World News Briefs For Saturday, 24 August 2019
Hello Australia!! - Trump increases the threat of worldwide recession - Europe warns Bolsonaro over the Amazon fires - Something Russia really shouldn't do - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The Dow Jones plunged another 623 points amid another volley of Trump tweets reacting to his own trade war with China and the US Federal Reserve bank. This started with China's Finance Ministry announcing new tariffs of five or ten percent on US imports from 1 September, as well as the resumption of 25 percent tariffs on US cars and five percent on parts. In an unhinged storm of tweets that belied a complete misunderstanding of how the world economy actually works, Trump railed against China and eventually declared: "We don't need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them," and "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China." Trump has no authority to "order" US companies to do any such thing, but this is the guy who declared himself "the chosen one" and the "King of Israel" earlier in the week. And yes, the world should be incredibly concerned about such statements.
Trump also waged a tweet storm against his hand-picked Federal Reserve Bank chairman Jerome Powell. This came after Powell left open the possibility of cutting interest rates to counteract the economic uncertainty caused by Trump's trade war with China. "While monetary policy is a powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rule book for international trade," said Mr. Powell at an economic conference in Jackson, Wyoming. Trump responded, "My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?" Aside from the self-defeating folly of going after the guy who controls the US economy, Trump has by default declared Chinese President Xi Jinping his "enemy". Wiser past administrations have referred to Beijing as a "partner" or occasionally as a "rival".
Late Friday afternoon, Trump retaliated against China's retaliation by increasing his existing tariffs on Chinese imports by five percent pretty much across the board. Then he hopped on Air Force One for the Group of Seven summit in France, where French President Emmanuel Macron (more about him below) will make it his priority to make sure Trump doesn't blow it up like the last one.
US billionaire David Koch, who funded conservative causes in his home country and around the world, is dead at age 79 after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. A wealthy man from the family oil business conglomerate, he ran for US Vice President in 1980, losing to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. That lesson learned, he set upon taking over the the Republican party and largely did so from the late-1990s. But that came to a climax with wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign in 2012, and a falling out with Donald Trump in 2016. With his brother Charles, he successfully pushed the GOP to the extreme right and funded anti-union and climate change denier activities.
Koch died as wildfires burned in forests from the Amazon to the Arctic Circle. But France and Ireland are warning Brazil's far-right, climate change-denying President Jair Bolsonaro that they won't ratify a key trade deal with South American nations unless Brazil does more to fight fires in the Amazon. Macron feels particularly betrayed after Bolsonaro privately assured the French leader that he wouldn't be bad for the environment. With more than 75,000 individual fires burning - which NGOs suspect were set by Bolsonaro's allies in the mining, ranching, and agriculture sectors - he's claiming that he will send out Brazilian troops to help firies. The Amazon rainforest is rightly called the "lungs of the word" because the trees breath the carbon in the atmosphere, sending it deep into the ground in their roots and expelling oxygen in return. It's a double whammy for the climate because hot only are the trees no longer eating carbon, but the fires are expelling carbon into the atmosphere, which will increase global warming.
Russia just launched a floating nuclear power station which will travel 5,000 kilometers along the Arctic Sea coast from Murmansk to Chukotka in the far east to power gold mining operations, among other things. Greenpeace has called the plan unnecessarily risky - because of the rough weather and coastline, and especially given Russia's history of nuclear mishaps..
..Such as the one a couple of weeks ago in the far northwest along the border with Denmark. Seven people died in what is thought to be a muclear missile test accident that Moscow will not confirm. The medics that treated people injured in the 8 August disaster have told Western journalists that they fear they, too, have been exposed to radiation through their patients - but the Russian government will not acknowledge it. Moscow later sent a military team to carry out decontamination work in the Arkhangelsk hospital, without telling the medics any details.
A new warning about vaping, as Illinois health officials announce the first death associated with e-cigarettes, an unnamed patient who was between 17 and 38 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week said 149 people across the US have become ill from vaping.