• U.S.
    Variety

    Billie Eilish Slams ‘All Lives Matter’ and White Privilege: ‘This Is Not About You’

    Following the death of George Floyd, Billie Eilish shared a passionate message to her Instagram followers calling on her white fans to recognize their privilege. The lengthy statement, posted Saturday morning, was captioned with the hashtags JusticeForGeorgeFloyd and BlackLivesMatter. Eilish's outrage at Floyd's death is clear in both her words and the fact that much […]

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  • World
    South China Morning Post

    Hong Kong warned WTO challenge to potential US trade sanctions could be 'counterproductive'

    In a statement released late on Thursday, hours after China's National People's Congress approved the proposal for the controversial legislation, the Hong Kong government said that as a full member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), "we expect to be fairly treated by our trading partners".Should the US revoke Hong Kong's special trading status, the special administrative region could be subjected to the same trade war tariffs imposed on Chinese exports to the US, or even unilateral tariffs against Hong Kong specifically, as well as export controls and potentially greater scrutiny of its financial and payments landscapes, experts said.In the case of tariffs, analysts said it is "factually possible and legally correct" that Hong Kong could bring a WTO case against the US, given that it retains its own WTO membership and should be treated on a "most-favoured nation" basis, which punitive tariffs would violate.But analysts believe any such future action would be "counterproductive", since even if Hong Kong was to win a case, it could be permitted to introduce retaliatory tariffs on the US, which would harm Hong Kong's economy and image as a beacon of free trade.Furthermore, it is unlikely that a WTO case, which would take years to process, would resonate in a White House which is openly scornful of the Geneva-based trade body."Hong Kong is really limited in what it can do. Taking a WTO case would be symbolic, and even if Hong Kong prevails, the damages would be very low. So if Hong Kong decides to put tariffs on the US " which would be a first " what does it target? Consumer products or food? What kind of message does that send about Hong Kong? Who is that really hurting?" said Bryan Mercurio, a professor covering the WTO at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.Hong Kong is a free port, with zero tariffs on goods shipped in and out, however, it has very little direct trade of its own. As a entrepot for trade with China, the vast majority of goods passing through are re-exported to and from the mainland.While Hong Kong was the world's sixth largest exporter in 2018, according to WTO statistics, just US$13 billion of its US$556 billion in shipments were domestic exports. For imports, just US$155 billion of US$628 billion were consumed domestically."Removing from US law the commitment to Hong Kong's non-discriminatory trade treatment would make it easier for the US Trade Representative to defend unilaterally slapping tariffs on the city's exports. This would most likely violate WTO rules, but this has not deterred the US from placing tariffs on imports from the mainland," read a Capital Economics research note."If this happened, shipments to the US would suffer. Gross exports from Hong Kong to the US are worth 13 per cent of [gross domestic product]. But the vast majority of products are being reshipped through the city. US-bound goods exports, generate under 3 per cent of [gross domestic product], mainly in logistics and postal services rather than manufacturing."Hong Kong has been a member of the WTO since January 1995, but it has only brought a single case " a complaint against the Turkish garment trade in 1996 that was "largely a matter of principle" rather than economic wrongdoing, said Julien Chaisse, a trade professor at the City University of Hong Kong.However, Chaisse said that Hong Kong could learn from another historical precedent of a smaller WTO member successfully bringing a case against a more powerful member, but eventually being left dissatisfied with the spoils of victory.In 2003, tiny Antigua and Barbuda accused the US of discrimination after it was frozen out of the world's largest gambling market after the Caribbean nation had built up a giant online betting market designed to replace its struggling tourism sector.WTO judges eventually ruled in its favour, awarding compensation of US$21 million per year, but the US refused to pay. Antigua and Barbuda therefore had the right to impose tariffs on the US, but declined to do so, thinking that it would be an act of economic self-harm."Why would a place like Hong Kong or Antigua impose tariffs on the US?" Chaisse added. "Who would hurt from such action, apart from the domestic middle class?"Chaisse added that should the national security law lead to an erosion in the "one country, two systems" model under which city is supposed to be governed until 2047, Hong Kong could also find itself on the receiving end of investor disputes and trade lawsuits, especially if the goalposts are moved for investors in the city.Hong Kong has 20 bilateral investment treaties, more than half of which were signed with developed nations in the run up to the handover from Britain to China in 1997, a means of assuaging fears of changing business conditions."I would not exclude the possibility of, in the future, investors from these places using investment protection courts to sue Hong Kong," Chaisse said.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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  • U.S.
    The Daily Beast

    Laura Ingraham to Black Americans: Trump Understands Police Violence Because of Russia Probe

    Fox News host Laura Ingraham attempted to explain to African-Americans on Thursday night that President Donald Trump can empathize with inequality and police brutality due to his “own experience” with federal investigators during the Russia probe.With protests raging across the nation over the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis police custody, Ingraham lectured protesters over the demonstrations devolving into violence and looting. After chastising the non-Fox media for supposedly fanning racial flames over the police killing and subsequent protests, Ingraham then decided to address the black community as a whole to tell them how they should properly protest the killing of George Floyd.“Now, I’m not going to pretend for a millisecond to know what it’s like to be a black person in America,” she said. “I don’t. But the only thing I do know is that we all need to do better.”Reiterating that we need to “do better,” the conservative Fox News host—who once told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble”—said the “real change agents in America are those who stay in their communities and build them up, not burn them down” before invoking a civil rights icon.“Rosa Parks is a beloved, global symbol of freedom and justice because of the determination and dignity to which she carried out her civil disobedience,” she said. “Would burning a store have been more powerful and transformative? I don’t think so.”Without skipping a beat, the pro-Trump Fox star then referenced the president’s anger at the FBI and Justice Department during the Russia investigation to let black people know Trump understands their experience.“And to our African-American fellow citizens, I say this: Given his own experience with an out-of-control FBI and unfair investigation, given all the work on criminal justice reform, President Trump knows how poisonous and out-of-control law enforcement process can be,” Ingraham proudly declared, concluding her mini-monologue.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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  • World
    MarketWatch

    Silver scores biggest monthly gain in 9 years as U.S.-China tensions boost gold prices

    Silver futures on Friday posted a gain of nearly 24% for the month, the largest since 2011, with the industrial metal finding support as global economies continue to reopen from pandemic-related shutdowns. Gold futures, meanwhile, rose for Friday's session buoyed by U.S.-China tensions and global monetary stimulus measures. COVID-19 and the economic fallout that followed has clearly impacted” industry/technology and jewelry demand, with “75% of the global silver demand...

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  • World
    The Telegraph

    Airlines schedule major increase in flights in July as pressure mounts on ministers to ease quarantine

    Airlines have scheduled a dramatic increase in flights in July in anticipation that Governments will lift travel restrictions for holidaymakers and save the industry from potential collapse, according to data seen by The Sunday Telegraph. The companies which have already laid off tens of thousands of workers are banking on a “V-shaped” recovery by scheduling 161,200 passenger flights and 29.5 million seats for July, just eight per cent down on last year’s July timetables. The strategy to open up business travel and holiday routes to hotspot favourites like Greece, Italy, France and Spain comes as most European countries are preparing to lift their quarantines or open their borders in mid June or at least by July 1. It will increase pressure on Boris Johnson to make good his suggestion last week that the UK’s quarantine - to be introduced on June 8 - could be replaced with “air bridges” to low-risk holiday destinations when it is reviewed on June 29. One senior industry source claimed: “The sense is that they might quietly do a U-turn after the first review period. Grant Shapps [the Transport Secretary] is against quarantine, the Treasury are against it, Beis is against it and DCMS hate it.” The exclusive data, from Cirium, a travel analytics firm, shows how the coronavirus pandemic devastated the aviation industry as it tore across the world. Scheduled passengers were 22.5 million in February, 10 per cent up on last year before it slumped by 93 per cent in April and May. It has risen in June to 38.5 per cent down on last year, as the Far East has opened up, and rises to just minus eight per cent in July as airlines anticipate Europe unlocking. June and July are “scheduled” rather than actual flights, which will depend on quarantines easing in June and July. Germany has lifted restrictions, Italy wants to resume travel on June 15, and Spain and Portugal are aiming for July 1. France hopes to drop border controls to and from EU countries after June 15 except with countries that impose quarantine on a “reciprocal” basis, namely the UK. Greece has excluded the UK from a “white list” of 29 countries it judges are low-risk enough from which to accept tourists from June 15 without quarantine although it will open up to more countries after it reviews their infection rates at the end of June. British Airways says it is aiming for a “meaningful return” to flying in July, RyanAir plans to ramp up flights to at least 40 per cent of its normal July schedule and EasyJet, which has laid off one in three staff, hopes to operate 30 per cent of its pre-crisis timetable from July to September. Paul Charles, chief executive of PC Consultancy, which advises the tourist industry, said Britain’s quarantine risked “killing” the economy. “Travel companies have not had any bookings for April or May. They are worried that if they don’t get them in June, they will go under,” he said. The Airport Operators’ Association (AOA) has urged ministers to aim for the first “air bridges” to “low risk” destinations by June 8 so that holidaymakers can sidestep quarantine and the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK. The Department for Transport will shortly publish new guidelines for “safe” travel which will include face coverings or masks throughout the journey, temperature checks, social distancing in airports and contactless travel including for check-ins and payments. An AOA spokesman said: “Once these guidelines are agreed and given that they are based on a common European baseline, this puts in place the right conditions for opening up air bridges to low-risk countries.” The Home Office which has led the moves to introduce quarantine has, however, warned that it will block attempts to lift the quarantine unless it is safe and there is no risk of it sparking a second wave of coronavirus. A Department for Transport source said: “There is certainly a willingness in Government to do as much for this Summer as is safe.” Post-coronavirus air travel: No travel if you have symptoms If ill, no cost re-booking or refunds up to six hours before flying Face masks or coverings from arrival at airport to leaving terminal at destination Only passengers in the terminal, no tearful goodbyes at departure gates Contact-less electronic check-in and boarding Social distancing and one-way systems for waiting and queuing passengers Airports' association pressing for temperature checks Exemption from two-metre rule on plane No on-board duty free, reduced food and drink service, pre-packaged food and cashless payments

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