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‘Fight to the finish’: China vows to continue trade war as U.S. threatens $300B in tariffs – National

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Fight to the finish’ China vows to continue trade war as U.S. threatens 300B in tariffs National

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U.S. officials listed $300 billion more of Chinese goods for possible tariff hikes while Beijing vowed Tuesday to “fight to the finish” in an escalating trade battle that is fueling fears about damage to global economic growth.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office issued its target list after Beijing announced tariff hikes Monday on $60 billion of American goods in their spiraling dispute over Chinese technology ambitions and other irritants. Chinese authorities were reacting to President Donald Trump’s surprise decision last week to impose punitive duties on $200 billion of imports from China.

“China will fight to the finish,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

READ MORE: China adds tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods in retaliation

“We have the determination and capacity to safeguard our interests,” Geng said. “China’s countermeasures have shown our determination to safeguard the multilateral trade system.”

The latest U.S. list of 3,805 product categories is a step toward carrying out Trump’s May 5 threat to extend punitive 25% duties to all Chinese imports, the USTR said. It said a June 17 hearing would be held before Washington decides how to proceed.

The list “covers essentially all products” not already affected by punitive tariffs, the USTR said.

It includes laptop computers, saw blades, turbine parts, tuna and garlic. The USTR noted it excludes pharmaceuticals and rare earths minerals used in electronics and batteries.

“The risk of further escalation is far from over,” said Timme Spakman of ING in a report.

WATCH: China hits back with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods





Also Tuesday, China’s tightly controlled social media were filled with comments lambasting Washington following weeks of little online discussion of the dispute. That suggested official censors might have blocked earlier comments but started allowing those that favour Beijing to deflect potential criticism of President Xi Jinping’s government.

The United States is “sucking the blood of the Chinese,” said a comment left on the “Strong Country” blog of the ruling Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily. Another comment on the site said, “Why are Chinese people bullied? Because our hearts are too soft!”

Trump started raising tariffs last July over complaints China steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizes businesses Beijing is trying to build into global leaders in robotics and other fields.

WATCH: Trump reacts to China retaliation to tariffs





A stumbling block has been U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing carries out its commitments.

Odds of a settlement “remain high,” said Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics in a report. “But suddenly a number of other scenarios seem possible, even one in which the U.S., China and the global economy suffer a recession.”

Asian stock markets fell Tuesday as the fight, with no negotiated settlement in sight, fed investor anxiety about the impact on global economic growth. China main market index lost 0.7 per cent while Tokyo’s benchmark declined 0.6%. Hong Kong, Australia and Taiwan fell.

But shares in Europe rebounded and the future contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were up 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.

READ MORE: ‘Just a small setback’: China’s Liu says trade negotiations with U.S. have not broken down

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 3.4% for its biggest drop of the year.

That came after China’s Finance Ministry announced duties of 5% to 25% on about 5,200 American products, including batteries, spinach and coffee. Details of what the duties were before the increases were unclear.

Also Monday, Trump said he still was considering whether to go ahead with penalties on the additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. He told reporters, “I have not made that decision yet.”

Trump warned Xi on Twitter that China “will be hurt very badly” if it doesn’t agree to a trade deal. Trump wrote that Beijing “had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!”

READ MORE: ‘China is punishing Canada’: John Bolton latest Trump ally to condemn Beijing for detentions

The last round of negotiations ended Friday in Washington with no word of progress. Both governments indicated more talks are likely but set no date.

Trump said Monday he would meet Xi during the Group of 20 meeting of major economies six weeks from now on June 28 and 29 in Osaka, Japan.

The time before then will be “highly volatile” for financial markets, said Macquarie Bank analysts in a report.

“Both sides have the incentive to act half-crazy and unpredictable before that in order to cut a better deal,” they said.

The two governments have given themselves a few more days to make peace before their latest tariff hikes hit.

WATCH: Markets tumble as China announces retaliatory tariffs for U.S.





Chinese tariffs announced Monday don’t take effect until June 1, 2 1/2 weeks from now. The U.S. increases apply to Chinese goods shipped starting Friday, which will take about three weeks to cross the Pacific and arrive at U.S. ports.

Tariff increases already in place have disrupted trade in American soybeans and Chinese medical equipment. That has sent shockwaves through other Asian economies that supply Chinese factories.

Beijing is running out of U.S. imports to penalize because of their lopsided trade balance. Chinese regulators have instead targeted American companies in China by slowing down the clearing of shipments through customs and the processing of business licenses.



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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