Thursday, May 31, 2018

‘US Seeking Hegemony With Command Name-change’
By Li Ruohan and Liu Yang
Global Times
2018/5/31 23:28:41

China on Thursday urged the US to play a responsible and constructive role in the Asia-Pacific region, after Washington renamed its most expansive military command, a move Chinese analysts warned could be a US attempt at global hegemony.

The Pentagon renamed "US Pacific Command" to "US Indo-Pacific Command," US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced on Wednesday at a ceremony where Philip Davidson was placed at the helm of the newly renamed command, CNN reported.

Regardless of the name, the US should act in a responsible way and play a constructive role in regional peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing on Thursday.

China will closely monitor the change, defense ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang told the Global Times at a press conference on Thursday. 

Also at the Wednesday ceremony, Davidson's predecessor Harry Harris reiterated that China remains the US' biggest long-term challenge.

"Without the focused involvement and engagement of the US and our allies and partners, China will realize its dream of hegemony in Asia," Harris said.

Those who have an obsession with hegemony always think others are coveting their powers. China has repeatedly and openly declared that the country's development does not pose any threat to any country, and China will never seek hegemony, Hua said.

US seeking global hegemony

The renaming very much targets China, Zhao Xiaozhuo, a research fellow at the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Academy of Military Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The South China Sea sits right in the center of the Indo-Pacific region, geographically and strategically, and the US also expects India and Mongolia to help contain China together with US allies from the other side of the region, Zhao noted.

Echoing Zhao, Han Xudong, a professor at China's PLA National Defense University, stressed that the US Indo-Pacific strategy serves the Trump administration's ambition of global hegemony through greater military presence.

The strategy shows that the US is taking the Eastern Hemisphere as a key region for its global hegemony agenda, Han told the Global Times.

"The renaming of the command gives US more reason to increase its military presence in the Indian Ocean," Han said. While the US-led NATO military alliance is consolidating US hegemony in Europe, the Indo-Pacific military group is being positioned as a parallel power to support the US' goal of global hegemony, Han remarked.

The renaming is widely seen as a public expression of Washington's intent to count India as a key partner in its strategic planning, India-based reported.

"However, India realizes that the US is merely using it to counter China and rebuild its hegemony in the Indian Ocean. In fact, India has not benefitted as the US did not leave any room for its power in the Indian Ocean," Zhang Jiadong, director of Fudan University's Center of South Asian Studies in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The US strategy is to remove any possible threat in the region. China is currently regarded as the biggest threat, and India would be the next. But India will eventually figure that out, Zhang said. 
U.S. Plans to Impose Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum Imports from EU: Local Media
2018/5/31 10:29:19

The Trump administration is planning to impose punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union (EU), local media reported on Wednesday.

The administration is expected to make an announcement as early as Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move is almost certain to draw a response from the EU, which has threatened to retaliate with its own tariffs on such American products as motorcycles, jeans and bourbon, the report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in March to impose 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, while delaying implementation for some trading partners to offer concessions to avoid the tariffs.

The Trump administration is using a decades-old law, the so-called Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act from 1962, to impose tariffs on the ground of national security, which has drawn strong opposition from the domestic business community and U.S. trading partners.

The White House said in late April that the steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for EU member countries would be extended until June 1 in order to give "a final 30 days" for them to reach agreements over trade negotiations.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has demanded that all EU member countries should be permanently exempt from the steel and aluminum tariffs as a condition for any future trade talks.

But U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday that the EU should continue to negotiate with the U.S. if tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU are imposed this week.

The Trump administration last week also initiated a national security investigation into automobile imports, which could lead to more tariffs on imported European cars.

Analysts said new tariffs on European steel, aluminum and autos are likely to further increase trade frictions between the United States and the trading bloc.
Stocks Slide, Bonds Climb as Trade Tensions Rise: Markets Wrap
By Randall Jensen
May 31, 2018, 4:02 PM EDT

The Trump administration’s tariffs on imports from key allies sent U.S. and European stocks into a tailspin and stoked demand for the safety of Treasuries.

The S&P 500 fell for the fourth time in five days, paring a monthly advance as the president’s escalation of trade tensions with Canada, Mexico and the European Union hammered American industrial and financial shares. Deutsche Bank AG fell to a record low after reports that U.S. regulators added it to a group of troubled lenders they monitor. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.84 percent, while Mexico’s peso and Canada’s dollar retreated.

The Trump administration’s unilateral action upended the global trade order and was met with retaliatory actions that could imperil economic growth. The ratcheting up of tension overshadowed reports that Italy is close to forming a government that is more EU-friendly than investors had feared. Investors are also bracing for Friday’s jobs report.

“The hard thing about protectionism, the hard thing about tariffs and quotas, is that you can almost think of it as it’s a slow moving disease, but it’s deadly,” Kristina Hooper, Invesco’s chief global market strategist, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “When I look at protectionism, I don’t believe the market truly can price it in at this point because there’s still so many potential iterations. But right now it’s certainly moving further to the extremes when it comes to protectionism and that can be very problematic.”
Outrage Over U.S. Steel Tariffs Set to Spill Over Into G7 Meeting
By Theophilos Argitis, Natalie Obiko Pearson, and Andrew Mayeda

May 31, 2018, 5:22 PM EDT

 Trade will be ‘first and foremost’ at meetings, Morneau says
 Trade war overshadows discussions about harmonized growth

Global finance chiefs from the U.S.’s closest allies are promising to give Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin an earful this week after the Trump administration imposed steel and aluminum duties that sparked swift trade responses.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau acknowledged that trade will now take center stage at the meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the G-7 nations taking place at a Canadian ski resort near Vancouver. Mnuchin, who was set to arrive in Canada Thursday, will get a cool reception after the U.S. announced new levies on imported metals from the European Union, Mexico and Canada, citing national security grounds.

“I don’t want to kid you, we will need to talk about this first and foremost,” said Morneau, who is chairing the meetings beginning with a dinner tonight in Whistler, British Columbia. Canada and the European Union have said they will take immediate steps to retaliate, with Canada imposing tariffs on $12.8 billion of U.S. goods, ranging from steel to whisky and maple syrup.

“We think it’s absurd that Canada is considered in any way a security risk, so that will be very clearly stated by me,” said Morneau, who attended Mnuchin’s wedding last year and said he considers the Treasury Secretary a friend. “I have every expectation that our other allies around the table will express the same sentiment.”

Hijacks Summit

The trade wars are hijacking a summit that was initially seen as an opportunity to tout the successes of the global economic upswing, and severely testing the resiliency of the Western economic alliance represented by the G-7. The IMF projects the world economy will grow this year and next at its fastest pace since 2011.

“The discussions will be less genteel,” said Bart Oosterveld, director of the global economics program at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “It’s usually a gathering of countries that believe that rules-based free trade is good for all, so the notion that they would get together to talk about tariffs is unusual. It’ll be the talk of the town."

Frictions in Whistler this weekend could foreshadow even more high-drama at a G-7 leaders’ summit next week in Quebec that Trump will attend.

Things are already getting nasty. At a separate press conference in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that Trump refused a face-to-face meeting request -- through Vice President Mike Pence as intermediary -- unless the Canadians made a key concession in negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

Lost on Trump

Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, said in a speech Thursday that “whenever I’m thinking about Trump, I’m lost.”

In imposing the tariffs, Trump invoked a seldom-used section of a 1960s trade law that allows him to erect trade barriers when imports imperil national security. Trump in March imposed 25 percent duties on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, but he gave temporary reprieve to a handful of allies for further talks to take place.

The action was mainly targeted at China over accusations of flooding the global market with cut-rate metals and dragging down prices. The Trump administration has said a global tariff is necessary because China is shipping its steel through other nations.

"We absolutely think tarriffs are bad,” Morneau said in a separate interview with BNN Bloomberg television. “These specific tariffs are beyond bad -- they’re suggesting that Canada is somehow a security risk, which makes no sense.”

— With assistance by Yuko Takeo
German Newspaper Opinion: US Import Tariffs — Nerves of Steel, Round Two

The United States has made true on its promise to hit the European Union with higher import tariffs on steel and aluminum. But there needs to be a distinction between bluster and true inequality says DW's Timothy Rooks.

It's official. US import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico are now in place. As expected, America has not buckled under pressure from its allies. Donald Trump has ignored the advice of his own Department of Defense and car manufactures, unnecessarily alienating a big part of the world in the process.

Europeans are justifiably furious, and many have called for swift retaliatory measures on American staples like bourbon and Harley-Davidsons. But speaking in one voice is no easy task for a group of 28 disparate countries. The EU is often too timid, wanting to please everyone. Mexico on the other hand has already shown grit and imposed increased tariffs on select items in retaliation. And though no one profits from a trade war, the US is sticking to its go-it-alone path.

What gets lost in all the tweets, shouts and whining is the fact that the US does have a legitimate right to seek a realignment of global trade to and from its shores, even if it has speciously wrapped its decision in "national security" robes. Having been raised in Detroit but lived a big part of my life in Europe, it's obvious to me that all sides need to keep cool and work on fair and constructive solutions.

Arbitrary interventions

Yet the Trump administration sees such tactics as a cudgel which it can use to bully anyone it views as weaker, which for many in America means everyone else. For his part, Trump has long been known in the business world for his threats and bluster, but now these rudimentary approaches are indiscriminately overturning decades of ever closer cooperation and sadly becoming the US's standard operating procedure.

What is so strange though about this move and other similar actions is that deregulation is a cornerstone of the Trump agenda. Tax reforms and the rollback of many financial rules at home prove this. Oddly when it comes to international trade, however, the administration is obsessed with scrutinizing every detail and likes to boss around company bosses.

Only by putting national interests' aside can the real winners or victims of a tariff framework be heard — businesses. In the run up to today's decision, companies have been complaining about this high-stakes poker game. Many are hoping that these latest customs duties are just a bargaining chip and not the start of a spiral into a tit-for-tat trade war that could arbitrarily affect any industry at any time. Headlines about supposedly saving US jobs are nice, they are no guarantee of anything. Businesses can not afford to lay down on the job with so many surprises ahead.

If there is one thing companies hate more than taxes it is uncertainty. And to be sure unpredictability is a buzz killer. Sudden changes in a world with a globally connected supply chain are a shock and force companies to look for expensive workarounds. Add this to higher capital costs, and balance sheets will look strained. Ultimately, ordinary customers around the world will be hurt as these greater expenditures are passed on to them.

Throw no stones

Even though tariffs are nothing new and are in place around the world, what makes this batch particularly irksome is the seeming randomness surrounding them. The EU perceives them as based on little economic understanding and even less on constructive discussions. Trump thinks they are merely fulfilling campaign promises by sending a simplistic "America First" message to Midwestern industrial workers.

But a new study by Germany's Center for International Economics at the Ifo Institute actually shows that there is indeed an imbalance in US-EU duties, finding that on average American import tariffs are indeed lower than those levied by the EU. Without reading detailed reports or studying charts, Trump really has a point. In fact, though monotonous the example he keeps emphasizing is textbook.

Americans pay 10 percent to send their cars to Europe, while Europeans only pay 2.5 percent for entry into the US. In a few other cases, the reverse is true. In spite of these undisputable facts and figures, both sides are caught up in the fuss and neither can see a clear way out that saves face, jobs and keeps goods moving.

Europeans want to put up even more trade barriers and take their case to the World Trade Organization (WTO); America becomes more stubborn by the day. In the end it doesn't really matter if these actions are legal or go against WTO rules — China can easily step in to fill the gap like it is doing in Iran.

What's more important are the aftertaste and the poisonous long-term effects of haphazard American diplomacy. To remain at the top of their game, both the European Union and all three Nafta countries need to bring realistic expectations, constructive ideas and nerves of steel to the negotiating table, since a world without trusted business partners or allies is a lonely place indeed.  
US Slaps Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on the EU

Officials from both sides of the Atlantic were unable to reach a deal to avert tariffs two days before the exemption expires. The EU has said it will announce retaliatory measures shortly.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters on Thursday that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would indeed go into effect at midnight after those countries were unable to make a deal with the US ahead of a Friday deadline.

"We look forward to continued negotiations, both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved," Ross said.

In response, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the news  "unacceptable...protectionism, pure and simple," and promised to announce "counterbalancing" measures within hours.

Retaliatory measures

Mexico was the first country hit by the tariffs to announce its response. The country's Economy Ministry said that it would put penalties on US products including steel sheets, lamps, pork leg and shoulder, sausages, apples, grapes and different types of cheese until the price comes to a total comparable to the losses that the US tariffs will cause in Mexico.

The European Union said later on Thursday that it would bring its case against the tariffs to the World Trade Organization on Friday, joining India and China in triggering the WTO's dispute settlement procedure over the American trade rules.

Talks prove futile

President Trump had imposed the tariffs in March, a policy that was thought to be largely aimed at China. Soon afterwards, the White House chose to exempt several countries temporarily and negotiate with each one to obtain concessions in return for a more permanent exemption.

The EU was under this exemption and had been negotiating with the Trump administration, but the exemption is set to expire on Friday.

Top European officials had gathered in Paris with US trade officials on Wednesday for a last-ditch effort to avoid the tariffs, but a solution appeared far from reach. Ross said that they had "made some progress," but not enough to warrant a new exemption.

Widespread backlash

The EU has vowed to retaliate, by suggesting it would impose tariffs on American products in return. Among the goods that the EU could target are Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans, bourbon whiskey, orange juice and peanut butter.

In a joint statement, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko said the tariffs would "cause serious turmoil in the global market and could lead to the demise of the multilateral trading system."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the move from Washington would trigger an "escalation spiral" that could seriously harm world trade.

"We consider this unilateral measure to be unlawful, [Trump's] stated national security concerns do not hold any water," she said.

The tariffs were even criticized by Trump's own party. US Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said "When it comes to unfairly traded steel and aluminum, Mexico, Canada and Europe are not the problem, China is."

"These tariffs are hitting the wrong target."

jcg,es/rc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Canada Hits Back at U.S. With Dollar-for-dollar Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum
Tariffs amounting to 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum announced by Commerce

Catharine Tunney
CBC News
May 31, 2018 7:28 AM ET

Canada is countering the United States' decision to slap punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by imposing tariffs of its own.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is hitting back with duties of up to $16.6 billion on steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S., including maple syrup, beer kegs and whiskies.

She and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement side by side hours after U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross confirmed the U.S. is following through on its threat to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on imported aluminum, citing national security interests.

The government is soliciting consultations on its plans until June 15. The new Canadian tariffs would kick in July 1.

Trudeau called the Trump administration's national security argument "inconceivable" and called the tariffs "an affront to the Canadians who died" alongside Americans in battle.

Before today's announcement of Canada's countermeasures, a senior government source with direct knowledge of the talks said the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. affairs met Thursday morning to discuss an appropriate response, describing its efforts as "finding a sweet spot."

The source said the challenge was coming up with a response that makes sense and allows Canada to be a "credible country."

About 90 per cent of Canada's steel exports head to the United States, according to the Canadian Steel Producers Association. Steel is produced in five provinces, but the industry is heavily concentrated in Ontario.

U.S. President Donald Trump had granted exemptions on the tariffs to his North American Free Trade Agreement allies and the European Union, but those were set to expire June 1.

Trump's new tariffs prompt trade war talk, but by themselves are unlikely to hurt the global economy
During a call with reporters Thursday morning, Ross said Canada's and Mexico's exemptions were linked to the progress of the NAFTA negotiations, which "are taking longer than we had hoped."

Mexico, EU to retaliate

Mexico responded swiftly with tariffs of its own on U.S. exports of pork bellies, grapes, apples and flat steel, the Associated Press reported.

The EU also announced it would launch a dispute settlement case at the WTO and impose "rebalancing measures."

"Today is a bad day for world trade. We did everything to avoid this outcome," said EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.

"The U.S. has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU. This is not the way we do business."

Ross tried to deflect suggestions the tariffs would damage ongoing NAFTA talks and the upcoming G7 meetings in Quebec.

"If any of these parties does retaliate, that does not mean that there cannot be continuing negotiations," Ross said.

"They're not mutually exclusive behaviours."

He did allow some leeway, saying the U.S. could be flexible.

"We continue to be quite willing, and indeed eager, to have further discussions," Ross said.

Security reasoning questioned

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole said Canada should be treated differently than the EU when it comes to security.

"Very disappointed that despite Canada being the most closely integrated security partner for the United States, Trudeau was unable to secure a deal to treat our industries and our workers fairly," he said.

Canada's procurement minister cast doubt on the U.S.'s national security justification.

"It is very difficult to fathom that there would be a security risk imposed by Canada on the United States," said Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough, She was in Ottawa attending Cansec, Canada's largest annual arms show.

She said the federal government has "contingency plans" in place to absorb the impact of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum on defence projects.

Multi-billion-dollar programs to buy new fighter jets and warships are all heavily dependent on the price of steel.

"We prepare for this kind of thing," said the Delta MP. "There is money set aside, whether it be for tariffs or for interest rate fluctuations, so we can proceed with our defence procurement should there be additional costs associated because of tariffs or other unexpected circumstances."

'Not the action of a friend'

On Wednesday, Trudeau called Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, all in regions with large steel and aluminum sectors, to talk about the upcoming decision.

The Prime Minister's Office said they "all agreed to continue to defend the Canadian steel and aluminum industry from unwarranted tariffs and to stand up for the best interests of all Canadian workers and businesses."

Wynne called Trump a "bully" and urged the federal government to push back.

"We need to hit Trump where it hurts — in his wallet," the premier — currently fighting to keep her job in Ontario's provincial election — said Thursday. ​"This short-sighted decision is an attack on Ontario's steel industry and its workers. It is not the action of a friend, an ally or economic partner."

She also called on her provincial political rivals to come together to speak with one voice.

Couillard, whose province is the country's largest producer of aluminum, called the tariffs "illogical."
"It's a bad decision for the Americans. They're increasing manufacturing and defence industry costs," he said in French.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced late Wednesday that the government would bolster its measures to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped into the North American market, but it appears to have done little to prevent the U.S.'s punitive duties

Canada's attempt to thwart the tariffs came in concert with its European allies, who were also trying to stop the U.S.

Both Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron made their cases separately to the U.S administration, while other European officials met with their U.S. counterparts in Paris on Thursday.
With files from the CBC's Katie Simpson, Murray Brewster and The Associated Press
Trump Just Poured Ice Water on the Economy in Service of His Trade War
Coils are stored for delivery at the production site of German steel technology group Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter on March 17, 2015. (Tobias Schwartz/AFP/Getty Images)

Macroeconomic Advisers, a research firm focused on the U.S. economy, reported Wednesday that the U.S. trade deficit in goods was “much narrower than expected,” implying “substantially more” U.S. exports in the second quarter. So it revised its projection for economic growth sharply upward, to a robust 3.6% increase in GDP.

Achieving and sustaining that kind of growth is a key goal for President Trump. So naturally, on Thursday the Trump administration took a dramatic step to disrupt U.S. exports and pour ice water on the economy.

That would be imposing 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% tariffs on aluminum imports from every major (and minor) metals-producing country around the world except Argentina, Australia and, in the case of steel, South Korea, effective Friday. The move turns a threat and negotiating ploy into an action, which will bring real consequences in the form of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports. And it won’t be on U.S. steel and aluminum — it will be on Harley Davidson motorcycles, California almonds, Levi’s and Jack Daniel’s.

On the plus side, if unemployment ticks back up, the Federal Reserve won’t feel as much pressure to raise interest rates.

This isn’t just America First — this is America Alone. Imposing tariffs against a specific country that’s been bending global trade rules can make sense, and there’s a process for doing that under the trade agreements the U.S. has signed (and, ahem, championed). But claiming that imports from around the world are damaging national security? That’s raw protectionism, and previous efforts along those lines simply haven’t worked. See, just for example, President Reagan’s steel and aluminum tariffs and President George W. Bush’s steel tariffs.

And even if the tariffs manage to shift some jobs and production back to the United States, as may be happening with solar panels, they still act as a tax on consumers and a drag on the economy. That’s why the real issue isn’t jobs created within the targeted industry, but net jobs created (or lost) by all sectors affected.

Once you start down the road of protecting a domestic industry for national security reasons, it’s hard to stop. And the message it sends to world leaders is that they should ignore the trading rules the U.S. worked so hard to spread — because we’re ignoring them. That includes NAFTA, by the way, which we are in the middle of renegotiating. Talk about bad faith.
U.S. Hits EU, Canada and Mexico With Steel, Aluminum Tariffs
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday said it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending a two-month exemption and potentially setting the stage for a trade war with some of America’s top allies.

U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters on a telephone briefing that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would go into effect at midnight (0400 GMT on Friday).

“We look forward to continued negotiations, both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved,” he said.

Ross offered little detail about what the EU, Canada and Mexico could do to have the tariffs lifted.

Reporting by Jason Lange, Susan Heavey and Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann
U.S. Hits E.U., Canada and Mexico With Steel, Aluminum Tariffs, Sparking Trade War
America's allies fired right back at the U.S. with retaliatory measures.

by Lucy Bayly
May.31.2018 12:06 PM ET

The Trump administration on Thursday slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, firing the first shot in a trade war that could see American consumers pay more for everything from canned soup to cars.

Almost immediately, Mexico responded by saying it would impose tariffs of its own, and the European Commission took legal action.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed to reporters in an early-morning phone call that the White House will add a 25 percent import tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum after trade talks crumbled ahead of a June 1 deadline that would have enabled exemptions.

Market reaction was also swift: The Dow Jones fell sharply after the move was announced, dropping by 250 points as investors took measure of the impact of the ongoing trade tensions.

The European Commission fired back at the White House's trade decision with a lawsuit, saying the E.U. “stands now ready to react to the U.S. trade restrictions on steel and aluminum in a swift, firm, proportionate and fully WTO-compatible manner. The E.U. will launch legal proceedings against the U.S. in the WTO on 1 June. The level of tariffs to be applied will reflect the damage caused by the new U.S. trade restrictions on E.U. products.”

Mexico’s Ministry of Economy released a statement saying “Mexico deeply regrets and rejects the decision of the United States to impose these tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico as of June 1, under the criterion of national security. Mexico will impose equivalent measures to various products in the face of U.S. protectionist measures.”

President Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his desire to implement more protectionist trade policies, announced in March that he planned to institute tariffs, saying, "People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries.”

Experts who support free trade warned at the time about the potential consequences.

"It will open a Pandora's box," said Dan Ikenson, director of the Cato Institute’s trade policy studies center.

Robert Scott, senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said tariffs that failed to distinguish between America's trade allies and countries like China, which the U.S. has accused of illegal trade practices, could make it more difficult resolve trade disputes.

Ross had been holding trade talks this week in Europe to address the tariff tit-for-tat. France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said Wednesday that although Europe did not want a trade war, "It's entirely up to U.S authorities whether they want to enter into a trade conflict with their biggest partner."

"This is dumb," Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb, said in statement. “Europe, Canada and Mexico are not China, and you don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents. We’ve been down this road before — blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression. 'Make America Great Again' shouldn’t mean 'Make America 1929 Again.'"

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung’s Works Off Press
The Workers’ Party of Korea Publishing House has brought out Volume 3 of enlarged edition of Kim Il Sung’s Complete Works, an encyclopedia of the Juche idea which encompasses the immortal works of President Kim Il Sung in a chronological order.

It contains 98 works including speeches, talks, reports and conclusions he made between June 1937 and August 1945.

In the works, the President made a clear-cut analysis of the then political situation at home and abroad and the new stage for the development of the Korean revolution, and advanced outstanding ideas and theories, Juche-oriented lines and strategic and tactical policies to lead the Korean people’s sacred cause of national liberation to a brilliant victory.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un Inspects New Railway
Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the DPRK State Affairs Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, inspected the completed Koam-Tapchon railway.

He was accompanied by Kim Yong Su and Jo Yong Won, senior officials of the WPK Central Committee.

A few years ago, the Supreme Leader unrolled a plan for building a large-scale fishing zone in the areas of Koam, Tapchon and Chonapho which have favourable conditions for developing the fishing industry and set forth a task to build the Koam-Tapchon railway in a modern fashion as a preceding process.

Builders, scientists and technicians wonderfully built a railway bridge across the rough sea of Sokjon Bay by overcoming unfavourable conditions and a multitude of difficulties with the do-or-die will and the spirit of self-reliance, thus performing a great feat of breaking new ground in the country's history of railway construction.

He was very satisfied to see the railway line stretching far across the rough sea, saying that it looks so wonderful, he seems to see a work of art and another problem of the Party’s concern has been settled.

Noting that the completion of the railway linking Koam with the Songjon peninsula opened up a broad avenue to rapidly stepping up the construction of the Tapchon fishing zone and satisfactorily transporting caught fish as planned by the Party, he highly praised the builders, scientists and technicians for having successfully carried out the uphill project with their own efforts.

The completion of the Koam-Tapchon railway helps remarkably raise the revolutionary spirit and working zeal of the Korean people who are dynamically speeding up the grand march for economic construction true to the decisions made at the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh WPK Central Committee, he said, adding that it once again convinced them of the powerful Juche-based strength of our state which is making leaps forward continuously on the basis of the solid groundwork of the self-supporting economy.

He gave thanks to the builders and officials in the name of the WPK Central Committee in high appreciation of the exploits of them who successfully completed the Koam-Tapchon railway through an indefatigable heroic struggle.

Moon Jae In Met Again
The historic fourth north-south summit meeting and talks took place at the Thongil House in the north side area of Panmunjom on May 26.

Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, came to the Thongil House at Panmunjom to meet and hold talks with President Moon Jae In of south Korea.

Panmunjom, which had drawn the focus of global attention as a symbol of peace heralding the new start of inter-Korean relations and opening up a new era of reconciliation and unity, witnessed another historic meeting between the top leaders of the north and the south in 29 days.

KPA honour guards lined up in front of the Thongil House, the venue of the summit, to receive President Moon Jae In.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un warmly welcomed and exchanged greetings with President Moon Jae In, who arrived at the Thongil House on the north side after crossing the demarcation line at Panmunjom.

The two leaders were so pleased to meet again at the historic place in a month that they warmly shook hands with each other.

Prior to the talks, President Moon Jae In made an entry in the visitors' book of the Thongil House to mark his visit to the north side area, which reads: "Peace and Prosperity of the Korean Peninsula, together with Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea! May 26, 2018 President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae In".

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In had a photo taken with their hands firmly held to commemorate the fourth north-south summit.

Kim Jong Un shook hands with each of the south Korean personages accompanying Mun Jae In, sharing the pleasure of meeting.

There were talks between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In.

Present there were Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, from the north side and So Hun, director of the National Intelligence Service, from the south side.

At the talks there was an in-depth exchange of views on matters which should be resolved to quickly implement the Panmunjom Declaration agreed upon at the third north-south summit, realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and achieve regional peace, stability and prosperity, those the north and the south are now faced with and for successfully holding the DPRK-US summit.

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In agreed that both sides should trust and care for each other and make joint efforts to ensure that the Panmunjom Declaration reflecting the unanimous desire of all nationals is implemented as early as possible.

They agreed to hold the north-south high-level talks on June 1 and further accelerate the programme for talks in various fields including those of military authorities and the Red Cross.

The two leaders were unanimous that they would meet frequently in the future to promote dialogue and pool wisdom and energy, expressing their stand to make concerted efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong Un thanked Moon Jae In for his great effort for the DPRK-US summit scheduled for June 12, and expressed his firm will to hold the DPRK-US summit.

Kim Jong Un suggested to positively work together to improve DPRK-US relations and build a mechanism for permanent and durable peace.

They reached a satisfactory consensus on the matters discussed at the talks.

They warmly embraced each other and exchanged good-byes, making an appointment to meet again.

The meeting, in which the top leaders of the north and the south freely and open-heartedly heard each other's views on the crucial pending issues and had a candid dialogue, marks another milestone that opens up a new chapter in the development of the north-south relationship.

The fourth north-south summit held at Panmunjom, which has been recorded in history as a symbol of national reconciliation and unity, peace and prosperity, will give fresh hope and vitality to all the Korean people.
Japan Should Face Up to Trend of Times
Japan is recklessly going against the trend of the times.

Kono, foreign minister of Japan, again talked rubbish that Japan would "put maximum pressure on the DPRK." He had once come under public criticism for his offending remarks about the DPRK's "preparations for a nuclear test" in March when exchanges were brisk between the north and the south of Korea for dialogue.

His voice just sounds like grumbling of a dwarf politician going mischievous, ignorant of where he is standing.

It seems that Japan stills lacks the power of reason and is unaware of what's going on.

International efforts for promoting mutual respect and trust and achieving co-prosperity are getting brisk among countries worldwide.

Notably, there are bold moves to dispel misunderstanding and hostility in the Korean peninsula and the region thanks to the active efforts of the DPRK.

It is annoying that some forces are hindering the positive development, but the DPRK has invariably taken bold measures. The measures are hailed by the international community as they help the positive development of the situation.

What matters against this backdrop is the ill purpose sought by Japan offending the world public in disregard of this situation, being displeased with it.

Japan seeks to bring the situation back to the state of confrontation to divert public attention at home away from its bankrupt policy toward people's living and high-profile graft and to invent a pretext for turning Japan into a militarist country and carrying out overseas expansion.

Japan likes to wreck peace and break stability as it deems it a good chance for carrying out its ultra-right home and foreign policies. So it is quite natural that its policy invites the public denunciation.

Reactionaries of Japan are rejected and alienated worldwide, far from "demonstrating their status," due to the reckless hard-line policy toward the DPRK.

For example, their offer to include a paragraph calling for pressurizing the DPRK in the final document at a recent international meeting held in Tokyo was rejected.

Even in a Mideast country they think share a view with, their offer to put pressure on the DPRK got a frosty reply. In a nutshell, what Japan got for its politics was something unprecedented in the history of its diplomacy and something utterly humiliating in the light of etiquette.

Japan's short-sighted attitude toward the developing situation and the times is just the main reason for its disgrace and humiliation.

Japan should behave with reason, facing up to the trend of the times.

The trend of "passing Japan" will get stronger if the reactionaries of Japan persist in tongue-lashing against the DPRK.
Pak Pong Ju Inspects Factories in Pyongyang
Premier Pak Pong Ju, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and vice-chairman of the DPRK State Affairs Commission, inspected the Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory and the Pyongyang Dental Hygiene Products Factory.

He went round various buildings under construction.

At the consultative meetings held on the spot he underlined the need to ensure the best quality in construction and meticulously organize management activities and the need for the relevant units to fully supply materials necessary for the construction.

He also acquainted himself with the technical conditions of the Chongnyu Bridge and others in Pyongyang.
Statement of Nuclear Weapons Institute of DPRK
The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK issued the following statement on May 24:

In accordance with the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the Nuclear Weapons Institute held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK on May 24 Juche 107(2018), in order to ensure the transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear tests.

The nuclear test ground was dismantled in such a way as to make all tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion and completely close entries, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site.

It has been confirmed that there were neither leakage of radioactive materials nor any adverse impact on the surrounding ecological environment.

Complete closure of the area surrounding the nuclear test ground will come on the heels of successive removal of all ground observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units and withdrawal of staff concerned.

It has been confirmed by local and international journalists that two tunnels at the nuclear test ground were ready for use for carrying out very powerful underground nuclear tests at any time.

The dismantling of the nuclear test ground conducted with high-level transparency has clearly proved once again the proactive and peace-loving efforts of the DPRK government being made for ensuring peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and beyond.

The discontinuation of nuclear test is an important process for global nuclear disarmament, and the DPRK will join hands with the peace-loving peoples of the world to build a nuke-free peaceful world, a new independent world where the dreams and ideals of mankind are realized.
Northern Nuclear Test Ground Dismantled
The northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK has completely been dismantled according to the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

After the publication of the decision on dismantling the nuclear test ground at the April plenary meeting of the Party Central Committee, the DPRK Nuclear Weapons Institute and relevant institutions immediately stopped all preparations and projects related to nuclear tests and have conducted phased dismantlement.

The tunnels and all kinds of equipment, information communications and power systems, and construction and operation equipment that had been installed at the observation and control centres and research institute of the test ground were dismantled and removed.

An event took place on May 24 to dismantle the nuclear test ground.

The dismantlement was covered by journalists from China, Russia, the US, Britain and south Korea on the spot.

After being briefed on the method and order of dismantlement of the test ground, members of the international press corps looked round the tunnels, in which nuclear tests had been carried out, as well as the ones which were ready for immediately conducting safe and powerful nuclear tests, and the observation centres.

The work of collapsing all the tunnels in the way of explosion, blocking their entrances and exploding all ground structures including the observation centres was carried out transparently in order.

After the explosion, a statement of the DPRK Nuclear Weapons Institute was issued on the spot.

The statement said that there was a ceremony of completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground on May 24 2018 to transparently guarantee the discontinuation of nuclear tests, and it was confirmed that there were neither leakage of radiation nor any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment.

“The dismantling of the nuclear test ground in high transparency has clearly proved once again the proactive and peace-loving efforts of the DPRK government working for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and beyond.

“The discontinuation of nuclear test is an important process for global nuclear disarmament, and the DPRK will closely work together with the world’s peace-loving people to build a new independent world, nuclear-free and peaceful, where the dreams and ideals of humankind are realized,” the statement noted.
Over 100 Refugees Escape from Libya Trafficking Camp
Sat May 26, 2018 12:49PM

Refugees gather at a safe house in the town of Bani Walid, Libya, on March 25, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

More than 100 East African refugees have escaped from a camp in the Libyan town of Bani Walid where they were being held hostage and tortured, international agencies and local sources say.

The refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia fled on Wednesday night to a mosque in the town where they were taken in by local associations and residents.

The hospital in Bani Walid said around 20 of them were being treated for injuries from torture.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), in a statement quoting witnesses, said 15 refugees were killed and 25 injured during the escape, but there was no immediate confirmation from local sources.

Some of those who escaped, mostly adolescents, told MSF rescue workers that they had been held by people traffickers for up to three years.

The medical charity said seven of those hospitalized had serious gunshot wounds.

"This is another example of the ongoing horrors suffered by many migrants and refugees while transiting through Libya." MSF said, adding that "kidnapping for ransom remains a thriving business."

Bani Walid, 170 kilometers southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli, is a transit point for refugees aiming to reach Europe by boat from the coast further north.

People traffickers and kidnappers run around 20 detention centers in the town, telephoning the refugees' families to deliver ransom demands.

Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a key launchpad for refugees making desperate bids to reach Europe.

The conflict-stricken country is regularly singled out for the exploitation and ill-treatment of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa.

(Source: AFP)
UN Gravely Concerned Over Saudi Arabia's Military Offensive on Hudaydah
Tue May 29, 2018 11:04PM

Workers inspect damages at the site of an air strike on the maintenance hub at the Hudaydah port, on May 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations has voiced grave concern over the Saudi-backed militant attack on Yemeni city of Hudaydah.

"We’re extremely concerned about the situation around Hudaydah. Our colleagues in the area have started to take precautionary measures in terms of ramping up assistance and redefining contingency plans in case of this further escalation," said UN Secretary-General spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday.

“Increased fighting would unleash even more internally displaced people,”he added.

Since Sunday, forces loyal to Yemen's former government and supported by Saudi Arabia have been closing in on Hudaydah which is a key entry point for the country’s humanitarian aid.

Riyadh claims that Yemen’s Ansarullah movement uses the port for weapons delivery.

On Sunday, the Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are puppets of Washington and Tel Aviv.

Abdul Malik Badreddin al-Houthi made the remarks during a televised address aired by al-Masirah TV channel on Sunday, where he accused the US and Israel of pushing Saudi Arabia towards its deadly war on Yemen.

"The decision of invading the Yemeni western coast has been taken and adopted by the United States of America," he added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 in support of the country’s former Riyadh-friendly government. The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured until then.

In one of the deadliest air raids, Saudi warplanes last month targeted a wedding ceremony in Hajjah several times, killing almost 50 people and wounding 55 others. Saudi jets also carried out raids on the ambulances transporting the casualties to local hospitals.
Iran Shows Willingness to End War in Yemen
30 MAY 2018, 10:52AM

A worker walks past a tug damaged by an air strike on the maintenance hub at the Hodeida port, Yemen. Picture: REUTERS

IRAN and European powers have made good progress in talks to end the conflict in Yemen as Tehran has shown itself willing to push for a ceasefire and ease the humanitarian crisis there, according to officials on both sides.

The talks were launched in February as part of efforts to avert President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of a 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Created on a separate track to the nuclear negotiations, they are meant to address US concerns over Iran’s regional role and show Washington that Europe could prise compromises from Tehran.

The focus has mainly been on the conflict in Yemen, where arch foes Shia Iran and Sunni Muslim kingdom Saudi Arabia are fighting for influence.

Iran denies Saudi accusations of giving financial and military support to Yemen’s Houthis in a civil war and blames the deepening crisis on Riyadh.

“Because of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, we have agreed to work with Britain, France and Germany to end the conflict in Yemen,” a senior Iranian official said.

“The aim is to secure a ceasefire to help those innocent civilians. We will use our influence to bring our allies to the negotiation table.”

Three European diplomats said the talks had progressed significantly and were going in the right direction.

A Saudi-led coalition backed by the West has carried out air strikes against the armed Houthi movement in a war since 2015 to restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

More than 10000 people have been killed and 3 million have been displaced internally and unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the UN says.

Iran’s regional rivals, Israel and Saudi Arabia, welcomed Trump’s decision to drop the deal on May 8, saying the pact failed to curb Iran’s “malign behaviour in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world”.

In November, Iran for the first time acknowledged being involved in the Yemen conflict when Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of its elite Revolutionary Guards, said Iran provided advisory assistances to its allies in Yemen.

To shield Iran from new US sanctions, the European powers have been pressing Tehran to be less aggressive in the region, including in the civil war in Yemen.

“The Iranians have given indications that they are now willing to offer their services to liaise with the Houthis to move forward,” said a European official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The Iranians are now at least recognising there is a channel. They obviously aren’t saying they control the Houthis and they never will, but they recognise they have a certain influence on them and ready to use those channels. That’s new.”

Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said talks on the Yemen conflict were being held parallel to the nuclear talks with the European signatories of the accord, under which Iran accepted to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

“The nuclear deal is not linked to the regional issues Iran will not hold talks on its influence in the region, except for Yemen because of the humanitarian crisis there,” Abbas Araqchi told state TV on Sunday.

A second European official said the discussions with Iranians on Yemen were going “very well”.

“They (Iranians) are telling us they are ready to work on the ceasefire, but they say the Saudis aren’t ready. So it’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario.

“We need this now to get into something concrete,” said the second official.

Neither Saudi, Yemeni or Houthi officials responded to requests for comment.

Washington, Paris and London all back Riyadh in its intervention in Yemen and all supply weapons and intelligence to Saudi Arabia.

“This is a humanitarian effort The issue has almost been solved. We are working on a framework,” said another Iranian official.

Araqchi said Iran and European powers will meet in mid-June in Brussels to further discuss the Yemen conflict.

France, which has stressed the importance of supplementing the nuclear deal with substantive talks on other issues, is due to co-host an international conference on Yemen with Saudi Arabia in Paris next month on aid needs for the country and possibly contribute to reviving UN-backed peace talks.

However, it is unclear how talks between Iran and the European parties of the deal would fit into the UN Yemen mediator Martin Griffiths’sefforts.

Griffiths said in April he wanted to present a plan for negotiations within two months to end the conflict, but warned that any new military offensives could “take peace off the table”.
Yemen Western-backed PM Claims Victory Over Houthis in Al-Hudaydah
With help of Saudi-led coalition, Yemen army has retaken 85 percent of all territory lost to Houthis, prime minister claims

Army forces are on the cusp of victory against Houthi rebels in Yemen’s western Al-Hudaydah province, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr said Wednesday.

Fighting, he said, was still underway in the province, where a Saudi-led coalition is supporting pro-government forces on the ground, Yemen’s government-run SABA news agency quoted bin Daghr as saying.

“Our victory in Al-Hudaydah will be followed by the liberation of the Taiz, Ibb, Al-Mahwit and Saada provinces,” the prime minister said.

The “liberation” of Al-Hudaydah’s strategic seaport, he added, “will allow us to secure navigation and maintain security in international waters”.

Bin Daghr went on to assert that the Yemeni army, with the help of “popular resistance” forces and the Saudi-led coalition, had so far managed to retake 85 percent of the territory captured earlier by the Houthis.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence and chaos since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies -- who accuse the Houthis of serving as an Iranian proxy force -- launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The ongoing violence has devastated the country’s infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

Reporting by Mohamed al-Samei:Writing by Mahmoud Barakat
Sudan President Underscores Commitment to Yemen Campaign
CAIRO — May 24, 2018, 9:21 AM ET

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir speaks during the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 18, 2018.

Sudan's official news agency says President Omar al-Bashir has underscored Sudan's commitment to a Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen, three weeks after Khartoum said it's reconsidering its participation in the war.

SUNA quoted al-Bashir as saying during a Wednesday meeting with the Saudi assistant defense minister that economic difficulties will not stop Sudan from its "role in restoring legitimacy in Yemen."

Sudan's Defense Minister Ali Mohammed Salem told parliament earlier this month that the benefits and drawbacks of Sudan's participation were under evaluation amid calls for the troops' withdrawal following reports of mounting casualties among Sudanese troops.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, known as Houthis, since 2015 in a stalemated war that has killed more than 10,000 people.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mozambique 'Jihadists Behead' Villagers
29 May 2018
BBC World Service

Security has been increased in Cabo Delgado province since attacks blamed on Islamist militants began in October

At least 10 people have been beheaded in northern Mozambique by suspected Islamist militants, officials say.

Children are reported to be among those targeted in the attack on Monjane village in Cabo Delgado province, a hub for mining and petroleum exploration.

An Islamist militant group has carried out sporadic attacks in the region in the last year.

It is believed to be making millions of dollars from selling timber and rubies.

Known locally as al-Shabab, the group was formed in 2015 as a religious organisation and has no known links to the Somali jihadist group of the same name.

One of the victims of the weekend attack was the leader of Monjane village, a local resident told the AFP news agency.

"They targeted the chief as he had been providing information to the police about the location of al-Shabab in forests," he is quoted as saying.

Recent academic research, included in this week's Mozambique News Reports and Clippings newsletter, found that early members of the group, sometimes also called al-Sunna, were followers of a radical Kenyan preacher who was killed in 2012.

His followers moved south and settled in Kibiti in southern Tanzania, near the border with Mozambique.

Police have arrested more than 200 people in connection with the Islamist militant attacks, which began last October.

Last week, the authorities reopened six mosques closed in the wake of the attacks after they broke links with armed groups.

Alvaro Junior, director of justice in in Cabo Delgado, said seven other mosques believed to have been owned by fundamentalist groups, had been destroyed by the authorities.

Earlier this month, Mozambique's parliament approved a bill that would punish acts of terrorism with jail terms of up to 24 years.
Mozambique has not been a focal point of Islamist militant activity in the past and police have been reluctant to ascribe the attacks to Islamists.


MAPUTO - At least 10 people were beheaded in an attack in northern Mozambique over the weekend in an area where previous Islamist attacks have been reported, state Radio Mocambique said on Tuesday.

Police in the capital Maputo could not immediately give details of the attack in a village near the town of Palma, close to Mozambique’s border with Tanzania and near one of the world’s biggest untapped offshore gas fields.

“Unknown persons killed by decapitation at least 10 people in recent days in the administrative post of Olumbi, Palma district, in the north of Cabo Delgado province,” Radio Mocambique said in a brief report.

The radio station did not provide any further details on the attack. Portuguese news agency Lusa, quoting national broadcaster TVM, said two children were among those beheaded but this could not be independently verified.

Palma district administrator David Machimbuko told the station that authorities had moved security teams to areas where further attacks were feared. Police spokesman Inacio Dina said officers were gathering information from a team dispatched to the north.

Local media have reported a series of attacks carried out by Islamists since October last year, when police stations were attacked in the north, a predominantly Muslim region.

Mozambique has not been a focal point of Islamist militant activity in the past and police have been reluctant to ascribe the attacks to Islamists.

Muslims make up about 18% of Mozambique’s population. Roman Catholics form the largest single religious grouping, with about 30% of its 30 million people.

The gas project is in the Rovuma basin off the northern coast of Mozambique, an area where oil firms are exploring. Experts say the reserves are enough to supply energy to Britain, France, Germany and Italy for over 20 years.
Namibia First Lady Rejects School Deal Link
by Shinovene Immanuel

FIRST Lady Monica Geingos says the company that wants to build a N$200 million private school in Windhoek misinformed the education ministry in claiming that she facilitated talks between the firm and the President to support the project.

Geingos made these remarks in two letters sent to The Namibian through her lawyer Sisa Namandje on Saturday.

Even though Geingos admitted that she advised the company to write their concerns to the President, she rejected claims by the company that she initiated talks.

The Namibian reported on Friday that the education ministry turned down a proposal by a private company – which is supported by President Hage Geingob – to surrender a plot worth over N$20 million in exchange for a free school in a Windhoek low-income area.

This transaction involves a South African company called Curro Holdings, which owns the Windhoek Gymnasium Private School.

The land (Erf 350) that measures around seven hectares (equal to seven average football fields) is in Rietfontein Street, Kleine Kuppe.

Windhoek Gymnasium Private School managing director Colette Rieckert wrote two letters to education permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp last month regarding their plans to get land which is reserved for the education ministry.

Rieckert explained in an 11 April 2018 letter that their plan to build a school was delayed by the City of Windhoek.

Rieckert said Geingob helped them when the City of Windhoek delayed in processing their application.

“We have had many frustrations in the application process of land for our junior schools,” Rieckert wrote to Steenkamp. She added that in December 2017, First Lady Geingos requested to see her about their land applications.

“After my discussion with Geingos, she discussed it with her husband, who immediately took action and sent a letter of support for our school, plus the request that the City of Windhoek starts actively to help me in my search for land,” Rieckert said.

She added: “After issuing this letter, we did feel some action being taken (by the municipality)”.

“Our President and his wife appreciate the quality education that we provide in Namibia, and wish for us to build more schools in our country,” she said.

Namandje, representing Geingos, wrote to Rieckert on Saturday, saying her letter to Steenkamp was misleading.

“Our client finds the content of your letter unfortunate, and a distortion of what occurred,” Namandje told Rieckert.

He said Rieckert contacted Geingos on 27 July 2017, explaining their frustration about their plan to build a school.

“You informed our client that you desperately needed to speak to her “for advice” in respect of your frustration and unhappiness [in] what you considered as the unfair handling of your school's land application by the Windhoek municipality,” Namandje said.

The lawyer said Geingos advised Rieckert that if she was aggrieved, she can write a letter to the President.

“Our client's involvement in the matter was therefore limited to you approaching our client, seeking advice on how to handle your frustration in respect of your land application, and her advising you how you could address your complaint,” Namandje said.

The attorney said Geingos did not discuss the matter with Geingob, and did not push for the support of the school from the President as Rieckert appeared to have implied in her letter.

“Your letter further appears to suggest that our client initiated contact between yourself and her. That is wrong, as our client did not request to see you,” Namandje said, adding that text messages exchanged on this matter between Geingos and Rieckert are still available.

“We, therefore, kindly demand that you correct the above factual misrepresentation,” he asked Rieckert.

Namandje said the President and the First Lady regularly receive complaints from the public over poor service delivery from public offices.

“When they alert the concerned public functionaries of complaints received by them, it would be unfair to interpret their action as some sort of inappropriate bid to influence the decision-making,” the lawyer stated.

Namandje also complained that Geingos was not given an opportunity to comment on the article.

The Namibian emailed questions and all the quotes attributed to Rieckert to State House on Thursday, but presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari referred the queries to the education ministry.

Rieckert issued a short statement on Friday, saying they did not agree with the article, and that they would not comment on the matter.

Curro Holdings want to build a N$200 million primary school to accommodate about 1 000 pupils and be a feeder to the nearby Windhoek Gymnasium, which currently offers both primary and secondary education.

The land where they want to build was reserved for the education ministry in 2012, although it is yet to be paid for. Curro Holdings is now asking the education minister to inform the City of Windhoek that the ministry does not want the land any more. Once that is done, Curro would then buy the land from the municipality.

In exchange, Curro offered to build 24 classrooms and other facilities at Monte Christo School in the Havana informal settlement for N$14,6 million. The school uses containers and tents as classes.

The decision by the education ministry, led by Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, to block the proposal by the private company effectively goes against the wishes of the project supported by Geingob, adding to the suspicion that the two political leaders are not on good talking terms as before.

People briefed about this issue said a relative of a senior official in the Presidency is part of the company subcontracted to build the proposed Windhoek Gymnasium Primary School.

However, other people said officials in the education ministry are using that link as a way to dismiss a legitimate proposal to build a school on land that the ministry is not using.
Staff Reporter
Namibia Economist
May 28, 2018

A Turkish business delegation will be in Namibia this week from 28 May to 1 June to explore various business opportunities, according to the country’s official investment promotion and facilitation agency, Namibia Investment Centre (NIC).

Chief Investment Promotion Officer, Lwaba Jario said that the visit emanates from the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the 2016 Invest in Namibia Conference between the NIC and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) on the establishment of the Turkey-Namibia Business Council.

“While in Namibia, the delegation will explore business opportunities in the areas of tourism, construction, housing, renewable energy, mining, meat and meat products, food products, cold storage, education, health and health tourism, transportation vehicles and infrastructure,” she said.

According to Jario, the council will meet on Tuesday in Windhoek and introduce the members who are on board.

The purpose of the Turkey-Namibia Business Council will be to promote trade and cross-border investment between the two countries, contribute to the industrial and technological collaboration between Namibian and Turkish companies and institutions, and facilitate the participation in trade fairs and exhibition, she added.

Meanwhile, as part of the visit, Namibia’s Trade Ministry in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce will host a business-matchmaking session aimed at providing local entrepreneurs with a platform to engage their counterparts on possible areas of collaboration.
Namibians Deem Land, Housing Delivery Provisions Insufficient
by Charmaine Ngatjiheue

ABOUT 52% of Namibians believe that the strategies that government has in place are not effective at all in terms of delivering serviced land and proper housing for locals.

This was stated by Afrobarometer, administered by the Institute of Public Policy Research. It also stated that 27% of Namibians feel government strategies to deliver land and proper housing are not very effective, while only 40% reckon that government strategies are effective.

Meanwhile, 57% of Namibians believe that government is performing very well in terms of providing water and sanitation services, despite a number of rural residents lacking access to infrastructure for these services.

When it comes to electricity, 43% of Namibians said they have electricity most of the time. However, the survey revealed that only 30% of rural respondents live in areas with a piped water system, 9% are within reach of a sewerage system, 14% live within walking distance of a health clinic, and 37% live in areas served with an electric grid.

Speaking at the launch of the Afrobarometer survey on Tuesday as a panellist, deputy minister of urban and rural development Derek Klazen stressed the need for land and housing, saying government kicked off with a land servicing programme at Walvis Bay, Oshakati, and in Windhoek.

“The affordability of housing in Namibia is becoming an issue because houses constructed are too expensive. As government, we are looking at constructing cheaper houses, or making the houses available at cheaper prices for Namibians. Our idea is to construct houses that cost below N$500 000,” he said.

Klazen noted that land can be free, but the services put on that land are very expensive, and not everybody can afford that.

“The minute we provide people with the land, they would expect us to provide them with the services.” He added that social housing is a solution, and would be a way for government to move towards providing affordable housing.

Moreover, Klazen rubbished the notion that government has done little with regards to land reform in the country, stressing that severe strain is placed on local authorities due to rural-urban and urban to urban migration that is still prevalent.

“People are seeking better social and economic opportunities, education, employment and so forth. Local authorities are thus technically unable to provide the required serviced land, sanitation, housing and other essential services,” he stressed.

Klazen further stated that the inability of needy low-income earners to benefit from existing land and housing provision programmes is due to the constrained economic growth and limited job opportunities.

“Financial support is lacking for this group because commercial banks see them as a high risk, and thus do not provide them with finances. The high cost of land, planning, servicing and housing development are often beyond the affordability of the needy. In order for us to effectively address proper housing as well as access to serviced land, we need interventions from local authorities, the communities and the private sector,” he added.

Affirmative Repositioning activist Job Amupanda was also a panellist, and propagated the need for a rent control body, saying laws should be put in place to protect people who are renting. He said it is disingenious for government to say they cannot implement rent control because it is an old colonial law that is obsolete.

“When they use that old colonial law, they use the Squatters Proclamation Act to evict people, forgetting that that same law is even older than the rent law. We are taking government to court to fight that rent control is introduced. We are confident we will win,” he stated.