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Trump to impose new 10-per-cent tariff on China from Sept. 1



U.S. accuses Iran of ‘extortion’ after uranium enrichment boost

…As U.S. urges global fight against Islamic State, outside Middle East***

The U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, escalated the trade war with China, announcing he would hike tariffs on some 300 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods to 10 per cent, effective from September 1.

The measures are on top of the 25-per-cent tariffs that have already been imposed incrementally over the past year on 250 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese products.

When they take effect, all Chinese goods coming into the U.S. will be subject to punitive tariffs.

The announcement follows talks between the world’s two largest economies in Shanghai this week, the first time negotiators met since Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 to pause further tariff hikes and get back to the table. The pause was short lived.

Speaking to reporters, Trump said that the new tariffs could go “beyond 25 per cent,” though he was not currently planning to do so.

“If they don’t want to trade with us, that’s fine with me, it would save a lot of money,” Trump said outside the White House, as he was set to depart for a campaign rally.

He also accused China of devaluing its currency.

In announcing the new tariffs, Trump said China had retreated from its pledge to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products and reneged on a promise to stop the sale of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, to the U.S.

The comments were an admission that key concessions Trump had touted had failed to materialize, and the announcement further indicated the trade war was not abating.

“Until such time as there is a deal, we’ll be taxing them,” the president said.

He added that he was not concerned by a decline on U.S. markets after his latest tariff announcement.

Also read: Erdogan says Turkey to turn elsewhere if U.S. will not sell F-35s

U.S. stocks slipped as news of the new tariffs, which were not widely expected, broke with the S&P 500 index closing down nearly 1 per cent.

Trump insisted he had no intention of cancelling future rounds of trade talks, saying he looked forward to “positive dialogue” with China.

The tariff announcement comes just a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates, citing a global slowdown and the uncertainties of the trade war, in particular the tariffs.

Farmers, a key group in Trump’s base of supporters, have been taking hits in the trade war.

The president has unleashed this year a 16-billion-dollar aid plan for the agricultural sector, coming on top of a 12-billion-dollar plan the previous year.

China is also believed to be taking steps to bolster its own economy, which has shown signs of slowing.

Trump has railed against China’s alleged unfair trade practices, including blocking market access, and problems of intellectual property theft.

He alleged that the sides were close to concluding a comprehensive trade deal three months ago, but China pulled back at the last moment.

Broadcaster CNBC reported that Trump made the latest announcement on tariffs after receiving a briefing from the delegation to the Shanghai talks, which was led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

In another development, the U.S. also raised the alarm over the activities of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, warning that IS still remains a serious threat in spite of the defeat of the physical caliphate in Syria and Iraq, while cautioning that al-Qaeda has bounced back to its peak levels of strength.

Nathan Sales, the U.S. chief coordinator for counter-terrorism, told reporters in Washington that a global effort was needed to push back against Islamic State in places such as Afghanistan and across Africa, notably in Nigeria.

He said that the U.S. could not wage the war alone.

IS has “increased the lethality of attacks” and “expanded into new areas,” Sales said.

Meanwhile, James Jeffrey, the envoy to the international coalition to fight Islamic State, said that in areas of Syria and Iraq, IS still had roughly 15,000 fighters.

Some 2,000 foreign extremist fighters remain in the custody of the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the U.S. urging countries around the world to take back their citizens and bring them to justice.

According to Jeffrey, Islamic State maintains strongholds in Syria in territories outside the U.S. and SDF field of operations in the north-east, including regions controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As the world’s focus in recent years has turned to Islamic State, al-Qaeda has been able to make gains, Sales cautioned.

“Al-Qaeda is as strong as it has ever been,” Sales said.

U.S. officials have continued to decline to comment on reports that Hamza bin Laden, the son of the former al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, was killed.




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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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