Russia’s UN envoy sees ‘no sensation’ from US sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump is close to a decision on how to respond to what he considers China's unfair trade practices, a senior Trump administration official said on Tuesday. Trump is considering encouraging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to initiate an investigation of Chinese trade practices under the 1974 Trade Act's section 301, the official said. An announcement could come as early as this week, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 allows the president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions to protect U.S. industries from "unfair trade practices" of foreign countries, such as trade agreement violations, or "discriminatory" actions that burden U.S. commerce. The United States has a long list of grievances about China on trade, including accusations of steel dumping and theft of U.S. intellectual property. Trump has long been a critic of Chinese trade practices but his interest in penalizing Beijing has risen due to his concern at what he perceives to be Chinese inaction on reining in increasingly belligerent North Korea. China's Foreign Ministry said this week the North Korean nuclear issue did not arise because of China and that everyone needed to work together to seek a resolution. Section 301 was used extensively in the 1980s to combat Japanese imports of motorcycles, steel and other products - an era during which Lighthizer served as deputy U.S. trade representative (USTR). But the statute has been little used since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was…... [read more]

Apple Inc on Tuesday delivered surprisingly strong fiscal third-quarter earnings and signaled that its upcoming 10th-anniversary phone lineup is on schedule, driving the stock up 6 percent to an all-time high in after-hours trading. The stock climbed above its intraday record high to $159.10 after the company reported better-than-expected iPhone sales, revenue and earnings per share. The stock price move was expected to help drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the 22,000 mark on Wednesday. Apple also said it hit a milestone of 1.2 billion iPhones sold. The April-June quarter is traditionally a soft one for Apple as the market waits for the September launch of new iPhone models. But Tuesday’s results show that iPhone buyers may be less inclined than they once were to delay purchases until a new model is out. The iPad product lines also showed unexpected strength, service revenue continues to grow at a healthy clip, and even the much-maligned Apple Watch showed a 50 percent sales increase. Apple is widely tipped to adopt higher-resolution OLED displays for the latest iPhone, along with better touchscreen technology and wireless charging - which could come with a $1,000 plus price tag. The phone is expected to launch in September. The company forecast total revenue of between $49 billion and $52 billion for the current fourth quarter, while analysts on average were expecting $49.21 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Apple's fourth quarter generally includes first-weekend sales of the company's latest devices. The forecast "makes it fairly…... [read more]

U.S. President Donald Trump dictated a statement, later shown to be misleading, in which his son Donald Trump Jr. said a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 was not related to his father's presidential campaign, the Washington Post reported on Monday. Trump Jr. released emails earlier in July that showed he eagerly agreed last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father. The New York Times was first to report the meeting. The Washington Post said Trump advisers discussed the new disclosure and agreed that Trump Jr. should issue a truthful account of the episode so that it "couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged." The president, who was flying home from Germany on July 8, changed the plan and "personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had 'primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children,'" the Post said, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the deliberations. U.S. presidential Donald Trump (L) and his son Donald, Jr. Photo by Reuters. It said the statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared to publish the story, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.” The White House did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Post story,…... [read more]

U.S. President Donald Trump ousted recently hired White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci on Monday over an obscene tirade, sources familiar with the decision said, in the latest staff upheaval for the six-month-old administration. The move, coming just 10 days after the Republican president named Scaramucci to the post, took place on the first day of work for Trump's new chief of staff, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, who sources said was seeking to impose order on a White House riven with factions and backbiting. "There's a new sheriff in town," said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser. A Republican close to Trump said the president fretted on the weekend over what to do about Scaramucci, calling his advisers to ask their opinion, all of whom told him the tough-talking aide had to go. Trump was annoyed about Scaramucci's lewd comments to The New Yorker magazine published last Thursday and at how the abrasive New York financier appeared to inflate the strength of their friendship, since he had started the 2016 presidential election cycle as a fundraiser for two Trump rivals, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. Trump decided it was time to cut him loose, the source said. Kelly, who also wanted him removed, summoned Scaramucci to Kelly's office on Monday morning and fired him on the spot, the official said. It was one of Kelly's first acts as chief of staff. "A great day at the White House!" Trump tweeted on Monday evening. The departure of…... [read more]

China hit back at the United States over North Korea on Monday with its ambassador to the United Nations saying Washington and Pyongyang bore primary responsibility for easing tensions, not Beijing. "No matter how capable China is, China's efforts will not yield practical results because it depends on the two principal parties," Ambassador Liu Jieyi told reporters at the United Nations. "They (the United States and North Korea) hold the primary responsiblity to keep things moving, to start moving in the right direction, not China," he told a news conference at the end of China's month-long presidency of the Security Council. On Sunday, Liu's U.S. counterpart Nikki Haley spurned a U.N. response to Pyongyang's latest ICBM launch in favor of bomber flights and missile defense system tests, saying the time for talk on North Korea was "over." U.S. President Donald Trump warned Saturday that he would no longer allow China to "do nothing" on North Korea, after the hermit state launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile test. China is North Korea's main trade partner and ally. Trump has been at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Kim's regime, and has repeatedly urged China to rein in its recalcitrant neighbor, but Beijing insists dualogue is the only practical way forward. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his country's ability to strike any target in the U.S. after an intercontinental ballistic missile test Friday which weapons experts said could even bring New York into range. U.S. strategic bombers on…... [read more]

Vladimir Putin said the United States would have to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people and that Moscow could consider additional measures against Washington as a response to new U.S. sanctions approved by Congress. Moscow ordered the United States on Friday to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff and said it would seize two U.S. diplomatic properties after the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia. The White House said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump would sign the sanctions bill. Putin said in an interview with Vesti TV released on Sunday that the United States would have to cut its diplomatic and technical staff by 755 people by Sept. 1. "Because more than 1,000 workers - diplomats and support staff - were working and are still working in Russia, 755 must stop their activity in the Russian Federation," he said. The new U.S. sanctions were partly a response to conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and to punish Russia further for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russia's response suggested it had set aside initial hopes of better ties with Washington under Trump, something the Republican president, before he was elected, had said he wanted to achieve. A federal law enforcement investigation and multiple U.S. congressional probes looking into the possibility that Trump's campaign colluded with Russia have made it harder for Trump to open a new chapter with…... [read more]

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Sunday (Jul 30) said the United States would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia and warned of a prolonged gridlock in its ties after the US Congress backed new sanctions against the Kremlin. This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport. (Photo: AFP/Mladen Antonov) Putin added bluntly that Russia was able to raise the stakes with America even further, although he hoped this would be unnecessary. On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry demanded Washington cut its diplomatic presence in Russia by Sep 1 to 455 people - the same number Moscow has in the US. "More than a thousand people - diplomats and technical personnel - were working and are still working" at the US embassy and consulates, Putin said in an interview with Rossia-24 television. "755 people must stop their activities in Russia." The US State Department, solicited for a response by AFP, said it did not comment on "the number" of US officials serving abroad. Putin added that an upturn in Russia's relations with Washington could not be expected "any time soon". "We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better," he said. "But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it's not for any…... [read more]

China said Monday the U.S. should not link trade to discussions about North Korea's nuclear program, after President Donald Trump accused Beijing of taking no action on Pyongyang despite profiting from business with America. "We believe that the North Korea nuclear issue and China-U.S. trade are two issues that are in two completely different domains," Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming told a press briefing, adding the issues "are not related, and should not be discussed together". "In general, China-U.S. trade, including mutual investment, is mutually beneficial, and both China and the United States have gained great profits from bilateral trade and investment cooperations," he said. The comments came in response to a question about tweets from Trump Saturday warning that he would no longer allow China to "do nothing" on North Korea, after the hermit state launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile test. Trump, who is at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Kim's regime, has repeatedly urged China to rein in its recalcitrant neighbor, but Beijing insists dialogue is the only practical way forward. In his critique, Trump linked trade woes with the Asian giant to policy on North Korea, after South Korea indicated it was speeding up the deployment of a U.S. missile defence system (THAAD) that has infuriated China. "I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just…... [read more]

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Saturday to end government payments to health insurers if Congress does not pass a new healthcare bill and goaded them to not abandon their seven-year quest to replace the Obamacare law. The tweet came a day after Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare. The first part of Trump's tweet appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans. The second part appeared to be a threat to end the employer contribution for Congress members and their staffs, who were moved from the normal federal employee healthcare benefits program onto the Obamacare insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 healthcare law. Trump has previously threatened to suspend the payments to insurers, which are determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. In April, he threatened to end the payments if Democrats refused to negotiate over the healthcare bill. Responding to Saturday's tweet, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that if the president carried out that threat, "every expert agrees that (insurance) premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans." "The president ought to stop playing politics with people's lives and health care, start leading and finally begin acting presidential,” Schumer said in a statement. Trump later urged…... [read more]

People watch as coverage of an ICBM missile test is displayed on a screen in a public square in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. Photo by AFP/Kim Won-Jin. US President Donald Trump warned Saturday that he would not allow China to "do nothing" on North Korea, after the hermit state launched an intercontinental ballistic missile test it boasted could reach the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his country's ability to strike any target in the US after the ICBM test that weapons experts said could even bring New York into range -- in a major challenge to Trump. Under Kim's leadership, North Korea has accelerated its drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability, in defiance of international condemnation and multiple sets of UN sanctions. In his critique of Beijing, which came in two tweets, Trump linked trade strains with the Asian giant -- marked by a trade deficit of $309 billion last year -- to policy on North Korea, after South Korea indicated it was speeding the deployment of a US missile defense system that has infuriated China. "I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk," Trump wrote. US 'within striking range'  Kim said the test "is meant to send a grave warning to the US" and demonstrated the North's ability to launch "at any place and time," the…... [read more]




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