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Trade war looms as U.S. leaders spar with China over tariffs at APEC summit – National

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Leaders from the world’s two biggest economies exchanged tough language at this summit of Pacific Rim countries as their trade war showed no signs of abating amidst a larger struggle for influence in the region.

United States Vice-President Mike Pence told a gathering of business leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit that there would be no backing down from tariffs until China changed its ways.

WATCH: U.S. indicts Chinese, Taiwan firms over trade secrets






“China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years and those days are over,” Pence said.

The Trump administration has levelled tariffs on US$250 billion in goods from China, over complaints of deep state subsidies for businesses and intellectual property theft.

President Donald Trump mused Friday that he may not have to forge ahead with tariffs on remaining Chinese imports, suggesting the two sides were in sight of ending the dispute.

WATCH: USMCA offers ‘opportunity’ to fix trade imbalance with China: Harper






Speaking just before Pence, Chinese President Xi Jinping called trade protectionism a short-sighted policy doomed to fail. And he made a call for greater consultation to resolve any issue.

“History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners,” he said.

The tit-for-tat speeches on the first day of the APEC leaders summit, bringing together 21 countries that account for 60 per cent of the world’s economy, framed different visions for the world as Pence looked to make allies like Canada pick sides in the battle for world influence.


READ MORE:
U.S.-Canada trade war means more market share, but smaller profits for Canadian farmers

There are no plans at the moment for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have a one-on-one meeting with Xi, though he could bump into his Chinese counterpart in the hallways of the busy summit.

Trudeau met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday in Singapore. Trudeau’s office said the two expressed a consensus about the need for reforms to the World Trade Organization, a group Trump dislikes.

Reforms to the world’s trade referee are on the agenda for this APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea, the poorest member of APEC that received millions in financial help from China and Australia to put on the summit.

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that the U.S. was talking again with China on trade and called it a “very positive” development.






READ MORE:
Donald Trump’s trade war is hurting the people he promised to help

China’s influence can be seen around the island nation’s capital.

Outside a newly opened hotel which hosted Trudeau’s first meeting of the day was a fence covered in a red sign with yellow writing promoting Xi’s “one-belt, one-road” project to expand trade routes around Asia. The project could take decades to complete, cost trillions and was harshly criticized by Pence and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who Trudeau will meet Sunday.

“If it succeeds…China will definitely be a world power even more than it currently is,” said Lorna Wright, executive director of the Centre for Global Enterprise at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

WATCH; Trump tells UN that China’s trade practices ‘cannot be tolerated’






China has spent millions in the host country to help it prepare for the summit, looking to gain some leverage over the island’s energy resources.

“They (China) are looking at creating long-term deals and guarantees with these smaller countries to extend their own commercial, military and hegemonic interest,” said Shuvaloy Majumdar with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a former Conservative government policy advisor.

The country already has one liquefied natural gas pipeline, and there are plans for a second development not far from the capital to tap a reserve originally found by a Canadian company.

WATCH: U.S. and China exchange new blows in trade war






LNG exports are a key contributor to the island’s economy and locals involved in projects expect to ship more of the product to Asian markets, including China.

Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday and spoke about funding infrastructure resilient to the effects of climate change.

“The opportunity that Canada takes very seriously to work with you on the very specific challenges facing small island developing states, the importance of capital flows and investments in infrastructure, are things that we are happy to sit down with you about,” Trudeau said at the start of the meeting.

Baron Waqa, president of Nauru, told Trudeau that tsunamis, earthquakes and cyclones have created enormous losses for the economies of smaller island states, while a rising sea level shrinks their territory and increases water salinity that effects their food security.

Trudeau said the island leaders want to frame themselves as key players in the Pacific region – both environmentally and economically.

“It is a powerful narrative which we frame and the perception and perspective of our region, away from the enduring narrative of small, isolated and fragile to that of large, connected and strategically important ocean continent,” Waqa said.



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FOREIGN NEWS

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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