• World
    Associated Press

    Merkel won't attend G7 summit in person if US goes ahead

    Chancellor Angela Merkel will not personally attend a meeting in the U.S. with the leaders of the world’s major economies if President Donald Trump goes ahead with it, unless the course of the coronavirus spread changes by then, her office said Saturday. After canceling the Group of Seven summit, originally scheduled for June 10-12 at Camp David, Trump said a week ago that he was again considering hosting an in-person meeting of world leaders because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the pandemic.

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  • U.S.
    FOX News Videos

    Rudy Giuliani calls for resignations of mayor of Minneapolis, governor of Minnesota

    Don't elect progressive Democrats if you want to be safe, says former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on 'Hannity.'

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  • U.S.
    National Review

    Rioters Destroy Bar That Black Minneapolis Firefighter Bought with His Life Savings

    Rioters protesting the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, an African-American man who died after being arrested and pinned to the ground by officer Derek Chauvin, destroyed a bar owned by a black former firefighter Wednesday night.Korboi Balla had invested his life savings in the bar and was planning to open it before the coronavirus pandemic caused mass business closures. Balla then moved the opening date to June 1, when Minnesota plans to lift restrictions on restaurants, but the bar has since been wracked and looted in the riots, CBS first reported.CBS was filming a segment at the bar when looters entered through the back of the establishment to try to steal Balla's safe."I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Balla said in an interview. “It hurts, man. It’s not fair, it’s not right. We’ve been working so hard for this place. It’s not just for me, it’s for my family."Balla's wife Tywanna said that the bar was not insured."Yes people are mad and upset, I get that and I understand the protest, I’m hearing people say F*** the business they have insurance WELL WE DON'T AND THIS IS ALL OUT OF POCKET!!!" Tywanna wrote in a Facebook post. "Let someone come run in your home and loot for the cause then and let’s see you be ok with it!"Floyd was killed on May 25, and former officer Chauvin was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder. Rioters have destroyed numerous businesses as well as the building of Minneapolis's 3rd police precinct, of which Chauvin was a member.Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey has called to send the National Guard into the city to quell the unrest.

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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 principal" 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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  • Science
    AFP

    'No decision' on next launch attempt for historic SpaceX-NASA mission

    A final decision on a launch attempt for SpaceX's milestone mission to the International Space Station on Saturday afternoon will take place after assessing the weather that morning, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said Friday. Fears of a lightning strike postponed the initial takeoff attempt on Wednesday of what would have been the first crewed rocket launch from US soil in almost a decade, and the first time a commercial company has achieved the feat. Earlier in the day, NASA said the chances of a Saturday launch at 3:22 pm Eastern Time (1922 GMT) were 50 percent.

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