Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Promote Complete Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula With Further Efforts
Global Times
2018/6/12 17:53:39

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday (June 12) held the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in Singapore since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The two leaders signed a joint statement, which includes North Korea's reaffirmation of its commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as Washington and Pyongyang's pledge to jointly set up a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Peninsula. The two sides noted they would work toward establishment of a new relationship.

The statement concluded, "President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Both Trump and Kim expressed their satisfaction over their meeting in a short media briefing.

No matter how hostile the two used to be against each other, how close they once were to a new war, today's Kim-Trump summit highlighted a new possibility — peaceful denuclearization of North Korea, Washington addressing Pyongyang's core concerns and the Korean peninsula heading toward the realization of permanent peace.

Is the result of this summit reliable? Since there is no expression such as "complete," "verifiable" or "irreversible denuclearization" in the joint statement, some people from the US and South Korea may think the declaration is "not thorough enough" and still doubt whether North Korea would eventually abandon its nuclear program. But the correct response should be promoting the thorough implementation of the agreement through continuous efforts.

Did anyone dare to believe that such a summit can actually take place half a year ago? A certain force is pushing such seemingly impossible things toward becoming possible.

This force is the new logic of international politics in the 21st century. This is not an era in which everything is decided by conquest. No matter how powerful a nation's military, it cannot solve all the problems concerning its core interests, neither can it create well-being and peace. Mutual respect for others' core interest and care for each other's major concerns is now at the top of global political rules.

From this perspective, we can be more optimistic and confident over the future US-North Korea relations and their outlook of carrying out the agreement. It is rational to think that Washington and Pyongyang will continue to follow the roadmap they outlined today. It is more in line with their interests than turning around halfway or going back to hostilities.

To further promote denuclearization on the Peninsula, it is necessary to keep injecting momentum into the process. Boosting North Korea's enthusiasm is crucial. Washington used to be very skeptical about Pyongyang, but this year, North Korea has been very consistent. It has taken unilateral steps to release three US hostages and demolished its nuclear test site. It is time to consider alleviating sanctions against Pyongyang.

The US' earlier mindset - it would get back at North Korea after Pyongyang completes denuclearization - needs to be adjusted. The US may need to borrow some wisdom from Eastern philosophy. If it can have favorable interactions with North Korea and do away with its hostile attitude toward the country, the result will only be better. 
American Media Fail to Grasp Full Picture of Trump-Kim Summit
Global Times
2018/6/13 19:58:40

US media has been rife with complaints about the Singapore summit's achievements. They criticized that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has won US' concession without making any new commitment. They also doubted US President Donald Trump's pledge to end joint military drills with Seoul, saying that it satisfies both Pyongyang and Beijing.

After the meeting with Kim, Trump sent eight tweets to defend the summit's results. He said that those who were against his earlier military threats toward North Korea and those who are against the Singapore summit are "the same haters."However, voices that criticize the summit greatly outnumber Trump's supporters, and have whipped up public opinion.

Trump's historic summit with Kim was criticized by the US media, because he talked too big. The Trump administration pledged not to make any compromises and requested North Korea to denuclearize immediately, declaring that Washington wouldn't respond until Pyongyang acts accordingly. Such negotiation tactics are accepted in the corporate world, because the boss decides whether to compromise or not. However, it is much harder for a country's media to accept policy reversals from Trump.

American media's debate on US gains and losses after the Kim-Trump summit has strayed from the point. Instead, they should focus on whether the summit helps facilitate the complete denuclearization of North Korea, and does so with minimum cost. However, all they care about is whether Trump made concessions and if North Korea and China benefited as a direct result. If the two Asian countries do benefit, the US media will be upset to the greatest extent.

North Korea-US negotiations will be a long-term process. Those critics think the US should recklessly exert maximum pressure and that's where US' advantage lies. The progress of negotiation between North Korea and the US should never be decided by US' domestic politics. It is a global goal to achieve complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula through peaceful negotiation. The process should be as steady as possible, and speed shouldn't be the only pursuit.

North Korea and China do support if South Korea and the US end their military drills, however, should the US be upset only because Pyongyang and Beijing are happy? Negotiation is about  finding biggest common ground instead of imposing conditions on others through tricks and intimidation.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have never been lower. North Korea has suspended its nuclear and missile tests, scrapped its nuclear test site, and repeatedly promised to work for complete denuclearization. Back to the second half of 2017, when there were the most serious tensions and hostilities between the two countries, the US society wouldn't believe today's progress possible. How can the US "lose" when there are so many visible achievements?

It's impossible for North Korea to completely comply with US' request of denuclearization. However, the Kim-Trump summit eases tension on the peninsula and opens up a new prospect for future negotiation. The peninsula issue needs a good start, but whether the current US media can support Washington in further resolving the issues remains unknown.
End of ‘War Games’ Will Be a Big Step Forward for Peninsula
Global Times
2018/6/12 21:48:41

US President Donald Trump held a press conference after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Tuesday afternoon, in which more information was revealed. Trump expressed his satisfaction with the results of the summit, saying Kim would "be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security and prosperity for his people." He also added that he was confident North Korea would implement the agreement reached by the two sides and disclosed he and Kim have invited each other to visit their own country.

Trump said Kim assured destruction of a "major missile engine testing site" not included in the document signed during their summit. He vowed to "stop the war games," which was widely interpreted as a hint to stop the joint military exercises with South Korea, one of the major demands by Pyongyang. He also said he hoped to bring US soldiers stationed in South Korea back home at some point.

If the US stops joint military exercises with South Korea, it will be a big step forward on the Korean Peninsula. If achieved, China's "suspension for suspension" proposal, which calls for North Korea to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of US-South Korea military exercises, would come to reality. A new leaf will be turned over.

With a cooling down of military activities, less US military participation, and possibly an eventual US troop withdrawal, the peninsula will completely walk out of the shadow of the Cold War. If political process moves toward this direction on the peninsula, the whole region will benefit. 

These will be natural developments once the North Korea nuclear issue is completely resolved. Since the "North Korea threat" no longer exists, there will be no grounds for the US and South Korea to continue large-scale military drills and for Washington to maintain its military presence in South Korea.   

Public opinion in the US and South Korea were doubtful over whether North Korea would actively implement any agreement reached. But the main obstacle to the peace process of the peninsula in the future may come from Washington and Seoul, or even Tokyo. Right after the summit concluded, Western media criticized that Trump received nothing from this meeting. There are also voices claiming that the cancelation of US-South Korea joint military drills is a victory for China and North Korea.

Public opinion in the US has long harbored hostility against Pyongyang. Lawmakers and opinion leaders can find endless excuses to oppose the Trump administration interacting with North Korea. These forces will bridle Trump and Kim in pushing forward their agreement.

Pro-Washington forces in South Korea see the US troops stationed in their country as a cornerstone of South Korea's security and would like to see joint military drills to continue. They may not wish to see the US cut its military presence in the peninsula.

Japan has particularly mixed feelings toward harmony on the Korean Peninsula. For Tokyo, hawkish US policy will add to allied Japan's weight and boost Japan's strategic value.

After dealing with North Korea for a few rounds, Trump's team has developed a more realistic mindset on the issue. But his domestic foes probably would rather mess everything up, prioritizing embarrassing Trump above protecting the long-term interests of the US.

Trump and Kim have an opportunity to create history. If Trump can realize complete denuclearization of the peninsula, and Kim can bring prosperity to North Korea, it will be great feat for both of them
US Move to Suspend Military Drills With South Korea a Calculated Move
By Wang Peng
Global Times
2018/6/19 17:58:39

US President Donald Trump announced on June 12 that he intended to end US military drills with South Korea, calling them "inappropriate" and "provocative." He also said he wants "at some point" to withdraw US troops currently stationed in South Korea. A public clamor resulted as this was seen to be another of Trump's whimsical decisions. Criticized by US politicians, Trump's shocking declaration left Seoul at a loss and made South Korean troops nervous.

Japan is more nervous than South Korea. After all, while South Korea has been endeavoring to improve ties with the US, North Korea and China, Japan faces an unfavorable geopolitical environment given its soured relations with countries in the region. Tokyo needs to make sure that US troops in Japan will not be influenced by Washington's plan to pull troops out of South Korea, otherwise Japan would have to reshuffle its defense arrangement.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on June 13 that "the drills and the US military stationed in South Korea play a vital role in East Asia's security" and that Japan would continue joint military exercises with the US and stick to plans to bolster its defenses against a possible ballistic missile strike by North Korea.

According to the reaction of US politicians and the international society, Trump's announcement is more likely to be his personal declaration. This seems to be a negotiation strategy by Trump.

US alliances with Japan and South Korea are cornerstones of the US' military and political influence in the Asia-Pacific region, to which US troops in the two countries are vital.

One and a half years in office, Trump has been through great upheavals and is no longer an outsider to politics. Instead, he combines the sagacity of a businessman with Washington's political wisdom. Although unfair and shunned by the international society, his method did benefit the US from the point of view of Machiavelli's empiricism. His announcement in Singapore can be viewed from this perspective.

Trump wants to show some kindness to North Korea. He is good at coupling threats with promises. His pledge to end the joint military drills can help prolong the detente after the Singapore summit. Even if North Korea takes a tough stance later for some reason, Trump has already made a mark globally.

The US president, who likes to get even with other countries, also wants to bargain with South Korea. In his opinion, the US has been squeezed out of its great national strength since the George W. Bush administration, shouldering too much global burden without commensurate returns.

Trump stands firm on the expenditure incurred on US troops in South Korea and Japan. It could be that his sudden and unilateral announcement is a way of forcing Seoul and Tokyo to make concessions and bear more of the military expenditure.

Another problem is who is going to pay the huge compensation once North Korea starts denuclearization. Obviously, Trump will not pay a penny, and China and Russia are not obliged to do so, which means that Trump has to mount pressure on South Korea and Japan to foot the bill.

It seems to go well: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the day after Trump's announcement that Japan is prepared to help shoulder some of the initial costs of North Korea's denuclearization only after the International Atomic Energy Agency restarts inspections.

If Trump's pledges to halt US-South Korea joint military drills and withdraw US troops from South Korea are considered a diplomatic strategy, then the US might have three main policies for Northeast Asia. Washington will continue strengthening its alliance with Japan and South Korea, and will force the two allies to take more economic responsibilities.

Besides, the US-South Korea joint military drills may be scaled down and the number of US troops in South Korea reduced so as to pacify Pyongyang and save costs. However, military drills will be used again to threaten Pyongyang once it doesn't proceed with the denuclearization as Washington wants. Trump will also face obstacles from the establishment over the details of reducing US troops.

Moreover, despite his praise of China, Trump won't stop pressuring Beijing over security and trade issues and will try to rope in Tokyo and Seoul. How Japan and South Korea will respond depends on their assessment of China and the US' influence in East Asia and positioning of themselves.

The author is associate research fellow of Chongyang Institute of Renmin University and the Charhar Institute. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
Broader Change Needed for China's Stock Market to Prosper
By Yi Xianrong
Global Times
2018/6/19 22:38:39

Looking back at the past few years, a basic consensus has been reached among financial practitioners and the relevant government departments in China that the main problems and risks in the domestic financial market are a result of its improper structure. The difficulties of addressing the excessive proportion of indirect financing and the inadequate proportion of direct financing are also an important factor.

Lately, A shares have finally been incorporated into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. This has led to hopes for greater development and prosperity of the Chinese stock market, both at home and abroad, and is seen as a milestone for the market.

From now on, overseas recognition of China's stock market is likely to increase, making it easier to attract international capital and boost the market's prosperity.

However, the market's performance has not yet reflected this optimism, with the A-share indexes having dropped recently, instead of rising.

The current situation is actually helpful for the A-share market, including the evolution of the Sino-US trade dispute, the easing measures of the central bank, positive macroeconomic data in May and generally satisfactory performance by domestic companies in the first quarter.

So why are domestic investors unwilling to put their money into A shares?

The modern stock market should offer a path to profit. In the US, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has soared in value over the years and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from about 6,000 points in early 2009 to more than 25,300 points now.

But the Chinese stock market has been far less reliable, making it hard for investors to gain any profit.

The low return rate on investment has been an embarrassment for China's stock market. Some have even joked that the yield from fixed deposits is better than that of the stock market.

But the stagnation of the domestic stock market is not only because of the financial market environment. China's overall investment environment is also to blame.

For more than a decade, the real estate market has seen a long-term continuous rise. Even though the government has been emphasizing regulation of the real estate market, housing prices in many cities have kept increasing.

Entering the real estate market offers profits without the risk of a fall in prices. The availability of financial incentives and loans is also tempting.

However, stepping into the stock market is not only unprofitable, it is also fraught with risk.

Under these circumstances, it is not hard to figure out the direction in which domestic capital is more likely to flow. If the overall investment environment does not change, it will be impossible for the Chinese stock market to develop.

Meanwhile, the stock market itself is still hampered by major defects.

The biggest problem is distortions in the credit system. The government still plays a big role in allocating resources in this market. But if the government dominates the market, the allocation of credit will inevitably be determined and guaranteed by the government. It will also lead to inefficient market operation and corruption, making it difficult to protect the interests of smaller investors.

Therefore, whether the inclusion of China's A shares in the MSCI index can really make the Chinese stock market more prosperous will be decided by whether the regulatory authorities can deal with the problems in the stock market, carry out major reforms and gradually establish a proper credit system.

At the same time, changes are needed in the overall economic environment in order to deal with the real estate bubble and lead the property sector toward healthy and sustainable development.

The author is a professor with the School of Economics at Qingdao University. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn
China Knows Better as Trump Tariff Strategy Tricks US Voters
Global Times
2018/6/16 7:37:48

The Trump administration announced tariffs on Chinese high-tech and industrial imports worth of $50 billion. The first round, on imports totaling $34 billion, will begin July 6, while the second round is still under review.

China's Ministry of Commerce responded immediately firmly opposing the lack of consistency in US policy by starting a trade war. China announced it would respond with equal measure matching US action in size and scale. Any results from earlier talks will be invalid.

China and the US have held three rounds of trade negotiations from which they were able to find common ground. During mid-May discussions in Washington, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the agriculture and energy sectors to avoid a trade war. During negotiations both China and US delegations achieved a level of commonality in pushing for a win-win solution.

However, the White House decided to pick and raise its stick on the trade issue. As three weeks remain before the tariffs go into effect, was Friday's move a tactic meant to apply pressure on China so they would yield to subsequent negotiations? Or is it intended to sacrifice the progress that had been achieved in previous talks to impose tariffs on high-tech Chinese products? The true intention behind the move has proven to be a conundrum for many speculators.

The cost is high for the US to impose such tariffs. Not only will they face equal retaliation from China regarding scale and strength, but also forfeit product orders that had placed with the US during previous negotiations. Obviously, this is not a profitable trade measure. From a public standpoint, the White House decision defies its logic.

The US on Friday said if China retaliates, the White House will attach additional duties. This is a threat that will not work with China. Nor will it condone reckless behavior from the US, and it is not afraid to forgo the benefits already in place designed to achieve long-term gains. China's "don't want, yet not afraid" attitude toward a trade war remains the same.

Washington chose to take the narrow path by imposing tariffs or going back and forth with their decisions, despite room for negotiations. One reasonable explanation could be that the White House is trying to gauge and calculate election interests. In using the trade negotiations and then starting trade war with China as two ways to attract different voter groups, the Trump administration can acquire more votes in the upcoming election. This is why the White House has been tossing back and forth.

In this trade war, it's the US who is playing the role of provocateur, while China plays defense. This scenario was the result of a US trade deficit with China. Meanwhile, China is a powerful guardian and has enough ammunition to defend existing trade rules and fairness. It stands high in keeping the virtue of free trade and does not have any reason to be soft.

The China-US trade issue is complicated, but could also be described with one sentence - the trade dispute is caused by its structural problem.

In recent years, China has reduced its trade surplus with many countries, and some later had a trade deficit. But it is difficult to reduce the trade surplus with the US. The fundamental cause is how the US has a low national savings rate.

Americans spend more than they can make, which guarantees the country will always have a significant trade deficit with another nation. Furthermore, the high-tech industry is a US trade advantage, but they like to play the role of "agriculture country" and while the Middle East likes to play the role of "energy production country" in trade with China. The US continues to limit its high-tech exports to China but is more than willing to sell their soybeans, corn, wheat, petroleum and natural gas.

Besides reducing the trade deficit, the Trump administration aims to curb China's high-tech upgrades and prevent it from advancing along the global supply chain. They routinely accuse China of stealing intellectual property and force international companies to transfer their technology. The tariffs announced Friday by the White House begin with China's high-tech products.

Anyone with a primary education could easily realize there will never be a balanced China-US trade relationship by selling soybeans and petroleum. There isn't one country who would give up their rights to advance technology and make industrial upgrades, and yet President Trump insists on selling agricultural products to China.

The secret is that US elections are a form of "square behavior" that rely on slogans and labels to garner votes, and Americans eat it right up. President Trump sympathizes with agriculture states, safeguards the Rust Belt region, and protects the country's high-tech industry by imposing tariffs. It is this kind of impression the White House wants Trump to make with US voters.

Yet despite everything, levying tariffs and starting a trade war are outdated and ineffective methods in the era of globalization. It is by far an irresponsible act on behalf of the White House to disrupt international trade just to appeal to American voters who are convinced their president is fighting for them. This hides the true pattern of global trade as their real, long-term interests are quietly undermined.

The US ignores the rules of the multilateral global trading system and has even set their credibility aside for bilateral negotiations. For a long time, it has been a staunch advocate of the current international system. Its interest should be fostered and appropriately collected. And yet here they are willing to sacrifice everything for short-term gains.

Dealing with the US is difficult, but China can easily refuse theft and coercion. China will remain with the US through negotiations and war. If a trade war between the two becomes fierce, the result will not provide a favorable political environment for President Trump.
Rising Nationalism in US Biggest Threat to the World
By Yu Ning
Global Times
2018/6/19 22:08:40

US President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policy of separating children from their parents on the US-Mexico border has drawn the ire of a chorus of organizations, institutions and high-profile individuals. However, the US president doubled down on Monday claiming "the US will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility."

No matter how Trump defends the policy, separating border-crossing children and parents is a nationalist practice. Trump sees immigration policy through the lens of nationalism. In his view, past immigration policies have led to increasing competition for low-wage jobs, a threat to English as the national language, rising public costs for social services, and increased risks of crime and terrorism, therefore, uncontrolled immigration across the southern border and the flow of refugees from the Middle East must be stopped. He had previously pledged to build a wall between the US and Mexico and signed a controversial executive order barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The economic and foreign policies of the president who espoused the doctrine of America First are also nationalist. Economically, he advocates protection of US jobs, opposes free trade and recklessly accuses other countries of unfair trade practices with the US. Diplomatically, he withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and demanded allies pay for US military protection. 

A raging fever of nationalism rising in the world's sole super power sends an alarming signal. Nationalism is a challenge to globalization. Rising nationalism and protectionism could hinder the process of globalization and jeopardize the world order. The US often points an accusing finger at alleged economic nationalism of other countries including China, but now, the reality is that Trump's truculent nationalism is posing the biggest threat. With the US' strong military and financial strength, if nationalism goes to an extreme, it will bring awful consequences. It's commonly held that totalitarian regime could emerge in such way.

It's fair to say that the US nowadays has become the world's biggest destabilizing factor, disturbing existing international relations and adding uncertainties to the process of globalization. It remains to be seen whether nationalist response can help solve the malaise the US is grappling with. Great uncertainties also loom regarding where the US, under Trump's nationalism, will end up.

Against such backdrop, China must keep sober, adapt itself to the changing situation, and try to deal with the US with new measures.
Trump’s Gamble Bets on Interests of US Public
Global Times
2018/6/19 16:18:39

US President Donald Trump has requested the US Trade Representative (USTR) to identify a new list of $200 billion of Chinese goods for slapping additional 10 percent tariffs. Last week, the US announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese products, which prompted Beijing's retaliatory tariffs on US goods. Trump threatened that the new duties will go into effect if China insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced, and if Beijing takes new retaliatory steps against the tariff on $200 billion worth of goods, the US will identify another $200 billion products for additional duties.

It is clear that Trump wants to intimidate China, forcing it to accept US tariffs last week and give up the new retaliatory duties that Beijing recently announced.

China doesn't want to engage in a trade war with the US. It didn't force sanctions on the US and its announcements of tariffs are responses to Washington's unreasonable duties on Chinese products, which violate WTO principles.

China-US trade is conducted under multilateral trading rules, and the US was playing the leading role when the rules were established. The US' low saving rate and restrictions on high-technology exports to China all contribute to its large trade deficit.

China has been active in resolving the trade imbalance and the two sides reached a series of consensus after three rounds of talks. But Trump's unreasonable decision to impose a 25-percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese exports goes against the logic of dispute settlement and has taken China, US society and the world by surprise.

Trump's latest statement indicates that he wants to launch a trade war on China and control its scale by forcing Beijing not to strike back. In this way, he can show off his capability and prove that his hardline approach works, in addition to showing that he is the unrivaled choice for president so that he can please US voters as much as possible.

The US leader is gambling. He hopes China will tolerate his capricious and obstinate attitude, and endure threats with a view to placate the US to avoid more losses coming. Thus Washington would have full control on how the trade war ends.

But the world doesn't run this way. Shortly after Trump's latest threat, China's Ministry of Commerce said that if the US acts irrational and unveils another list of Chinese products for additional tariffs, China will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures combining quantitative and qualitative ones to resolutely strike back.

This is how a power like China is supposed to respond. It would be upsetting if Trump believes that Beijing will tolerate what the US has done to it. No one can put up with unreasonable US tariffs, be it China, Europe, Canada or Mexico.

Not only the Chinese government, but also the whole Chinese society cannot accept the US trying to blackmail China. We cannot accept that the US unilaterally define China-US relations in violation of basic international norms, nor can we allow it to establish trade hegemony overriding the current international trading system and interests of other nations.

The Trump administration's gambling not only jeopardizes the interests of the Chinese people, but also bets on the interests of the US public. The prosperity and wealth of the US are largely linked to the global economic network. It cannot benefit from disrupting the international economic order.

It is US arrogance to believe that a trade war will exhaust China. But the boot is on the other foot. Trade is mutually beneficial to both the US and China. Scuppering bilateral trade would cause similar suffering to both sides. This simple truth can never be wrong.
Stock Market Drop Amid Escalating Tariff Threat
Charlotte Norsworthy
Jun 19, 2018
4:31 p.m. ET

The U.S. stock market fell sharply Tuesday in response to President Trump's recent threats to add another layer of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 287 points, or about 1.15 percent, marking its sixth straight daily drop. The broader S&P 500 index lost 11 points, or about 0.4 percent.

The threat of a trade war is leaving investors uncertain and is fueling market volatility, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

"Markets are responding to all of the rhetoric with the trade war," McBride said. "A lot of what we're seeing may be negotiating tactics, but it's just going to be a choppy ride due to this concern."

Asian markets also took a hit Tuesday in response to Trump's announcement. China's Shanghai composite index dropped 3.8 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.8 percent and Japan's Nikkei was down 1.7 percent.

"The Chinese economy is highly dependent on exports and what you are seeing is this reflected in Chinese equity markets," McBride said.

Most European indexes were also down Tuesday.
Hedge-fund Boss Who Predicted ‘87 Crash Says Next Recession Will Be ‘Really Frightening’
June 19, 2018 5:39 p.m. ET

Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge-fund luminary, on Monday said the next economic downturn confronted by the U.S. could be an ugly one.

“The next recession is really frightening because we don’t have any stabilizers,” he said, speaking at an event sponsored by Goldman Sachs GS, -1.33%  and hosted by its CEO Lloyd Blankfein called “Talk at GS.”

“We’ll have monetary policy, which will exhaust really quickly, but we don’t have any fiscal stabilizers,” Jones said.

The billionaire investor said the dynamic created by the Federal Reserve, as it attempts to normalize interest-rate policy from the 2007-‘09 financial crisis, is unsustainable, referring to valuations for stocks that many on Wall Street view as pricey.

Jones’s comments come after he told CNBC last week that stock market and bond yields are set for a ‘crazy’ rise.

“I think you’ll see rates go up and stocks go up in tandem at the end of the year,” Jones said last Tuesday. He made the case that real rates remain historically low and that rising bond yields, which move inversely to bond prices, won’t deter investors from scooping up stocks.

That is conducive to equities being “jacked up and ready to go,” he said during his interview with Blankfein on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.15% ended the session down 287 points, or 1.2%, at 24,700, wiping out all the blue-chip benchmark’s 2018 gains as heightened concerns about trade tensions between China and the U.S. roiled global markets.

The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.28% meanwhile, closed off 0.3%, while the broad-market S&P 500 index SPX, -0.40% finished Tuesday trade down 0.4%.

Jones is widely credited with predicting, and profiting, from the stock-market crash on Oct. 19, 1987, which saw the Dow lose nearly 23% of its value, marking the largest one-day percentage decline for the blue-chip benchmark in its history. Jones founded Tudor in 1980 and became known for trading everything from currencies to commodities. His record has featured middling returns and an exodus of billions from his hedge fund in more recent years. According to a Forbes list of billionaires, Jones boasts a net worth of $4.7 billion.
Trade Fears Rattle Wall Street, Dow Gives Up 2018 Gains
June 19, 2018
By April Joyner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as a sharp escalation in the trade dispute between the United States and China rattled markets and put the Dow Jones Industrial Average back in negative territory for the year.

President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion of Chinese goods, and Beijing warned it would retaliate.

Trump said his move followed China's decision to raise tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods, which came after the White House announced similar tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday.

"Investors are waking up to the idea that all the rhetoric on trade could be more than just a negotiating tactic," said Emily Roland, head of capital markets research at John Hancock Investments in Boston.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 287.26 points, or 1.15 percent, to 24,700.21, the S&P 500 lost 11.18 points, or 0.40 percent, to 2,762.57 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 21.44 points, or 0.28 percent, to 7,725.59.

The three major indexes pared losses from earlier in the session. The Dow briefly dropped below its 100-day moving average but rebounded, though the index ended the session below its 50-day moving average.

Given the escalating rhetoric on trade, some investors said the slide in U.S. stocks was relatively small.

"The U.S. market has acted much stronger than the global equity markets," said Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut. "It's a sedate reaction."

The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as Wall Street's fear gauge, hit nearly a three-week high of 14.68 points, before easing to 13.35.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index, whose components are more domestically focused than large-cap companies, edged up 0.1 percent.

Sectors seen as bond proxies due to their high dividend yields, such as utilities, telecoms and consumer staples, advanced.

Shares of Boeing, which has been a proxy for trade-war tensions with China, fell 3.8 percent, weighing the most on the Dow. Construction equipment maker Caterpillar closely followed with a 3.6 percent drop.

The declines weighed on the S&P industrials index, which fell 2.1 percent, its biggest one-day percentage drop in nearly two months.

Shares of chipmakers, which depend on China for a large portion of their revenue, slipped. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index fell 1.2 percent.

Tariff worries dragged FedEx Corp down 2.0 percent. The logistics company's shares were the biggest weight on the Dow Transports, which fell 1.7 percent. FedEx is scheduled to issue its quarterly report after the bell on Tuesday.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.41-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.34-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 135 new highs and 48 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.12 billion shares, compared to the 6.95 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(Additional reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)
Dow Tumbles About 300 Points, Wipes Out Gains for Year, as Trump Directs More Tariffs at China
The Dow also erased all of its gains for the year and posted a six-day losing streak, its longest since March 2017.

"With investor optimism as high as it is, there might not be much margin for error, and there is a real risk that this starts to erode consumer and business confidence," notes one strategist.

Fred Imbert | Alexandra Gibbs

Stocks fell on Tuesday after President Donald Trump's latest threat to China increased fears of an impending trade war between the world's largest economies.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 287.26 points to close at 24,700.21, with Boeing, DowDuPont and Caterpillar as the worst-performing stocks in the index. The 30-stock index also erased all of its gains for the year and posted a six-day losing streak, its longest since March 2017.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.4 percent to 2,762.45, with materials, industrials and tech lagging. The Nasdaq composite closed 0.3 percent lower at 7,725.59. Both indexes briefly fell more than 1 percent earlier in the session.

"At some point you've got to wonder how many times stocks are going to react to the same general bit of news. It may all just be a game of one-up-manship as a negotiating tactic to get to some sort of deal," said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. However, "with investor optimism as high as it is, there might not be much margin for error, and there is a real risk that this starts to erode consumer and business confidence."

Shares of some of the biggest chipmakers fell given their large exposure to China. Qualcomm and Nvidia both dropped at 0.9 percent. Semiconductor and semiconductor equipment companies have a revenue exposure of 52 percentto China, according to a recent report from Morgan Stanley.

Ford Motor, which also does a large amount of business in China, saw its stock pull back about 0.8 percent. Meanwhile, Caterpillar and Boeing — considered to be two bellwethers for trade tensions on Wall Street —both dropped at least 3.5 percent.

Shares of railroads and package shippers dropped on fears a trade war would slow the economy and reduce the amount of imported goods for them to ship around the country. FedEx and J.B. Hunt both dropped more than 1.5 percent. CSX lost 1.9 percent.

"With each escalation, you get more worried that things will get out of hand," said Bob Phillips, managing principal at Spectrum Management Group. "I know Trump wants to do something to help out blue-collar workers, but ... each time you ratchet this up, China has to come out strong."

Trump asked the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs, at a rate of 10 percent. If China "refuses to change its practices" and insists on continuing with the new tariffs it recently declared, then the additional levies would be imposed on Beijing, Trump said Monday night.

Soon after, the Chinese Commerce Ministry issued a response, stating that the latest threat of more tariffs violates previous negotiations and consensus reached between both the U.S. and China. "The United States has initiated a trade war that violates market laws and is not in accordance with current global development trends," the ministry said.

Further tension in U.S.-China relations could end up hurting some iconic U.S. companies the most, said Jim O'Neill, an economist and the chairman of think tank Chatham House.

"I often say to people that America's most iconic modern company, Apple, has for three years sold more iPhones to Greater China than it has to the U.S. So ultimately, if the U.S. genuinely takes this kind of belligerent stance, it's going to be the U.S.' best-growing companies that will suffer," O'Neill told CNBC.

Treasury prices rose on Tuesday, with investors looking for safety amid the stock-market sell-off. The benchmark 10-year note yield dropped to 2.893 percent from about 2.91 percent on Monday.

Commodities, meanwhile, fell sharply as soybeans futures reached their lowest prices in more than two years.

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel, said in a note that "we estimate tariffs on goods both ways would likely shave off a few tenths of a percentage point off each country's GDP. While a seemingly minimal impact, as the domestic economy continues to struggle to maintain a near 2% growth rate, a loss of even a few tenths is an unwelcome impact.

"Additionally, the fear from here is a continued back and forth, escalating trade penalties on both sides with a further negative impact on growth," she said.
House GOP Changes Immigration Bill to Prevent DHS From Separating Families
The Hill
06/19/18 02:36 PM EDT

House Republicans are changing their compromise immigration bill to prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from separating migrant children from their families in response to a growing political storm.

The new bill would require DHS to keep families together while parents are going through legal proceedings related to their detention for illegally crossing the border, according to a House GOP source familiar with the new bill, which is still being drafted.

“This bill requires DHS to house families together while parents are going through criminal proceedings for the misdemeanor of first-time illegal border crossing,” the source said.

“This is a change from current practice which requires [Department of Justice] DOJ criminal custody during criminal proceedings, and thus leads to family separation,” the source added.

It’s unclear whether the new bill will be approved by the House, however, and it seems unlikely to get through the Senate where Republicans would need help from Democrats.

Democrats are opposed to the underlying legislation, which would also make changes to legal programs to curb immigration. The bill also includes provisions on border security, money for a wall on the border and language that would allow “Dreamers” who came to the United States illegally as children to stay in the country.

President Trump is slated to come to Capitol Hill to discuss immigration with House Republicans Tuesday evening. House GOP leadership hopes to hold floor votes on both the compromise bill and a harder-line measure backed by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) before the end of the week.

Both the Goodlatte bill and the compromise GOP bill addressed family separations, but critics say the solutions proposed in them would create a situation where entire families are detained, in some cases without the proper safeguards for detained minors.

Trump has blamed family separations on Democrats, making the false claim that his “zero tolerance” policy on the border is necessitated by a law approved by Congress.

Previous administrations have declined to separate families, choosing instead to keep families together as they go through processing.

The changes to the legislation come following bipartisan backlash over the zero tolerance policy, which has left about 2,000 children separated from their guardians over the course of six weeks.

The legislation also revives the 20-day cap on DHS administrative custody for minors — allowing families to remain together throughout the course of proceedings. Children of offenders and felons will, however, be placed in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services under the legislation.

It would allocate $7 billion toward family residential centers. Current facilities have come under heavy scrutiny after photos emerges of children being kept in wire cages.

“The legislation is still being finalized and the updated version is expected to be circulated later today and discussed at the conference meeting this evening,” according to the source.
Trump Argues There is No Alternative to the Detention on Children 
June 19, 2018

President Donald Trump claimed that the only options for immigration enforcement are releasing all undocumented immigrants into the country on their own recognizance or prosecuting them criminally and separating parents and children.

Speaking before the National Federation of Independent Business Tuesday afternoon, Trump defended a policy that has led to 2,000 children being separated from their parents by claiming that there were no alternatives.

“We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America, or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry,” he said.

By law, when adults are detained and criminally prosecuted, their children cannot be kept with them in jail, and a 2016 court ruling shut down federally run family detention centers. But the Bush and Obama administrations generally declined to prosecute adults who were caught traveling with their children, handling them through an administrative process or releasing them with GPS ankle bracelets.

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the U.S. would prosecute everyone caught crossing illegally, a policy change which requires that children be separated from parents being held while they await trial. Recent polls show two-thirds of Americans oppose the family separation policy, which Trump has falsely blamed on Democrats.

Speaking to the NFIB, Trump called on Congress to give him “the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit.”

Read More: Here Are the Facts About President Trump’s Family Separation Policy

Trump also argued that Democrats support illegal immigration because they view immigrants as “potential voters.” “Someday they’re going to vote for Democrats,” he said.

Federal and state laws bar non-citizens from registering to vote or voting in elections other than a few towns and cities which allow it in local races, and multiple nationwide studies have found only a handful of incidents of non-citizens actually casting ballots.

Trump also argued that undocumented immigrants were risking their children’s lives, and he again warned about the dangers of the violent Central American gang MS-13.

“People that come in violate the law, they endanger their children in the process, and frankly they endanger all of our children,” he said. “You see what happens with MS-13 where your sons and daughters are attacked violently. Kids that never even heard of such a thing are being attacked violently, not with guns but with knives, because it’s much more painful.”

And as he has before, Trump lamented the family separations, but said they were a side effect of enforcing the law.

“We’ve got to stop separation of the families, but politically correct or not, we have a country that needs security, that needs safety, that has to be protected,” he said.

Later Tuesday, Trump will head to the Capitol to meet with lawmakers searching for a compromise on this issue. A top aide to Senate Republicans tells TIME that Trump has already thrown a wrench into the process by demanding $25 billion for a border wall to be included in whatever bill is brought to his desk.
Anger Mounts Against Trump Over Child Separation Policy
Hundreds protest against policy of separating children from those caught crossing the US-Mexico border.

Pressure is mounting on US President Donald Trump to reverse his policy of separating children from refugees and migrants who cross the US-Mexico border.

"Families belong together," protesters chanted on Sunday, as hundreds gathered outside detention centres in the states of Texas and New Jersey, calling for an end to the practice.

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" approach towards migrants and refugees who cross the US southern border without documents, promising to prosecute those who did so.

Part of that approach has been separating children from their parents who are detained.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman told reporters last week that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults who crossed the US border without documents between April 19 and May 31.

Sunday's protests coincided with the celebration of Father's Day in the US, and drew several legislators from the Democratic Party.

New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney shared the stories of five men detained in the New Jersey facility who were separated from their families.

"All 5 of these men brought their families to the US to escape #gangviolence in their home countries," she said on Twitter. "They came hoping for a better, safer life for their loved ones. Instead they were separated from their children & have received no update on their children since being detained."

All 5 of these men brought their families to the US to escape #gangviolence in their home countries. They came hoping for a better, safer life for their loved ones. Instead they were separated from their children & have received no update on their children since being detained.

 One man broke down when telling me about how his young daughter was ripped from his arms. This is inhumane and traumatizing.

Other members of Congress toured a converted Walmart supermarket that is housing about 1,500 children, dozens of whom have been separated from their parents under the "zero-tolerance" policy.

"They call it 'zero tolerance,' but a better name for it is zero humanity, and there's zero logic to this policy," said Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said while touring the facility.

"It's completely unacceptable under any moral code or under any religious tradition to injure children, inflict trauma on them in order to send some political message to adults somewhere overseas," he said.

Protesters also marched to the newly-erected tent city in Tornillo, Texas, where hundreds of boys will be housed, according to Congressman Will Hurd, who toured the area over the weekend.

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of the "shelter" last week.

'Reminiscent of Japanese-American internment camps'

Democrat senators are attempting to drum up support in Congress to legislate against the policy, including proposing a law that would ban the practice.

Named the "Keep Families Together Act", the bill, if passed, would ban the separation of a child from a parent or guardian unless there was a risk of abuse or neglect stemming from the parent's custody of the child.

Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein said the bill had picked up support from 48 senators.

"We're making progress, but we still need Republicans to join," she wrote on Twitter.

While no Republicans have signed up to back the bill, others within the party establishment have spoken out.

These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in US history.

Former First Lady Laura Bush, the wife of former Republican President George W Bush, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post newspaper, in which she said the policy of zero tolerance "breaks her heart".

"Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso," she wrote.

"These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in US history."

Current First Lady Melania Trump has also weighed in on the issue but stopped short of calling for the policy to be scrapped.

The first lady said she "hates to see children separated from their families" and that she hoped Republicans and Democrats could "come together to achieve successful immigration reform," in a statement her spokesperson made to CNN.

Violates children's rights

Her husband's administration has shown little sign that it will budge on the issue and has instead doubled down, even citing the Bible to justify its conduct.

Trump and his supporters have also repeatedly falsely blamed the Democrats for his administration's policy of separating families, saying that it's "their law".

However, there is no statute that requires children to be separated from their parents at the border.

Others have defended the policy by citing the "safety and security" of the children.

Rights groups and others, including the UN, however, have said the practice violates the rights of the child.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote on Twitter: "There is no way to rationalize ripping families apart ..."

President Trump campaigned on a platform to cut off the flow of immigrants entering the US through Mexico and repeatedly characterised those coming through as potential rapists and criminals.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Africa and Cuba United by Friendship and Solidarity
There are 95 Cuba solidarity associations working to strengthen ties of friendship with the island, across 45 countries in Africa and the Middle East, according to José Prieto Cintado, vice president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), speaking with Granma International about the work undertaken by these groups last year

Nuria Barbosa León | internet@granma.cu
June 11, 2018 17:06:57

There are 95 Cuba solidarity associations working to strengthen ties of friendship with the island, across 45 countries in Africa and the Middle East, according to José Prieto Cintado, vice president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), speaking with Granma International about the work undertaken by these groups last year.

In particular, Prieto, with a degree in International Political Relations, highlighted the Fifth Cuba-Africa Friendship and Solidarity Encounter, held June 5-7, 2017, in the city of Windhoek, Namibia.

“One hundred and eighty three delegates from 19 countries attended, including a group from the United States. An action plan was approved, which features strategic initiatives for the 2017-2019 period. We hope to hold the Sixth Continental event in Nigeria next year,” stated the ICAP official.

He went on to note that Cuba solidarity organizations from the continent center their efforts on demanding an end to the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by United States government on Cuba, with protests outside U.S. embassies and consulates across the region, taking place on the 17th of every month.

Activists also continue to call for the return of the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo, and show their support for other just causes around the world, in particular the struggles of the people of Western Sahara and Palestine, as well as the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Prieto noted that although Africa and Cuba are geographically distant, the two share close historic ties which have continued to be strengthened ever since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

In this sense he noted that visits by head of state and senior officials from the continent have helped promote and expand relations, while the significant number of African youth studying on the island is another expression of Cuba’s close ties with the region.

Prieto went on to explain that groups publish articles in news outlets and share information on social media about Cuba’s reality and medical collaboration in their part of the world, in order to refute defamatory media campaigns against the Cuban Revolution.

“The solidarity movements have undertaken various initiatives and we provide them with information,” noted the ICAP official, who praised the efforts of African students who have graduated from Cuban universities in defense of the island.

He explained that many African professionals who studied in Cuba are now working in their countries of origin and hold fond memories of the years they spent on the island.

“They represent reinforcements within solidarity organizations, while recent graduates breathe new life into associations and help to strengthen their work,” explained Prieto.

These young people support the work of Cuban officials at the island’s embassies and consulates on the continent. Many also volunteer as translators for Cuban collaborators serving on medical and educational missions in their countries, accompanying and supporting their work in remote areas.

Unlike solidarity brigades from other continents which travel to the island every year to undertake voluntary work at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp in Caimito, there is no such collective from Africa. However, many individuals from the region visit Cuba as members of International May Day contingents or delegations wanting to honor the legendary Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara.

Given a lack of direct flights between Havana and nations of the continent, many of those traveling to the island must make connections in third countries, some as far away as Europe or the United States, he highlighted.

Visas also represent another issue, as individuals from Africa and the Middle East are prohibited from making flight connections in certain countries, making it difficult for persons from the region to visit Cuba as tourists.

Nonetheless, various delegations of parliamentarians and political party members from Africa visited Cuba in 2017, where they expressed their willingness to continue strengthening exchanges in the fields of trade, healthcare, and education, noted the ICAP official.

Prieto went on to add these groups have also been working to pass parliamentary motions condemning U.S. interventionism and the blockade of Cuba.

“The delegations that visit ICAP pay tribute to the independence leaders of their countries in the Park of Africa’s Founding Fathers in the capital,” he noted, adding that Cuba has a long history of supporting African independence struggles.

Prieto likewise explained that there are many in the Middle East who not only support and work in solidarity with Cuba, but also defend the island against any and all manifestations of imperialist aggression.

“Iran is a nation that has carried out notable solidarity work, while Palestinians always show us love, despite the difficult conditions they live in and harassment they are subjected to. Sometimes you find a Cuban symbol in a tent in the desert, showing that Cuba solidarity is present, not only as an expression of appreciation for what we have done, are doing, and will continue to do for them, but because the Cuban Revolution is also an example,” stated Prieto Cintado.

Meanwhile, Yahimí Rodríguez Flores, coordinator for Africa and the Middle East at ICAP, stated, “The solidarity movement is heterogeneous and includes government members, workers linked to industry and trade, professionals, doctors, trade unionists, and teachers, with varying political positions. However, they are all united by a common factor: their sympathy, respect, and love for the leaders of our Revolution, especially Fidel Castro,” stated the young specialist.

Last year Rodríguez Flores travelled to Mali and Guinea where she witnessed “the difficulties our friends face, who share their scare resources with us and maintain a space to support Cuba,” stated that ICAP official, who also holds a degree in History.

“Just walking through the streets and someone realizes that you’re Cuban, they immediately associate you with the name Fidel Castro. The love the people of Africa feel for Cuba gives me goose bumps. Things like this would happen to me in the airport, in a market, at a ministry or organization. Someone would hear you speaking in the street and all of a sudden say to you: I love Cuba, I love Fidel Castro.”

Cuba solidarity organizations in Africa, key lines of action:

- The lifting of the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba
- The return of the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo
- Disseminating information on Cuba’s reality and combating defamatory media campaigns against the island
- Supporting the people of Palestine and Western Sahara in their struggles for independence and sovereignty
- Supporting social initiatives offering an alternative to capitalism, above all in Venezuela

Cuba Solidarity Associations in Africa:

-Sub-Saharan Africa: 78 in 36 countries
-The Middle East: 17 in 9 countries

Associations of graduates from Cuba

- Sub-Saharan Africa: 30 in 23 countries
- The Middle East: 6 in 5 countries
A Model Revolutionary
On the 90th anniversary of Che’s birth, Granma presents excerpts from Fidel’s speech given October 18, 1967, during the memorial ceremony for Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución

Fidel Castro Ruz | internet@granma.cu
June 14, 2018 10:06:49

Excerpts from Fidel’s speech delivered during the memorial ceremony for Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, October 18, 1967

“Che was one of those people who was liked immediately, for his simplicity, his character, his naturalness, his comradely attitude, his personality, his originality … the type of man who, when a difficult mission must be completed, doesn’t wait for you to ask him to take on the mission …”

“This was one of his principal characteristics: his willingness to instantly volunteer for the most dangerous mission. And naturally this aroused admiration - and twice the usual admiration, for a fellow combatant fighting alongside us who had not been born here, a person of profound ideas, a person in whose mind dreams boiled of struggle in other parts of the continent, and who nonetheless was so altruistic, so selfless, so willing to always do the most difficult things, to constantly risk his life.”

“Che was an incomparable soldier. Che was an incomparable leader. Che was, from a military point of view, an extraordinarily capable man, extraordinarily courageous, extraordinarily aggressive. If, as a guerrilla, he had his Achilles’ heel, this Achilles’ heel was this excessively aggressive quality, his absolute contempt for danger.”

“Che was a master of war… Che was an artist of the guerilla struggle…The artist may die - especially when he is an artist in a field as dangerous as revolutionary struggle - but what will surely never die is the art to which he dedicated his life, the art to which he dedicated his intelligence.”

“He was a man of profound thought, of visionary intelligence, a profoundly cultured man… Che, as a revolutionary, possessed the virtues that can be defined as the fullest expression of the virtues of a revolutionary: a man of total integrity, a man with a supreme sense of honor, of absolute sincerity, a man of stoic and Spartan living habits, a person in whose conduct not a single stain can be found. He constituted, given his virtues, what can be called a truly model revolutionary.”

“…That is why we say, when we think of his life, when we think of his conduct, that he constituted a singular case of a most extraordinary man, able to unite in his personality not only the characteristics of the man of action, but also of a man of thought, of immaculate revolutionary virtues, and of extraordinary human sensibility, joined with an iron character, a will of steel, indomitable tenacity.”

“Che’s writings, Che’s political and revolutionary thought, will be of permanent value to the Cuban revolutionary process and to the Latin American revolutionary process. And we do not doubt that his ideas… have and will continue to have universal value.”
Ernesto Guevara: The Man Who Gave Himself
Che’s ideas continue to find followers 90 years after his birth

Yisel Martínez | informacion@granma.cu
June 13, 2018 12:06:28

There are figures who never die, who cease being mere mortals to remain inevitably in history. People of thought, of character, of passion and sacrifice, who exalt human nature and attest to how much we can do as a species. Ernesto Che Guevara de la Serna is one of these figures.

It was no coincidence that his life should turn out like that. His asthma always accompanied him and made him a fighter. His father got used to sleeping up against the headboard of his bed, and Ernesto learned to control the asthma attacks lying on his father’s chest.

He didn’t always go to school, and was taught at home. However, he became independent and determined. He practiced sports and studied medicine. The books written about his life note that he attended practice with a fever, that he was never absent or stopped working.

For a long time he observed, and also suffered, the Latin American reality. His travels in the region helped him to know which side he was on, and to which purposes he should dedicate his political thought. He saw the fall of President Jacobo Arbenz’s Guatemala (1951-1954), overthrown by a coup d’état orchestrated and financed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He took an interest in the revolution in Paraguay and visited Bolivia, among other countries in the area. In Mexico he met Cuban revolutionaries. He traveled on the Granma yacht and landed on the island. He fought in the Sierra Maestra and became a Comandante. He was already known as Che by that time, and also as a revolutionary leader, with terribly strict discipline, those who were there assure us.

His mother was notified of his death on three occasions. “Three times we received the refutation and some reassuring lines. We aged in those two years. Every time I was relieved knowing that he was still alive, I became desperate again, remembering that the news was slow to arrive.”

But the guerrilla lived many more years, at least enough to become Minister of Industries, the advocate of voluntary work in Cuba, an expert in economics, a father, a politician and, above all, a transformer of the global left.

He defended everything he believed to be just, and was able to guide those who saw him as a leader. He went to the Congo because that war of national liberation was also his. His experiences served him in the revolutionary struggle in Bolivia and even so, it may not have been enough to him to have done everything he did, having decided to dedicate his life to others.

Today, 90 years after his birth, Ernesto Che Guevara is not simply a symbol of the twentieth century. He is the writer who left anecdotes of his travels and experiences in Latin America and the world. He is the economist, the politician, the Marxist, the son, the father, and friend. He is the man who is remembered for his ideas, his convictions, and his internationalism. The man to whom his followers have dedicated countless songs and poems. He is the paradigm that embodies selflessness, because, as Eduardo Galeano said: “He never kept anything for himself, nor ever asked for anything. Living is giving oneself, he thought; and he gave himself.”
The draft mining charter conceded to the “once empowered always empowered” principle which was not the case in the past version.

Qaanitah Hunter
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says the draft mining charter is substantially different to the contentious version drafted by his predecessor Mosebenzi Zwane.

He says while the public can submit their comments until 27 July, they are hoping that there won’t be any major changes to it.

When the past mining charter was published a year ago, the industry and government were locked in fights that spilled over into court.

The Minerals council, formally known as the Chamber of Mines, argued at the time that there was little consultation by Zwane.

Now Mantashe says after widespread consultation, all concerns have been considered.

“If you compare this charter and the other one that was taken to court by the chamber, very different animals and the reason for that is that we’re serious about listening to the concerns of all the stakeholders.”

In the previous version of the mining charter, mining companies had a year to comply with the 30% black ownership requirement, now the new document gives them up to five years to comply.

The draft mining charter conceded to the “once empowered always empowered” principle which was not the case in the past version.

This means South African companies will be credited for past black-empowerment deals even when their investors later sold their shares to whites or foreigners.
US, UK, France Block Central African Republic's Request For Chinese Arms
02:01 PM, June 15, 2018

The US, France and the UK have put on hold, a request from the Central African Republic for UN Security Council approval of Chinese Weapons deliveries for its national forces.

All the three nations have raised concerns about the use of lethal equipment CAR requested that include Chinese-made armored vehicles, machine guns, tear gas grenades and other weaponry for its army and police.

The CAR’s defense minister has asked UN sanctions committee on June 5 to grant an exemption to an arms embargo and allow the shipments, AFP reported Friday.

France said it had "concerns concerning some lethal equipment included in this exemption request," citing anti-aircraft weapons and ammunitions, according to a document obtained by AFP.

The French mission to the United Nations requested "additional justifications concerning this lethal equipment in order to be able to take a decision."

The United States noted that there was "no threat of an air attack in CAR" and questioned deliveries of eight grenade launchers, four anti-aircraft machine guns as well as anti-personnel grenades and rockets.

Britain said it was concerned that the shipments would pass through Cameroon unescorted to the border with CAR.

The council imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic in 2013 when the country descended into bloodshed but its sanctions committee last year gave the green light for Russia to supply weapons to the national forces.

China wants to donate military equipment which includes 12 armored vehicles and four assault vehicles, 50 pistols, six sniper rifles, ten submachine guns with silencers and some 30 machine guns of various calibers.

The list of equipment from China's Poly Technologies also includes 300 rockets, 500 anti-tank grenades, some 725,000 rounds of ammunition of various types and 15,000 tear gas grenades.
Terrorists Fire Shells at al-Baath City in Quneitra
17 June، 2018

Quneitra, SANA – Terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra on Sunday fired shells at al-Baath city in Quneitra province, causing material damage.

SANA’s correspondent in Quneitra said that al-Nusra terrorists located in al-Hamidiye village fired rocket and mortar shells at al-Baath city, causing material damage to properties, but no injuries were reported.

The correspondent said that the Syrian Arab Army’s artillery responded by targeting the sources of the attack, destroying shell launchers and inflicting losses upon the terrorists.

Hazem Sabbagh
US-Led Coalition Aircraft Bombs Syrian Military Positions - Reports 
01:27 18.06.2018

A US-led coalition aircraft has bombed one of Syrian military positions, local media reported citing a source in the military.

Syrian SANA news agency reported, citing a military source that one of US-led coalition aircraft had made an airstrike on the positions of the Syrian troops in al-Harra settlement, which is southeast of Al Bukamal, killing several servicemen and injuring others.

The Syrian city of Al Bukamal is apart of Deir ez-Zor Governorate and is situated near the border with Iraq.

Previous month, Iran's Fars news agency cited sources as saying that a new US military base was being set up in the Deir ez-Zor province. The base, which, according to reports is located in the Badiyeh al-Sha'afa area, was to be equipped with "advanced military tools and systems".

The US-led coalition has been making airstrikes against what it calls Daesh* targets in Syria since 2014. The coalition's mission was approved neither by Damascus nor the UN. Currently, about 2,000 US troops are deployed in Syria.

*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia, the United States and many other countries
Libya Violence: Fighting Escalates in Key City of Derna
The latest battle for control of the besieged city in eastern Libya has cost the lives of at least 16 fighters.

11 Jun 2018

Sixteen fighters have been killed and 11 others wounded in the eastern Libyan city of Derna.

Fighting has intensified between forces loyal to renegade Gaddafi-era General and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset Khalifa Haftar and local militias.

Haftar's forces say they have taken about 75 percent of Derna, which is the last eastern city out of their control.

Thousands of evacuees have fled the city over the last few weeks.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from Tripoli.
Libya's NOC Warns of Environmental Disaster Amid Clashes Near Oil Terminals 
07:07 17.06.2018

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said in a statement that further activities of militants near the oil terminals in the towns of As Sidr and Ras Lanuf could result in an environmental disaster.

On Thursday, militants affiliated with al-Qaeda terrorist group* attacked the oil terminals. Troops from the Libyan National Army (LNA) repelled the attack, however the militants continued their activities in the area.

"National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirms that storage tank No. 12 of the Harouge Oil Company in Ras Lanuf has been significantly damaged as a result of the armed incursion of the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider port terminals. NOC calls for the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the militia operating under Ibrahim Jadhran to prevent an environmental disaster and further destruction of key infrastructure," the statement said on Saturday.

According to the NOC, further violence could result in more damages and consequently have negative impact on the economy.

"NOC also calls on all parties not to use the oil sector, NOC and associated petroleum facilities in a political game and to remove them from all possible conflict. Any act that endangers life and sheds Libyan blood should be condemned by all. These facilities belong to the Libyan people and are crucial to the future prosperity of the country," the corporation added.

Libya has been torn apart by conflict since its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011. The eastern part of the country is governed by the parliament, backed by the LNA and located in Tobruk. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli.

In 2016, the LNA units drove the militants from the oil terminals controlled by radicals and later handed control over the facilities to the NOC.

*al-Qaeda is a terror organisation banned in Russia and many other countries
Pentagon Bombing of Libya Kills Targeted Individual
The attack was the second against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in recent months


WASHINGTON – US forces working in coordination with the Libyan government carried out an air strike against an al-Qaeda affiliate group southeast of Bani Walid this week, killing one fighter, US military said in a statement on Thursday.

US forces are still assessing the results of the strike, which was undertaken in an effort to disrupt al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and deny the organisation’s fighters freedom of action, US Africa Command said. It did not identify the slain fighter.

It said no civilians were killed in the attack on Wednesday, which took place about 80 km southeast of Bani Walid, which is about 160 km southeast of Tripoli.

The attack was the second against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in recent months. A US strike on 24 March killed Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking member of the group, the military said.
CIA Asset Haftar Forces Launch Push Against Militias in Libya Oil Crescent
Agence France Presse

BENGHAZI, Libya: The self-styled Libyan National Army loyal to strongman and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset Khalifa Haftar announced Sunday a "major offensive" to drive rival groups from the country's northeastern oil crescent.

Armed groups on Thursday attacked the Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra terminals held by Haftar's forces around 650 kilometers east of Tripoli.

"We have launched a major offensive supported by the army and air force to drive out the militias of [Ibrahim] Jadhran and his allies", LNA spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari told AFP.

Jadhran's Petroleum Facilities Guard controlled the terminals for years following the 2011 ouster and killing of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, but were eventually forced out by the LNA.

The LNA controls most of eastern Libya and is opposed to an internationally recognized government based in Tripoli, which has itself condemned Thursday's militia attacks.

On Thursday, Jadhran said in a video that he had formed an alliance to retake oil terminals seized by Haftar's forces in September 2016.

The LNA's air force on Sunday told residents in the oil crescent to stay away from "areas where the enemy gathers, munitions stores and sites with military vehicles".

"Fighter [planes] are carrying out raids against terrorist positions and gatherings in the operational military zone stretching from Ras Lanuf to the edge of the city of Sirte," the air force said on its Facebook page.

The Red Crescent in Ajdabiya, 150 kilometers east of Ras Lanuf, on Friday said it received 28 bodies, without specifying to which group they belonged.

The NOC on Saturday said a storage tank had been "significantly damaged" due to the armed incursions into Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra.

It called for the "immediate and unconditional surrender" of Jadhran's militia to "prevent an environmental disaster and further destruction of key infrastructure".

The NOC on Thursday said it had halted oil exports from Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra because of the violence.

NOC chief Mustafa Sanallah warned that if oil exports from these terminals remain at a standstill it could cause a "national disaster".

The oil firm warned on Friday that output could fall by up to 400,000 barrels per day if the export shutdown continues.

Libya's economy relies heavily on oil, with production at 1.6 million barrels per day under Gadhafi.

The 2011 imperialist-engineered counter-revolution that ousted and killed Gadhafi saw production fall to about 20 percent of that level, before recovering to over one million barrels per day by the end of 2017.