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WTO Is in Crisis and Europe Must Step Up, Says Finnish Minister

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 06:58

(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The World Trade Organization is in crisis and needs reform to play its global role effectively, according to the trade minister of Finland, which currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.As an end to the U.S.-China trade war proves elusive and new rounds of tariffs are levied between the U.S. and the EU, Finland says the EU will continue to play by the global rule book policed by the WTO.“The European Union, Finland included, is very committed to continue the positive trade agenda with the U.S., but obviously we are ready to defend our interests when necessary,” Trade Minister Ville Skinnari said in an interview on Bloomberg TV in Helsinki on Thursday.“It’s for all of us to see the importance at the global level of WTO,” he said. “Honestly, the WTO is in crisis, it needs to be reformed. We need the rules.”International commerce has been under threat since U.S. President Donald Trump launched an effort to overhaul America’s trade relationships around the world. The escalating fight between the U.S. and China threatens to weigh down the global economy, with trade tensions between the EU and the U.S. adding to the list of risks.A way to get out of the intensifying tit-for-tat cycle of new levies is to talk, Skinnari said.“The key word is dialogue, keep up the good dialogue,” he said. I believe, and I’m an optimist -- we need to be -- Europe has to take leadership.”As trade tensions hammer the euro zone, hurting its export-reliant members, Finland’s Economy Minister Katri Kulmuni underscored the importance of investments.It “requires we have investments related to education, investments to infrastructure, and investments to boost the economy,” Kulmuni said in a Bloomberg TV interview. But she said such investments can’t be allowed to clash with the EU’s fiscal rules.“Considering the euro zone, the basics are the rules and they have to be followed. We’re going to stick to those,” she said. “We hope for responsible policy and economic decision-making from all the countries.”To contact the reporters on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at kpohjanpalo@bloomberg.net;Francine Lacqua in London at flacqua@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Hanfi Brögger at tbrogger@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Married priests question raises fears of Church split

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 06:42

An idea to fill empty pulpits in remote locations by allowing married men to become priests is bitterly dividing a Vatican assembly, with critics warning the emotive issue could fracture the Catholic Church. The hot-button topic of whether an exception can be made to the centuries-old custom of celibacy in places where there is a shortage of priests has dominated the start of the three-week "synod" on the Pan-Amazonian region. Austro-Brazilian bishop Erwin Krautler said Wednesday he estimated some two-thirds of the bishops in the region support the idea of "viri probati" (married "men of proven virtue") as candidates for priesthood.

Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

Macworld - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 06:00
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

Where's the "Low Data Mode" for streaming TV devices?

Macworld - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 06:00
Features like Apple's Low Data Mode and Google's Data Saver should also apply to streaming TV devices, where data caps are an unfortunate reality.

iPhone touch gestures and commands—no Home button, no problem!

Macworld - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 06:00

During the first decade of the iPhone’s existence, the Home button was a reliable constant. Then, with the iPhone X, it suddenly disappeared, and since then, all the new iPhones (the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro) have featured edge-to-edge displays with no Home button. 

What’s more, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro don’t have 3D Touch. So Apple has adapted iOS to make it easier to use without a Home button or pressure-sensitive touches. Here’s a quick guide to all the new gestures and button combinations you’ll need to use a modern iPhone with iOS 13.

Return Home: Let’s start with the most basic of Home button features: returning to the home screen. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Easy!

To read this article in full, please click here

Trump defends pulling troops out of Syria: ‘The Kurds didn’t help us in the Second World War’

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 04:41

Donald Trump has defended allowing Turkey to invade northern Syria by saying the Kurdish people “didn’t help us in the Second World War.”The president’s decision to withdraw US troops from the area was met with horror in Washington, with Republicans and Democrats criticising the step.

U.S. B-2 Bomber Recently Tested a New Nuclear Bomb

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 04:32

Thank god it was not live, but the point is clear: the nuclear age is not over.

The U.S. system is now officially rigged to help the super-rich, new data show

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 04:30

Wealth disparity just hit a couple of new milestones in America. The Census Bureau reported in late September that U.S. income inequality, as measured by the Gini Index, hit its highest level in more than 50 years. A new book by two economists at the University of California, Berkeley, offers an explanation and another jarring data point: For the first time in U.S. history, America's 400 richest families paid a lower effective tax rate last year than any other income group, including the working class.Economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman detail in The Triumph of Injustice that -- based on federal, state, local, corporate, and "indirect taxes" like motor vehicle licenses -- the top 400 billionaires in the U.S. paid an effective tax rate of 23 percent in 2018, down from 47 percent in 1980 and 56 percent in 1960, Christopher Ingraham reports in The Washington Post. The bottom 50 percent, meanwhile, paid an effective tax rate of 24.2 percent, as it has more or less since 1960.> This chart really drives home how the ultra-rich have successfully lobbied to rewrite the tax code to their benefit. From @gabriel_zucman's forthcoming book. https://t.co/MaYVXtobJ8 pic.twitter.com/49v8QNHuvW> > -- Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) October 9, 2019"The relatively small tax burden of the super-rich is the product of decades of choices made by American lawmakers, some deliberate, others the result of indecisiveness or inertia," Ingraham paraphrases. "But the tipping point came in 2017, with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," President Trump's biggest legislative achievement.> A recent @ITEPtweets report documented the impact of our federal tax cutting spree since 2000: Revenue has been reduced by more than $5.1 trillion with nearly 2/3 of that flowing to the richest fifth of US households https://t.co/M1zZ3nKOQz pic.twitter.com/9CUW88t7uG> > -- Meg Wiehe (@megwiehe) October 8, 2019"Saez and Zucman portray the history of American taxes as a struggle between people who want to tax the rich and those who want to protect the fortunes of the rich," dating back to the 17th century, David Leonhardt writes at The New York Times. The tax-cutters have carried the day since the 1950s, and we've discovered again that "the American economy just doesn't function very well when tax rates on the rich are low and inequality is sky high," he argued. "Which means that raising high-end taxes isn't about punishing the rich (who, by the way, will still be rich). It's about creating an economy that works better for the vast majority of Americans."

US takes custody of British Isis pair

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 03:59

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are accused of involvement in beheadingsEl Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey had been at the centre of a legal battle in London. Photograph: HANDOUT/AFP/Getty ImagesTwo British Isis members accused of involvement in the beheading of western hostages held in north east Syria have been taken into US custody as a Turkish offensive on the Kurdish region begins.Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were members of a British group of Isis militants known as “the Beatles” and are understood to be amongst a number of fighters in the process of being transferred to the Americans.US officials briefed media on the custody operation overnight, with the action first reported by the Washington Post. Prisoners previously held by the Syrian Kurds were first expected to be taken to neighbouring Iraq.Donald Trump said: “We have taken a certain number of Isis fighters that are particularly bad, and we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them with respect to getting out.”The US president subsequently tweeted: “In case the Kurds or Turkey lose control, the United States has already taken the 2 ISIS militants tied to beheadings in Syria, known as the Beetles, out of that country and into a secure location controlled by the U.S. They are the worst of the worst!”Trump said he had spoken to Boris Johnson on the subject of Isis prisoners, but did not say whether he was referring to Kotey and Elsheikh. It is not clear how many prisoners are involved in the transfer.The duo were part of a group of four who are accused of being involved in the apparently filmed beheadings of British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.Group leader Mohammed Emwazi was killed in a US drone strike in 2015, while another Aine Davis was caught in Turkey and jailed for seven and half years in 2017, for being member of a terror organisation.Estimates vary about the number of foreign Isis fighters held by the Kurdish military, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the SDF, but their numbers are at least 1,000 and potentially double that. There are also an estimated 10,000 or so Isis fighters in detention from Syria and Iraq.The number of Britons held in Isis jails is estimated by security source to be around 30, and the UK has largely pursued a policy of ignoring them, arguing that they travelled to Syria at their own risk, a country where there has been no consular support since the start of the civil war in 2011.One of those held is Jack Letts, who was raised in Oxfordshire and fled to join Isis before he was picked up in 2017. His British citizenship was stripped by the UK government over the summer, leaving him with his Canadian nationality inherited from his father. His situation is unclear.There had been repeated warnings that the Turkish invasion meant that the Isis fighters could end up being released by one of the parties to the looming conflict, but Trump’s words suggest that the US intended to mitigate some of that risk.British officials said they could not confirm what was happening, although there indications that the UK had been briefed in advance on the plans. A UK Home Office spokesperson said on Thursday: “It would be inappropriate to comment whilst legal proceedings are ongoing.”Earlier this month, a cross-party group of MPs and peers who visited the region last month warned that Trump’s green light to a Turkish invasion “risks global security” because it could allow Isis members to escape and regroup. The two British Isis fighters had been at the centre of a legal battle in London, led by Elsheikh’s mother who went to the Supreme Court in London to stop his extradition to the US, and to prevent the British government sharing evidence with the US, if the death penalty is not ruled out. Judgment in that case is awaited.Meanwhile, women and children in the largest Islamic State detention centre in Kurdish-controlled Syria are expecting to be freed in the wake of a Turkish assault on the area, according to people inside the camp.Al-Hawl, home to about 60,000 women and children with links to Isis and 10,000 displaced civilians, has been tense since Donald Trump announced US troops would leave the area at the weekend, paving the way for the Turkish attack on Wednesday.Radicalised women, including some who have been accused of killing other prisoners they say are not adhering to Isis’s strict ideology, believe Isis sleeper cells in the area will attack the Kurdish guards and free those inside in the next two days, a woman who has been held alongside them said via WhatsApp message.“They know the Turkish campaign has begun,” the woman said. “After living in this horrible place for months they are ready to take this opportunity to break out.”About 90,000 men, women and children from Isis’ former “caliphate” are currently in the custody of the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US president had shifted his position repeatedly on the detainees, since Sunday night when he effectively gave the Turks the green light to invade the Kurdish controlled part of Syria, suggesting initially that Turkey might have to take responsibility for them.But it is unclear what would happen to the other Isis detainees not covered by the US operation. Last night, Trump railed against European countries for not taking custody of their own nationals who had been caught in Isis ranks – and suggested they could escape.“Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe. That’s where they want to go. They want to go back to their homes, but Europe didn’t want them from us,” the president said.British and European officials say they fear that trials in home countries could prove difficult because the offences took place overseas, in Syria and Iraq, and the witnesses and evidence are in those countries.

Almost 2 million Californians could be without power through Thursday in shutdown to reduce wildfire risk

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 02:53

Californians were in the dark during a multiday power outage aimed at curbing wildfire risks amid high winds.

Ready for War: Iran Is Bristling with Missiles

Top Stories - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 00:55

A real threat.

NATO Has a Secret Plan to Destroy Russia's Kaliningrad Base

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 23:30

Let's hope it never comes to that.

Politician charged in human trafficking adoption scheme

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 20:26

An Arizona elected official ran a human smuggling scheme that promised pregnant women thousands of dollars to lure them from a Pacific Island nation to the U.S., where they were crammed into houses to wait to give birth, sometimes with little to no prenatal care, prosecutors allege. Paul Petersen, the Republican assessor of Arizona's most populous county, was charged in Utah, Arizona and Arkansas with counts including human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Investigators also found eight pregnant women from the Marshall Islands in raids of his properties outside Phoenix, and several more are waiting to give birth in Utah, authorities said.

67 Years Worth Of Corvettes Head To Chattanooga Motorcar Festival

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 19:48

From an original 1953 C1 to the all-new mid-engine C8, the Corvette will be well represented.When the first-ever Chattanooga Motorcar Festival kicks off this weekend, visitors will be treated to an amazing assortment of Chevrolet Corvettes. The GM Heritage Center, National Corvette Museum and Revs Institute are all teaming up to assemble a collection of eight of the most important Corvettes from the last 67 years.According to a press release issued by the NCM, an original 1953 C1 Corvette will be on hand as will an all-new 2020 C8 Corvette. In all likelihood, this will be the first time these two generations of the Chevrolet Corvette have been assembled for the public to see. In 1953, only 300 Corvettes were built, and all were hand built and painted Polo White with a red interior. The 2020 Corvette was introduced this summer, and it introduces a mid-engine layout that Chevrolet has been teasing since the '60s.One of the C8's mid-engine predecessors will be on hand with the 1972 Corvette XP-895 concept vehicle (shown above), but that won't be the only Corvette concept at the show. The 1969 Manta Ray Concept and 2009 Centennial Concept will also be there; the Centennial Concept was introduced as the Autobot "Sideswipe" in 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Rounding out the exciting list of Corvettes, there will be a 1959 Corvette Stingray Racer Prototype as well as two of the rarest Corvettes of all time: a 1963 Corvette Z06 split-window racecar and a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport. Only six of the '63 Z06 Corvettes were ever built, and that's one more than the Corvette Grand Sports. The Grand Sport on display is the fourth built out of five.The inaugural Chattanooga Motorcar Festival will be held October 11-13 including a cars and coffee event on Friday and a Concours show with over 100 cars, racecars and motorcycles lining the streets of downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. Related Articles... * Never-Titled 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 Sold For $40K * Millennial Saves 1982 Chevrolet Corvette From Decade Of Neglect

U.S. passing Hong Kong human rights and democracy act will ‘punish the wrong people,’ says ex-Trump envoy

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 19:47

This story is being published by POLITICO as part of a content partnership with the South China Morning Post. A U.S. bill that could strip Hong Kong of its special trading status by subjecting the city to an annual review of democratic freedoms would hurt Hongkongers and play into the hands of Beijing, according to a former top envoy for Asia in the Trump administration. In a wide-ranging interview, Susan Thornton, who served as acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said passing the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would be a “huge mistake” that would end up “punishing exactly the wrong people”.

US official charged with leaking secrets to journalists

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 19:15

A Defense Intelligence Agency official was arrested Wednesday and charged with leaking classified intelligence information to two journalists, including a reporter he was dating, the Justice Department said. Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested by the FBI when he arrived at work at a DIA facility in Virginia. Frese, who has a top secret government security clearance, is alleged to have accessed at least five classified intelligence reports and provided top secret information about another country's weapons systems to the reporter with whom he was having a relationship.

Seven misleading arguments against impeachment by Trump and his allies

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 18:36

As Democrats continue their impeachment inquiry, the president and his allies keep presenting certain misleading defenses.

Trump again questions why whistleblower should be protected

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 18:18

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued his deluge of attacks against the intelligence whistleblower whose complaint spurred House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, again calling for the person’s unmasking and asking why there should be protection for the intelligence official. Speaking to reporters at the White House after signing an executive order, Trump accused the whistleblower of falsifying parts of the complaint, which the president dismissed as a “con,” despite most elements having been proved accurate by materials from the White House or Trump himself. Trump continued to assert that the phone call at the heart of the complaint — during which he asked President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and events surrounding the 2016 election — was a “perfect” call, a characterization that he contended had been borne out by the rough transcript released by the White House.

PG&E Power Outage Shut Off: Maps showing Bay Area cities affected by PG&E power shutdown

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 17:56

PG&E OUTAGE: Here are maps from each Bay Area region showing which cities will be affected by the planned power shutoff.

10 Cheapest New Cars for 2020

Top Stories - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 17:05


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