkrupp said it expected binding offers for the elevator unit in the next year. The company also said it has already received indicative offers from strategic and financial investors, and preparations for a possible initial public offering would be completed by the end of this year.The company said it would slash 640 jobs at its systems-engineering unit. It also hinted it would speed up plans to sell other businesses, and said it has earmarked a “mid triple-digit million” euro amount for pending restructuring measures in the current fiscal year.Thyssenkrupp reiterated it was prioritizing addressing challenges in its steel unit, with the aim of giving it “a long-term perspective,” and said an advisory group would present a plan to executives next month.(Updates shares in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Joe Richter, Richard Weiss and Nicholas Larkin.To contact the reporter on this story: William Wilkes in Frankfurt at wwilkes1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Nicholas Larkin, Dylan GriffithsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Impeachment Drama Stoked as Trump-Blocked Witnesses Loom Larger  » 
21 Nov 2019, 9:00

Impeachment Drama Stoked as Trump-Blocked Witnesses Loom Larger(Bloomberg) -- Gordon Sondland testified that “everyone was in the loop” about his months-long push for a quid pro quo from Ukraine. Democrats must now decide if they’ve gathered enough evidence to justify impeaching President Donald Trump quickly or press for more.In more than six hours of testimony on Wednesday, the hotelier-turned-envoy to the European Union said he informed Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and other top officials that he was relaying a demand that he believed came directly from the president: Ukrainian aid and an Oval Office meeting required a corruption probe tied to former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.Sondland said Pompeo, one of Trump’s closest advisers, told him to “keep banging away.” But more broadly, he emphasized that everyone in a position of authority in the administration, including the president, knew of and approved his work with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland testified. “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”Everyone Knew of ‘Quid Pro Quo’: Sondland Testimony TakeawaysDemocrats will soon face a choice in what has been a fast-moving inquiry: Draw up articles of impeachment based on what they’ve heard so far, or chase more evidence and testimony from high-profile witnesses like Pompeo and Giuliani who have so far refused to cooperate. That would likely require months of court battles, pushing hearings well into the presidential primary calendar next year.Thursday will feature the last scheduled public hearing at the end of a dramatic week, with two witnesses expected to further underscore the confusion around Trump’s Ukraine policy. One of them, Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council director on Russia and Eastern Europe, worked directly with ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton.Republicans challenged Sondland’s testimony Wednesday, arguing that he never got a direct nod from the president and flagged his comments that he didn’t initially equate demands for a probe into Burisma, the gas company on whose board Biden’s son served, as a bid to undermine the former vice president.Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration and said he likes the president, didn’t disagree: “I don’t recall President Trump ever talking to me about any security assistance, ever,” he said.Highlighting just how much could still be revealed, testimony from a Wednesday evening witness upended Republicans’ claim that Ukraine only learned about a U.S. hold on security aid in late August, days before the money was eventually released.Laura Cooper, the Defense Department’s top official on Russia and Ukraine, testified she was alerted to emails from her staff showing that officials at Ukraine’s Embassy in Washington may have been aware of the freeze on critical military aid as early as July 25, the same day Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and asked him for a “favor.”Despite continuing revelations, Democrats have been frustrated that senior officials including Trump, the Office of Management and Budget and the State Department have refused to hand over key documents linked to the investigation. In his testimony, Sondland said the process has been “less than fair” because he hasn’t been given crucial records.Pompeo, speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, declined to recuse himself from decisions on releasing documents to the panel and refused to comment on Sondland’s allegations about his involvement in the Ukraine dealings.Who’s Who: The Americans at the Center of Trump-Ukraine UproarLater, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that Sondland “never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat-out false.”Other allies of the president also jumped in. Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, disputed that Sondland had ever discussed the stalled security aid with the vice president. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s office said Sondland “misrepresented” key events in his testimony.As the week’s hearings wind down, Democrats appear to believe they have heard enough to accuse Trump of wrongdoing in articles of impeachment. They also indicated signaled that the lack of cooperation could allow them to charge the president with obstructing justice.The picture painted in the open hearings has been one of a president who held off on approving aid and meeting Ukraine’s new leader until the government in Kyiv publicly committed to “corruption” inquiries that were shorthand for an investigation into Burisma and the Bidens. If carried out, that effort could have hamstrung the former vice president heading into the 2020 election.‘Big Stuff’Thursday’s witnesses could shed more light on that effort. Besides Hill, the other witness is David Holmes, a Foreign Service officer serving in Ukraine. He earlier testified that Sondland told him at a restaurant in Kyiv that Trump only cares about “big stuff” including investigations involving Biden -- and not Ukraine’s conflict with Russia-backed forces.Hill has emerged as a potentially pivotal witness as well. Earlier she told the impeachment panel that her old boss, Bolton, called Giuliani a “hand grenade that is going to blow everyone up.”But without a more damaging piece of evidence: a voice recording, an email or a direct witness account to prove Trump was trying to extort Ukraine, Republicans who have so far stood with the president are unlikely to back his impeachment or removal.The president, for one, exuded confidence by day’s end on Wednesday. “Not only did we win today, it’s over,” he told reporters after Sondland’s testimony. Later in the evening, Trump tweeted: “If this were a prizefight, they’d stop it!”To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Delisting Chinese Firms From U.S. Is a ‘Terrible Idea,’ Paulson Says  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:59

Delisting Chinese Firms From U.S. Is a ‘Terrible Idea,’ Paulson Says(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said calls to oust Chinese companies from American stock indexes was contrary to the foundations of capitalism, as he warned against the dangers of decoupling the world’s two largest economies.Paulson, who’s now chairman of the Paulson Institute, told Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Beijing that moves to reduce ties between the U.S. and China would weaken American leadership and New York’s leading role in finance. He said less cooperation between Washington and Beijing would also make it more difficult to tackle another financial crisis like the one he was forced to manage as treasury secretary in 2008.“When the next crisis comes -- and a crisis will come, because financial crises are inevitable -- we will regret it if we lack mechanisms for the world’s first and second-largest economies to coordinate,” Paulson told the forum on Thursday, according to a prepared version of his remarks.Paulson’s speech followed on from his warning at the same forum last year that an “economic iron curtain” was descending between the U.S. and Chinese economies. Since then, the relations between the two sides have grown even more strained by trade disputes, security spats and disagreement over human rights.The Trump administration has been pressuring allies to stop using Chinese technology. U.S. officials are also discussing ways to limit American investors’ portfolio flows into China, Bloomberg News reported in September, citing people familiar with the internal deliberations.The U.S. Treasury said that there was no plan “at this time” to block Chinese companies from listing on U.S. stock exchanges.“Decoupling China from U.S. markets by delisting Chinese firms from US exchanges is a terrible idea,” Paulson said. “So is forcing Chinese equities out of the MSCI indexes. It is simply contrary to the foundations of successful capitalism for politicians and bureaucrats to instruct private American players how to deploy private capital for private ends.”The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.\--With assistance from Karen Leigh.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, James MaygerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


GM lawsuit won't torpedo Fiat Chrysler merger with Peugeot: source  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:56

GM lawsuit won't torpedo Fiat Chrysler merger with Peugeot: sourceMILAN/PARIS (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler's (FCA) planned $50 billion merger with Peugeot owner PSA Group will not be blown off course by a shock lawsuit against FCA from General Motors, a source close to FCA said on Thursday. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the lawsuit seeking "substantial damages" would not lead FCA and PSA to review the two companies' valuations in their proposed deal to create the world's fourth-biggest automaker. General Motors (GM) filed the lawsuit in the United States on Wednesday, alleging FCA had bribed United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials over years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain advantages, costing GM billions of dollars.


GM lawsuit won't torpedo Fiat Chrysler merger with Peugeot: source  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:56

GM lawsuit won't torpedo Fiat Chrysler merger with Peugeot: sourceMILAN/PARIS (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler's (FCA) planned $50 billion merger with Peugeot owner PSA Group will not be blown off course by a shock lawsuit against FCA from General Motors, a source close to FCA said on Thursday. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the lawsuit seeking "substantial damages" would not lead FCA and PSA to review the two companies' valuations in their proposed deal to create the world's fourth-biggest automaker. General Motors (GM) filed the lawsuit in the United States on Wednesday, alleging FCA had bribed United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials over years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain advantages, costing GM billions of dollars.


Exclusive: German exports to United States jump despite trade tensions  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:53

Exclusive: German exports to United States jump despite trade tensionsStrong German exports to the United States helped Europe's largest economy to avoid a recession in the third quarter, data showed on Thursday, as companies benefited from a weaker euro and trade diversion linked to the U.S.-China tariff dispute. The detailed trade figures underline that U.S. demand for German goods remain strong, undaunted by President Donald Trump's threats to increase import tariffs on European cars. Germany's export-reliant economy avoided slipping into recession in the third quarter as consumers, state spending and construction drove a 0.1% quarterly expansion.


Exclusive: German exports to United States jump despite trade tensions  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:53

Exclusive: German exports to United States jump despite trade tensionsStrong German exports to the United States helped Europe's largest economy to avoid a recession in the third quarter, data showed on Thursday, as companies benefited from a weaker euro and trade diversion linked to the U.S.-China tariff dispute. The detailed trade figures underline that U.S. demand for German goods remain strong, undaunted by President Donald Trump's threats to increase import tariffs on European cars. Germany's export-reliant economy avoided slipping into recession in the third quarter as consumers, state spending and construction drove a 0.1% quarterly expansion.


Exclusive: German exports to United States jump in third-quarter despite trade tensions  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:48

Exclusive: German exports to United States jump in third-quarter despite trade tensionsGermany managed to avoid a recession in the third quarter in part thanks to a surge in its exports to the United States, data made available to Reuters showed on Thursday. German exports to the U.S. jumped by 7.6% year-on-year from July through September after a 5.3% increase in the previous three months, data compiled for Reuters from the Federal Statistics Office showed. The detailed trade figures underline that U.S. demand for German goods remain strong, undaunted by President Donald Trump's 'America First' campaign and his threats to increase import tariffs on European cars.


Modi Brings India’s Economy Into Focus Amid Privatization Push  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:47

Modi Brings India’s Economy Into Focus Amid Privatization Push(Bloomberg) -- India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is putting the flagging economy back on center stage after announcing the biggest privatization drive in more than a decade and making renewed attempts to ring fence the crisis-ridden shadow banking sector.The country is in the midst of a deepening slowdown amid waning consumption -- the bedrock of the $2.7 trillion economy. And while Modi has targeted transforming India into a $5 trillion economy by 2025, of late, most of his attention has been focused on asserting a more muscular foreign policy and placating the Hindu majority -- his main voting base -- by scrapping autonomy in India’s lone Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.On Wednesday, Indian authorities went on an overdrive. The government decided to sell its entire stake in the country’s second-largest state refiner, and its biggest shipping company. It also approved a proposal to pare stakes below 51% in some companies and pushed for an introduction of a new industrial code bill. Meanwhile India’s central bank seized a troubled shadow lender to try and contain defaults from spreading in Asia’s third-largest economy.“This is Modi’s renewed attempt to instill confidence in India’s economic potential,” said Priyanka Kishore, head of India and Southeast Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, Singapore.She added it was imperative for the Modi government to announce these measures as it attempts to bridge a widening fiscal deficit following the dismal tax collections and cuts to corporate tax rates worth $20 billion. Earlier this month Moody’s Investors Service cut the country’s sovereign debt outlook to negative amid concerns over slowing growth and revenues.After winning a second consecutive term earlier this year promising rapid economic development, Modi is realizing his popularity and support going forward hinges on passing tough reforms that unleash growth -- and create jobs -- in Asia’s third-biggest economy. The economy expanded 5% in April to June, the slowest in six years and a far cry from 8% seen just a year ago. Expectations from data due next week isn’t rosy either.Steep TargetModi is seeking to raise a record 1.05 trillion rupees from asset sales. He has so far has resisted big-ticket privatization and restricted sales of its holdings to other state companies, including the 369.2 billion-rupee ($5.14 billion) sale of Hindustan Petroleum Corp. to the biggest explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp. last year. Now his administration is selling the government’s entire stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Shipping Corp. of India Ltd.“The government’s steep $15 billion -- 5% of its total revenues -- disinvestment target in FY’ 20 may in our view need to be higher given the recent cut in the corporate tax rate and policymakers’ focus on macro stability,” said Gautam Chhaochharia, head of India research at UBS Securities India Pvt Ltd, Mumbai.The administration’s focus on getting the economy back on track comes as it plans to offer 324 companies including Tesla Inc.and GlaxoSmithKline Plc incentives to set up factories in a bid to capitalize from the trade war between China and the U.S.India has jumped 14 places to 63rd in the World Bank’s annual rankings for ease of doing business, rolled back a levy on foreign funds, injected $10 billion into sick banks and relaxed foreign direct investment rules in coal mining, contract manufacturing and single-brand retail trading.The Reserve Bank of India is also poised to cut rates further after having delivered 135 basis points of rate reductions so far this year. On Wednesday, it moved to seize control of a second non-bank lender, Dewan Housing Finance Corp., stepping up efforts to contain the economic fallout from the nation’s shadow banking crisis. The year-long crisis in the shadow banking sector has snowballed to become a drag on consumption and pulled down overall growth.“While the markets will view this as positive, the move also goes to deflect the investor attention away from the government’s non-economic agenda,” said Prakash Sakpal, Economist with ING Bank NV in Singapore. “Despite massive stimulus both the RBI and government has unleashed this year, the economy continues to be stifled as will be shown by the forthcoming GDP figures.”To contact the reporters on this story: Anirban Nag in Mumbai at anag8@bloomberg.net;Vrishti Beniwal in New Delhi at vbeniwal1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard, Unni KrishnanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Vietnam Tells Importers to Reject Items With Disputed South China Sea Map  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:40

Vietnam Tells Importers to Reject Items With Disputed South China Sea Map(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam wants its importers to ensure that what they’re bringing into the country won’t contain a disputed South China Sea map that’s been spotted in items from vehicle navigation to solar inverter software.The Ministry of Industry and Trade, in a statement on the website, said companies must review contracts and improve their monitoring of the imported goods. For high risk items like maps, publications, gadgets, importers must ask sellers for a “written commitment” that none of the products violate Vietnam’s sovereignty.Companies must immediately report any suspected violation to provincial authorities, it said. Earlier this month, Vietnam said it will fine Volkswagen AG’s local distributor and a car importer over a navigation app reflecting China’s nine-dash-line claims. Solar power inverters were also found using a software that refer to the disputed map.Uproar Over ‘Abominable’ Movie’s Map of China Spreads in AsiaSoutheast Asian countries have clashed with China over maritime claims in the region, where Beijing’s nine-dash-line encompasses waters the U.S. has said could contain unexploited hydrocarbons worth $2.5 trillion. Vietnam and China fought a war along their land border in 1979.To contact the reporter on this story: Nguyen Xuan Quynh in Hanoi at xnguyen20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: John Boudreau at jboudreau3@bloomberg.net, ;Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Clarissa Batino, Nguyen Dieu Tu UyenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Bank Indonesia Cuts Reserve Ratio in Cautious Easing Move  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:36

Bank Indonesia Cuts Reserve Ratio in Cautious Easing Move(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Indonesia’s central bank left its key interest rate unchanged while pumping more liquidity into the financial system to stimulate Southeast Asia’s largest economy.Bank Indonesia kept the seven-day reverse repurchase rate unchanged at 5% on Thursday following four rate cuts this year, in line with the prediction of 21 of 31 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Banks’ reserve requirement ratio was cut by 50 basis points, the first such decision since June.“This looks like a balancing act,” said Frances Cheung, head of Asia macro and strategy at Westpac Banking Corp. in Singapore. “Keeping the policy rate unchanged reflects the focus on maintaining rupiah stability,” while cutting the reserve ratio “fits into the objective of promoting credit expansion.”After 100 basis points of rate cuts since July, the central bank is taking a more cautious approach in providing stimulus to the economy, turning to additional instruments to spur lending. With growth likely to remain subdued amid a sluggish global outlook, Governor Perry Warjiyo said there’s still room for more policy easing, either through monetary levers or macroprudential tools.“Monetary policy remains accommodative and is consistent with controlled inflation in the target corridor,” Warjiyo told reporters in Jakarta. “Going forward, Bank Indonesia will monitor domestic and global economic developments in using its room to implement an accommodative policy mix.”The rupiah was little changed on the decision.“There’s nothing to suggest they’re done with rate cuts,” said Mohamed Faiz Nagutha, a Singapore-based economist with Bank of America, which has forecast an additional 75 basis points of easing over the next few months. “Our call remains for a full unwind of the 175 basis points of hikes from last year.”After raising rates last year to curb a currency rout, Bank Indonesia has switched its focus to supporting growth amid a global slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war. The central bank expects Indonesia’s economy to grow 5.1% this year.What Bloomberg’s Economists SaySignificant scope for seasonal year-end risk aversion likely keeps the policy rate on hold for now in support of the currency -- especially as recent reports suggest a “Phase One” trade deal between the U.S. and China may not get done in 2019. The central bank’s pause in its rate cut cycle may extend only a short while into 1Q 2020.Click here to read the full report.Tamara Mast Henderson, Asean economistInflation remains subdued, with consumer-price growth at a six-month low of 3.1% in October. The central bank said Thursday that inflation for the full year is expected around 3.1%, well within the target band of 2.5%-4.5%.A surprise trade surplus of $161 million in October eases pressure on the current-account deficit, which has been a key risk for the rupiah. The currency is up 3.5% against the dollar in the past year, among the top performers in Asia, with the bank saying it expects the currency to remain stable in line with fundamentals.Reserve RatioThe reserve requirement ratio for conventional banks was cut to 5.5% from 6%, and for Islamic banks to 4% from 4.5%, effective Jan. 2. Warjiyo said the RRR cut would add an additional 24.1 trillion rupiah in liquidity for commercial banks and 1.9 trillion rupiah for Shariah lenders.“Liquidity is sufficient,” but there’s a problem in terms of the distribution of liquidity between groups of banks, he said.Warjiyo said strong household consumption has kept the economy resilient, but falling imports of capital goods and raw materials show production hasn’t picked up significantly.The central bank “may resume its easing cycle in early 2020 to give growth momentum an added boost” and further the government’s investment-driven growth plans, said Nicholas Mapa, an economist at ING Groep NV in Manila.(Updates with comments from analyst in third paragraph, central bank governor in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Tassia Sipahutar, Harry Suhartono, Yoga Rusmana and Chester Yung.To contact the reporters on this story: Karlis Salna in Jakarta at ksalna@bloomberg.net;Viriya Singgih in Jakarta at vsinggih@bloomberg.net;Arys Aditya in Jakarta at aaditya5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net, ;Thomas Kutty Abraham at tabraham4@bloomberg.net, Michael S. ArnoldFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Corbyn Unveils Manifesto to Rile U.K.’s Bankers and Billionaires  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:35

Corbyn Unveils Manifesto to Rile U.K.’s Bankers and Billionaires(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will urge voters in the U.K. election to take down bankers and billionaires who “profit from a rigged system.”Corbyn will declare war on the wealthiest people in Britain on Thursday, when he unveils an election manifesto promising radical change across the economy. Boris Johnson’s Tories will unveil their program next week.Speaking in Birmingham, central England, Corbyn will say the fury of the “rich and powerful” at Labour’s policies is the best demonstration they are on the side of ordinary voters. The plans may include a windfall tax on oil companies, the BBC reported.“If the bankers, billionaires and the establishment thought we represented politics as usual, that we could be bought off, that nothing was really going to change, they wouldn’t attack us so ferociously,” he will say.Corbyn’s populist pitch for the Dec. 12 election is aimed at voters frustrated and exhausted by a decade of post-financial crisis austerity. At every turn, he’s trying to define himself against Johnson, styling his opponent as the candidate of wealth and privilege.The manifesto will also include a windfall tax on oil companies after the party leadership overrode the concerns of union bosses about the potential effect on their members’ jobs, the BBC reported. Both Corbyn and his economy spokesman John McDonnell have previously supported such a tax, but McDonnell appeared to rule it out earlier this week.Branding his plans a “manifesto for hope” that are fully costed, Corbyn will promise tax increases that target only the top 5% of taxpayers, while protecting everyone else. He’ll pledge to spend around 75 billion pounds ($97 billion) over five years on social housing and promise to invest 100 billion pounds in Scotland over the next decade.But he will also promise to “go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters,” with a 10-pound minimum wage, more power for renters, stronger unions, and a levy on the biggest polluters that will be used to tackle climate change. He’s also promised to take utilities into public ownership, including BT Group Plc’s Openreach unit.“You really can have this plan for real change because you don’t need money to buy it. You just need a vote -- and your vote can be more powerful than all their wealth,” he will say.Corbyn’s rivals in the Conservative Party attacked his efforts to avoid the issue of Brexit. In a debate with Johnson on Tuesday, Corbyn repeatedly refused to say how he would campaign in a second referendum.On Thursday, Johnson will visit a housing development in the east of England to highlight the Tories’ plans to help first time buyers. Home Secretary Priti Patel will also announce that she will look at doubling the jail sentence for attacking police and other emergency service workers.(Updates with proposed oil tax starting in third paragraph)\--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, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


China says it will strive to reach 'phase one' trade deal with U.S.  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:32

China says it will strive to reach 'phase one' trade deal with U.S.China will strive to reach an initial trade agreement with the United States as both sides keep communication channels open, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, in an attempt to allay fears talks might be unravelling. China is willing to work with the United States to resolve each other's core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and will try hard to reach a "phase one" deal, Gao Feng, spokesman at the ministry, told reporters. "This is in line with the interests of both China and the United States, and of the world," Gao said.


GM Sues Fiat Chrysler, Alleging Corruption Undermined Its UAW Deals  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:23

GM Sues Fiat Chrysler, Alleging Corruption Undermined Its UAW Deals(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. surprised Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV with a racketeering lawsuit that for the first time implicates late Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne in a years-long corruption scheme that already has landed car executives and labor leaders in jail.The suit filed in federal court alleges Fiat Chrysler inflicted billions of dollars in damages by bribing United Auto Workers’ brass for competitive advantages that the union denied to GM. The illicit payments benefited Fiat Chrysler starting in 2009, when the two companies were emerging from government-backed bankruptcies, through 2015, when Marchionne conspired with the UAW to attempt a takeover, according to the suit.Fiat Chrysler denied the allegations and said it assumed GM was trying to undermine active negotiations to clinch two deals the Italian-American company is eager to get done: a merger with France’s PSA Group and new contract with the UAW. Whether it’s correct about GM’s intent or not, Fiat Chrysler’s response is a tacit acknowledgment that the lawsuit could pose a threat to both sets of talks.Fiat Chrysler fell as much as 5% in Milan on Thursday, the stock’s biggest intraday drop in almost four months. While GM isn’t suing the UAW, it’s risking relations with the union by airing more allegations of wrongdoing on top of what federal prosecutors have already made public. GM dipped 3% in New York on Wednesday.The suit is remarkable both in terms of precedence and irony. Big automakers are accustomed to dealing with major litigation brought by regulators and consumers, but not by one another -- especially not with so much as a courtesy call beforehand.And if arguments both sides are making against each other are true -- that Marchionne was using the UAW to bully GM’s Mary Barra, and that she’s now trying to undercut Fiat Chrysler’s combination with PSA -- the chess moves will go down as among the most dramatic by Detroit executives in decades.GM alleges Marchionne, who died last year, and three Fiat Chrysler executives who have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison, corrupted the collective bargaining process between the UAW and Detroit’s automakers, including when contracts were negotiated in 2011 and 2015. That resulted in unfairly high labor costs for GM, Craig Glidden, the automaker’s general counsel, told reporters during a briefing Wednesday.“The multiyear bribery scheme FCA led undermined the integrity of the collective bargaining process and caused GM substantial damages,” Glidden said, referring to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The attempted merger with PSA has no bearing on GM’s complaint, he said.Fiat Chrysler said it’s “astonished” by the suit. “We intend to vigorously defend against this meritless lawsuit and pursue all legal remedies in response to it,” the company said in a statement.Slow Down a Deal?Analysts already have questioned the terms of Fiat Chrysler’s planned deal with Peugeot owner PSA, with Deutsche Bank’s Gaetan Toulemonde writing earlier this week that the French carmaker’s shareholders were “taking all the risks.” Earlier this month, RBC Capital Markets said PSA is overpaying, and Citigroup said the proposal is heavily skewed in Fiat Chrysler’s favor.“That merger is not as easy as a lot of people think, in any case,” Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said by phone. GM’s lawsuit might slow down the deal, he said, since “PSA will have to conduct some pretty deep investigation before they go forward.”GM refers to former UAW President Dennis Williams as Marchionne’s “wingman” for his attempt to take over GM, and that the two knew each other since the 2000s, when they negotiated contracts at a Fiat-affiliated truck and tractor company. The code name for Fiat Chrysler’s efforts to combine with GM was “Operation Cylinder.”The competitive advantages GM says Fiat Chrysler secured from the UAW include a higher portion of workers paid lower wages, a streamlined grievance process and looser limits on use of temporary employees, according to GM. As of 2015, 42% of Fiat Chrysler’s union membership were earning second-tier pay, compared with about 20% for GM.In a statement, the UAW denied that past contracts were tainted, saying there were “multiple layers of checks and balances” to ensure their integrity. Hours after responding to GM’s suit, the union announced its executive board brought charges to remove Gary Jones, who succeeded Williams as president last year. He resigned Wednesday, according to his lawyer.Surprise TargetWilliams made the surprise choice in 2015 to target Fiat Chrysler as the first company the UAW would negotiate a new contract with, despite it being the smallest and least-profitable of the Detroit automakers. The union traditionally seeks to deal first with the strongest automaker to set a pattern for the others to follow.GM alleges that Fiat Chrysler and the UAW ended up reaching a deal designed in part to force a merger Barra had publicly resisted by raising expenses for her company.In a speech announcing Fiat Chrysler’s 2015 agreement, Marchionne said that the costs of the UAW contract “pale in comparison given the magnitude of the potential synergies and benefits” he was pursuing through consolidation, according to the suit. GM claims he was referring to his proposed merger with GM.Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley sent an email to employees late Wednesday calling GM’s suit a “collage of salacious public allegations.”“I will end by thanking you again for the work you have done and are continuing to do to create an amazing company,” he said. “Let’s keep the performance up as it has clearly got some of our competitors worried.”The case is General Motors LLC v FCA US LLC, 19-cv-13429, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.(Updates Fiat shares in fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Chris Dolmetsch, Daniele Lepido, Chester Dawson, Melinda Grenier and David Welch.To contact the reporter on this story: Gabrielle Coppola in New York at gcoppola@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Kevin MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


China bats away rumors, says trade talks with US continue  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:21

China bats away rumors, says trade talks with US continueMinistry spokesman Gao Feng said he had no new information to release. “China is willing to address core concerns together with the U.S. on a basis of equality and mutual respect, and to work to conclude our discussions on the first phase” of a trade deal, Gao told reporters at a weekly briefing. “This will benefit China, the U.S. and the world,” Gao said.


Trump Expected to Sign Hong Kong Bill Despite China Threats  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:08

Trump Expected to Sign Hong Kong Bill Despite China Threats(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation passed by Congress supporting Hong Kong protesters, setting up a confrontation with China that could imperil a long-awaited trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.The bill, approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, passed the House 417-1 on Wednesday and could go to Trump as soon as Thursday. A person familiar with the matter said Trump planned to sign the bill.“The Congress is sending an unmistakable message to the world that the United States stands in solidarity with freedom-loving people of Hong Kong and that we fully support their fight for freedom,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said on the House floor. “This has been a very unifying issue for us.”The remarkable bipartisan support for a hard-line U.S. stance on China creates one of the toughest economic and foreign policy challenges of Trump’s presidency. He would like to sign what he calls “phase one” of a China trade deal to ease economic uncertainly stemming from his trade war with Beijing as he ramps up his campaign for re-election.China’s foreign ministry urged the U.S. to prevent the legislation from becoming law, warning the American side not to underestimate the country’s determination to defend its “sovereignty, security and development interests.” “If the U.S. insists on going down this wrong path, China will take strong countermeasures,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing Thursday in Beijing. QuickTake: Why Hong Kong’s ‘Special Status’ Is Touchy TerritoryThe bill, S. 1838, would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special trade status under U.S. law and sanction officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses and undermining the city’s autonomy. The House also passed another Senate bill, S. 2710, to ban the export of crowd-control items such as tear gas and rubber bullets to the Hong Kong police.‘Ramifications’ for CrackdownTrump has been largely silent on the Hong Kong protests as they escalated into violence in recent weeks, even as lawmakers of both parties demanded action.“After the Senate unanimously passed our Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, I applaud Speaker Pelosi for taking swift action to send this bill directly to President Trump’s desk for signature,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and a sponsor of the Senate legislation. “I urge the president to sign this critical bill into law as soon as possible.”“We stand in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong,” said Republican Representative Chris Smith, who has been pushing the legislation since Hong Kong protests in 2014. “There will be strong sanctions, other ramifications for this crackdown.”The Democratic-led House used an expedited process to quickly act on the Senate bill rather than trying to reconcile it with a slightly different version the House unanimously passed last month. That was the quickest way to approve the legislation before Congress recesses for the Thanksgiving holiday next week.China also came up in the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, with former Vice President Joe Biden promising to “be vocally, vocally speaking out about the violation of the commitment they made to Hong Kong.” Asked specifically about how he would support the city’s demonstrators, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey vowed to “call China out for its human rights violations” while Andrew Yang said he would build an international coalition to pressure Beijing on such issues.Republican senators have been among the loudest voices calling for harsh consequences for China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, wrote to United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft asking for a resolution “to condemn and hold accountable the People’s Republic of China” for human rights violations in Hong Kong.Trade RisksSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, called on Trump to speak out, saying Monday that “the world should hear from him directly that the United States stands with” the protesters.Vice President Mike Pence, however, said it would be difficult for the U.S. to sign a trade agreement with China if demonstrations in Hong Kong are met with violence. “The president’s made it clear it’ll be very hard for us to do a deal with China if there’s any violence or if that matter is not treated properly and humanely,” Pence said Tuesday in a radio interview.Trade negotiators are still making delicate progress on an accord, according to people close to the talks, who describe the negotiation as entering a make-or-break stage.Trump’s central argument to voters is the strength of the U.S. economy under his presidency and his ability to cut deals with other countries. Signing the Hong Kong bill could harden China’s negotiating position as the U.S. asks China to buy more agricultural products and Beijing insists that the U.S. reduce tariffs on Chinese goods.The Hong Kong government said on Thursday that allowing the legislation to become law “would send the wrong signal to violent protesters, which doesn’t help in cooling the situation.”(Updates with China foreign ministry response in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Jordan Fabian, Shawn Donnan, Jenny Leonard, Steven Yang, Natalie Lung and April Ma.To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel Flatley in Washington at dflatley1@bloomberg.net;Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Alex Wayne, Brendan ScottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


China’s Top Negotiator ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Reaching Trade Deal  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:01

China’s Top Negotiator ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Reaching Trade Deal(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. China’s chief trade negotiator said at a dinner Wednesday night that he was “cautiously optimistic” about reaching a phase one deal with the U.S., even as talks continue to stretch out amid tensions over Hong Kong and other issues.Vice Premier Liu He made the comments in a speech in Beijing, according to people who attended the dinner and asked not to be identified. He also explained China’s plans for reforming state enterprises, opening up the financial sector, and enforcing intellectual property rights -- issues at the core of U.S. demands for change in China’s economic system.Separately from the speech, he told one of the attendees that he was “confused” about the U.S. demands, but was confident the first phase of an agreement could be completed nevertheless.U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will continue communicating closely and work toward a phase one deal, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a briefing in Beijing on Thursday. Responding to questions including whether the two sides agreed on agricultural purchases and tariff removal, as well as a media report on the timetable for a deal, Gao said related rumors were not accurate. It was unclear exactly what he was referring to.Since President Donald Trump announced the phase one deal a month ago, markets have been whipsawed by comments from both sides, first indicating progress, and then the opposite. Just on Wednesday, Trump said China wasn’t “stepping up to the level that I want.”Asian stocks and American equity futures dropped after the U.S. Congress passed a bill supporting Hong Kong’s protesters, though moves eased after Bloomberg published news of Liu’s comments. If efforts to reach a phase one deal fail before Dec. 15, Trump has threatened to impose 15% tariffs on some $160 billion in imports from China.Liu’s comments on Wednesday came before the House voted 417-1 for legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters that has already been unanimously approved by the Senate. It could go to Trump as soon as Thursday and he plans to sign the bill, a person familiar with the matter said.Liu was speaking at a dinner before the New Economy Forum. The Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.While the Hong Kong bill is a negative factor for the phase one deal, China still may be able to reach an agreement with the U.S. this year, said Zhang Yansheng, who previously worked at the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner.“The optimistic view is that the phase-one deal can be reached within this year, and a more pessimistic one is that the first phase will be dragged to some point next year,” said Zhang, who is now chief researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. “I think if there are no disruptions such as uncalled-for tweets or remarks, there is the probability of the phase-one deal being reached this year.”Speaking at the forum Thursday, Vice President Wang Qishan said China would follow through on policy changes despite facing serious challenges at home and aboard. He said the country would continue to let the market play a “decisive role” in the allocation for resources and stick to the path of peaceful development.“Between war and peace, the Chinese people firmly choose peace. Humanity cherishes peace,” Wang said in the keynote address. “We should abandon the zero-sum thinking and cold war mentality.”After almost two years of negotiations and escalations -- and plenty of false dawns -- trade negotiators from the U.S. and China are making progress in key areas. Some people close to the talks have described them as being in a sensitive, make-or-break stage.People close to the discussions insist negotiators so far have been able to avoid having growing areas of friction, like Hong Kong, infect the talks. The looming December tariffs, meanwhile, have become the latest hard deadline -- replacing a canceled Nov. 16-17 summit in Chile at which Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping were expected to sign a deal.The negotiating teams are using their failed May proposal as a benchmark for how much a phase-one deal covers of the once-near agreement and how much tariffs will be removed as part of the initial deal.There’s been signs of a thawing on other fronts. The U.S. Commerce Department has started approving some suppliers’ applications for licenses to do business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co., partially reopening access to one of the biggest buyers of U.S. technology.While the phase one deal remains uncertain, trade experts say frictions between the world’s two biggest economies will continue regardless of that outcome.“Tactical shifts may deescalate tensions in the short term but will not resolve fundamental differences which can no longer be papered over,” said Charlene Barshefsky, who negotiated China’s entry into the World Trade Organization under President Bill Clinton. “We are at an inflection point. No outcome is inevitable but two decades of careful management of the relations between China and the West have run its course.”(Updates with remarks from China’s commerce ministry in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Miao Han.To contact the reporter on this story: Shawn Donnan in Beijing at sdonnan@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Malcolm Scott at mscott23@bloomberg.net, James MaygerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


After This Eerie Calm in Currencies, What Comes Next?  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:00

After This Eerie Calm in Currencies, What Comes Next?(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Here is a puzzle that is preoccupying the world’s currency dealing rooms.No market is more liquid and nothing is more heavily traded than foreign exchange. The latest survey by the Bank of International Settlements, carried out in April, showed that total currency volumes traded per day reached $6.6 trillion (yes, trillion with a t). In fact, while other markets remain quieter than they were before the global financial crisis, foreign exchange volumes have more than doubled.Add to this that the world has been roiled for 18 months now by the most serious trade conflict to involve the U.S. since the current currency regime came into being with the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. Tariffs and threats of tariffs normally imply an immediate response from the currency markets to try to offset them. With vast sums of money changing hands every day, this should be a recipe for big lurches and high volatility such as hasn’t previously been present.  And yet, volatility is the lowest since the earliest days after Bretton Woods. If we take a simple measure of five-day percentage moves in the dollar spot index (comparing it to other developed-market currencies), we find that there hasn’t been a weekly swing of as much as 2% in almost two years. The last time this happened was in 1976.Looking at implied volatility, foreign exchange as an asset class hasn’t been this calm since mid-2007, at the end of the period know as the Great Moderation before the financial crisis, when volatility across a variety of asset classes was artificially low:To take one final measure, the spread between the highest and lowest level for the dollar index over the last 12 months is now below 5%. Again, this is the lowest since the very different days of 1977, when a number of the biggest U.S. trading partners still had tightly controlled currencies. And while the dollar remains the linchpin of the global financial system, plenty of major pairs that don’t involve the greenback also show very low volatility. This is a global effect. How can foreign exchange be so calm at such a turbulent juncture for international trade? One field of explanations covers the macro. The Federal Reserve executed a U-turn at the turn of the year and cut rates, thus heading off concerns that it would over-tighten — something that can reliably expand volatility. There is now a deal of comfort over the Fed’s course for the foreseeable future: It won’t be raising at all, and it won’t be cutting much. Meanwhile, other big central banks are also easing, giving little compelling reason to shift between currencies. In all cases, bets on central banks are asymmetric; they could ease but they won’t tighten. And global economies are sufficiently linked that if one has to ease, others will probably do the same.And while trade conflicts may be adding to the sources of volatility, changes in the oil market have taken away one critical source of turbulence. With the rise in supply from outside OPEC, even a major Middle East story such as the drone attack on a major Saudi Arabian oil installation earlier this year had little effect on the currency market. There are also some micro factors. Bonds and stocks also show very low volatility, if not the historic lows seen in foreign exchange. Hedge funds have placed heavy bets on volatility to stay low, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Plus the sheer liquidity of foreign exchange does have the effect of ensuring against sudden stops or extreme moves in response to news. But there’s no question that investors and officials find such low volatility unnerving. Since the crisis, many have re-read the works of Hyman Minsky, who held that financial stability generates instability, and there are painful memories of the way the last period of low volatility suckered many into making the bets that unraveled spectacularly in 2008.Conceivably, this is a structural reduction in turbulence. But it seems likelier that the period of range-bound and calm trading presages a turn, just as the low volatility of 2007 did. The dollar has been on an upward trajectory ever since the crisis, aided by the intractable political and economic problems of its major trading partner, the euro zone. With a highly polarized U.S. presidential election ahead in 2020, and a calmer political situation in Europe raising hopes that it may at last have hit rock bottom, this period of low volatility may also portend a new long-term trend, this time of dollar weakness. As one currency strategist puts it: “Even when you throw a ball against a wall, there’s a brief period when it stops.” Foreign exchange markets may be in that brief period right now. To contact the author of this story: John Authers at jauthers@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Gordon Sondland makes splash as unlikely star witness in Trump impeachment inquiry  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:00

Gordon Sondland makes splash as unlikely star witness in Trump impeachment inquiryGordon Sondland, a businessman-turned-ambassador, had a starkly different demeanor than that of others who testified in the Trump impeachment inquiry.


Two central witnesses in Ukraine pressure campaign to testify in impeachment inquiry  » 
21 Nov 2019, 8:00

Two central witnesses in Ukraine pressure campaign to testify in impeachment inquiryFiona Hill and David Holmes, two central witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, plan to testify.


Kissinger Says U.S. and China in ‘Foothills of a Cold War’  » 
21 Nov 2019, 7:54

Kissinger Says U.S. and China in ‘Foothills of a Cold War’(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the U.S. and China were in the “foothills of a Cold War,” and warned that the conflict could be worse than World War I if left to run unconstrained.“That makes it, in my view, especially important that a period of relative tension be followed by an explicit effort to understand what the political causes are and a commitment by both sides to try to overcome those,” Kissinger told a session of the New Economy Forum. “It is far from being too late for that, because we are still in the foothills of a cold war.”Kissinger said China and the U.S. were countries of a magnitude exceeding that of the Soviet Union and America, and that the world’s two largest economies, who are locked in a protracted trade war, “are bound to step on each other’s toes all over the world, in the sense of being conscious of the purposes of the other.”Solomon on 1MDB, Kissinger Warns on China-U.S. Ties: Live at NEF“So a discussion of our mutual purposes and an attempt to limit the impact of conflict seems to me essential,” he said. “If conflict is is permitted to run unconstrained the outcome could be even worse than it was in Europe. World War 1 broke out because a relatively minor crisis could not be mastered.”Kissinger, 96, said he hoped trade negotiations would provide an opening to political discussions between the two countries.“Everybody knows that trade negotiations, which I hope will succeed and whose success I support, can only be a small beginning to a political discussion that I hope will take place,” he said.Kissinger spoke hours after Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan addressed the NEF, saying his country was committed to peace and would follow through on policy changes despite facing challenges at home and abroad.“Between war and peace, the Chinese people firmly choose peace. Humanity cherishes peace,” he said. “We should abandon the zero-sum thinking and cold war mentality.”The U.S. and China are trying to assemble a partial trade agreement amid wider tensions ranging from human rights concerns over pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the detention of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region to strategic competition in the South China Sea. Kissinger said he thought a solution to the unrest in Hong Kong was possible, if not likely, and that he hoped it would be resolved via negotiation.The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Other guests include Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.\--With assistance from Shelly Banjo.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: James Mayger in Beijing at jmayger@bloomberg.net;Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen Leigh, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


BMW orders more than 10 billion euros' worth of battery cells  » 
21 Nov 2019, 7:45

BMW orders more than 10 billion euros' worth of battery cellsGerman carmaker BMW on Thursday said it had ordered more than 10 billion euros' ($11.07 billion) worth of battery cells from Chinese battery cell maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL) <300750.SZ> and Samsung SDI <006400.KS>. BMW said it had boosted its order with CATL to 7.3 billion euros from an original booking announced in mid-2018 that was worth 4 billion euros.


BMW orders more than 10 billion euros' worth of battery cells  » 
21 Nov 2019, 7:45

BMW orders more than 10 billion euros' worth of battery cellsGerman carmaker BMW on Thursday said it had ordered more than 10 billion euros' ($11.07 billion) worth of battery cells from Chinese battery cell maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL) <300750.SZ> and Samsung SDI <006400.KS>. BMW said it had boosted its order with CATL to 7.3 billion euros from an original booking announced in mid-2018 that was worth 4 billion euros.


Pentagon denies U.S. is considering pulling troops from South Korea  » 
21 Nov 2019, 7:42

Pentagon denies U.S. is considering pulling troops from South KoreaThe Pentagon on Thursday denied a South Korean news report saying that the United States was considering a significant cut to its troop numbers in South Korea if Seoul does not contribute more to the costs of the deployment. "There is absolutely no truth to the Chosun Ilbo report that the U.S. Department of Defense is currently considering removing any troops from the Korean Peninsula," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement, referring to Secretary Mark Esper, who earlier on Thursday had said he was unaware of any such planning.


Europe's prisons failing to monitor inmates' health: WHO  » 
21 Nov 2019, 7:35

Europe's prisons failing to monitor inmates' health: WHOPrison authorities in Europe are not doing enough to monitor the health of inmates, meaning prisoners are more likely to suffer untreated conditions and are released without adequate support, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The UN body warned that such failings will come at a "high cost" for society at large as they add to the public health burden. The WHO collected the data of 39 European countries between 2016 and 2017 and recommended that prisons test for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health problems and addictions.





Technology

PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Competition  » 
21 Oct 2019, 15:01

PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World CompetitionThe winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.


7 tax scams to watch out for this year  » 
7 Apr 2019, 12:00

7 tax scams to watch out for this yearIn case wringing your hands over the tax man weren’t enough, criminals are out there trying to swipe your hard-earned cash and personal information from right under your nose.


Mother Angry After School's Robocall Keeps Mispronouncing Daughter's Name As A Racial Slur  » 
2 Nov 2017, 18:48

Mother Angry After School's Robocall Keeps Mispronouncing Daughter's Name As A Racial SlurThe daughter's name is Nicarri.


Avowed Apple Fan Jeb Bush Realizes His Apple Watch Can Take Phone Calls  » 
13 Jan 2016, 23:22

Avowed Apple Fan Jeb Bush Realizes His Apple Watch Can Take Phone CallsJeb Bush's love of Apple products has been widely documented, and the Republican presidential candidate continues to wear his Apple Watch on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board documented by USA Today, Bush stumbled upon a feature he didn’t realize his smartwatch was capable of: taking phone calls. Somehow Bush managed to take a call without picking up his iPhone, and the sound of a person’s voice saying hello breaks through the meeting noise, to which Bush responds, “My watch can’t be talking.”


Social media welcomes Pope Francis to the United States  » 
22 Sep 2015, 23:29

Social media welcomes Pope Francis to the United StatesPope Francis gets the social media treatment upon arriving in the U.S. Tuesday. As Pope Francis’s flight touched down in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Twitter unveiled a new batch of emojis created for the highly anticipated papal visit. Until his departure from the United States on Sunday, Twitter users chronicling the Catholic leader’s East Coast journey will be able to include a cartoon image of the Pope’s face in front of the American flag on all Pope-related tweets by using the hashtag #PopeinUS.






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