The Daily Visionary: Monday, December 3, 2018

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

U.S. and China reach a 90-day trade ceasefire at the G20 meeting


In a bilateral meeting at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina, the United States (U.S.) and China reached a ninety-day ceasefire in their trade dispute, initiated by President Donald Trump to reduce America’s vast trade deficit with China.


The White House said President Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs January 1 on USD $200 billion in Chinese goods and the Chinese agreed to buy a “not yet agreed upon, but very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial” and other products from the U.S. President Trump has already imposed import taxes on USD $250 billion in Chinese products — 25 percent on USD $50 billion worth and 10 percent on the other USD $200 billion. China has imposed tariffs on USD $110 billion for American goods. President Trump will raise the tariffs on the USD $200 billion to 25 percent unless an agreement is reached.


“It’s an incredible deal. What I’ll be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up, China will be getting rid of tariffs. China will be buying massive amounts of products from us.” President Trump said aboard Air Force One.


China agreed to label fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid responsible for tens of thousands of American drug deaths annually, as a controlled substance as a long-sought concession to the U.S. The American government has been pressing the Chinese government to take a tougher stance against fentanyl, of which most U.S. supply is manufactured in China. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said China’s decision to label the drug as a controlled substance means that “people selling Fentanyl to the United States will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law.”


In addition to the trade deficit, the U.S. government accuses China of deploying predatory tactics in its tech drive, including stealing trade secrets and forcing American firms to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. China also agreed to reconsider a takeover by U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm that it had previously blocked, citing antitrust concerns, after U.S. and European regulators approved the deal.


Former U.S. President George H. W. Bush has died


George H.W. Bush, the longest-living president in United States’ (U.S.) history, died at his home in Houston late Friday night, aged 94. The late president will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol beginning Monday and a funeral will be held at the Washington National Cathedral. He was the 41st President from 1989 to 1993 and served as the 43rd Vice President 1981 to 1989. The one term president presided during the Soviet Union’s collapse and assembled the multinational coalition that liberated Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion.


State funerals are multi-day events consisting of three stages, starting with ceremonies within the state in which the honoree resided, continuing in the nation’s capital, and ending where the individual has chosen to be interred. An official schedule was released on Saturday.


Mr. Bush’s remains will be transported on Monday from Ellington Field in Houston to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Air Force One. There will be a bicameral arrival ceremony at the U.S. Capitol at 5 p.m. on Monday, and he will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, with the public invited to pay respects from Monday evening until Wednesday morning.


Mr. Bush’s funeral at the National Cathedral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, and afterward his remains will make the return trip from Andrews back to Houston. The former president will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where a second service will be held on Thursday. He will be interred later on Thursday at the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum on the grounds of Texas A&M University in College Station, after making the final leg, from Spring, Texas, by train.


The President will designate Wednesday, December 5th as a National Day Of Mourning. He and the First Lady will attend the funeral at the National Cathedral,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. By tradition, U.S. financial markets close on the national day of mourning. The New York Stock Exchange will observe a minute of silence on Monday to honor Mr. Bush and plans to be closed on the official day of mourning designated by Trump. Other markets are expected to do the same.

U.K. PM Theresa May threatened with a vote to bring down the government if Parliament rejects her Brexit deal


British lawmakers begin debating Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit package this week, before a final vote on December 11. Over one hundred members of her own Conservative Party, government coalition allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, and all opposition parties say they’ll reject the plan. Science Minister Sam Gyimah also quit on Friday, as the 22nd ministerial resignation from PM May’s government since last year’s election.


Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said that it was “inevitable” that the opposition party would propose a no confidence motion if, as is widely expected, the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected. In that event, an early general election is anticipated. Labour have long expressed a preference for an election if PM May can’t get her deal through Parliament. Mr. Starmer said Sunday that “If she’s lost a vote of this significance after two years of negotiation, then it is right that there should be a general election.”


The U.K.’s Fixed Term Parliaments Act stipulates that, after losing a confidence vote, parties would have two weeks to form another administration that can command a majority in the House of Commons. If nobody can, an election automatically is called. On Sunday, Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis said, “the best way to prevent” such a vote is “get this deal through Parliament on December 11.” The motion would be separate from a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister herself, which would be triggered if 48 members of her own party submit letters to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of rank-and-file Conservatives.


Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles, who is advocating a plan to join the European Free Trade Association and keep Britain inside the EU’s single market, said he’s had conversations with six to eight members of the cabinet about his proposal. Mr. Boles said he intends to vote for PM May’s deal, but he thinks she should step down before the next election.


Photo Credit: Julien Harneis

Photo Credit: Julien Harneis

Water supplies in Yemen sterilized as world’s worst cholera outbreak surges


Nearly four years of war between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthi group have crippled health care and sanitation systems in Yemen, where 1.2 million suspected cholera cases have been reported since 2017 with 2,515 deaths. Authorities in the Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sanaa are now sterilizing water supplies at wells, distribution networks, and houses to help stem the world’s worst outbreak of cholera.


Cholera, which is spread by consuming contaminated food or water, is a diarrhea disease and can kill within hours. While previous outbreaks may have helped build immunity in the population, other diseases and widespread malnutrition can weaken resilience.


The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in October that the outbreak is accelerating again with roughly 10,000 suspected cases now reported per week, double the average rate for the first eight months of 2018. Most cases have been reported in areas held by the Houthi movement, which controls most population centers after ousting the internationally recognized government from Sanaa in 2014.


The United Nations (U.N.) says about 14 million people, or half of Yemen’s population, could soon face famine, and according to UNICFEF, 1.8 million children are malnourished, who account for 30 percent of cholera infections. More than 250,000 cases of cholera have been recorded in Yemen since the beginning of 2018, with 358 associated deaths. UNICEF representative Meritxell Relano said, “We have prevented an outbreak at the scale of 2017, but the risk is still there.


Photo Credit: Reuters

Photo Credit: Reuters

Paris cleans up after the worst riots since 1968


Authorities were caught off-guard by the escalation in violence after two weeks of nationwide unrest against fuel taxes and high living costs, known as the “yellow vest” movement after the fluorescent jackets worn by the protesters. Several thousand riot police were overwhelmed on Saturday as they fought running battles with protesters, who have been infiltrated by Antifa causing many peaceful demonstrations to become violent and destructive.


The government said it would consider a state of emergency in the face of unrest across the country. The violence in Paris was the worst in the elegant center of the capital since the May 1968 student uprising that brought France to its knees.


Among Paris’ famous landmarks and fanciest shopping districts, more than four hundred people were arrested and more than one hundred injured, shocking Parisians and tourists alike. On Sunday, workmen cleared away burned hulks of cars, scrubbed the defaced Arc de Triomphe monument, and replaced the shattered windows of luxury boutiques. At the base of the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe, police kept the public back as cleanup crews set about erasing graffiti, much of it targeting President Emmanuel Macron and some exuding anarchist sentiment such as, “Overthrow the bourgeoisie!”


I’ve worked on monuments around Paris for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this at the Arc de Triomphe. It was carnage,” a Paris City Hall official overseeing the cleanup said as his team worked on a graffito reading “Macron resign”. Lasting damage might be caused if crews are forced to erode the arch’s stonework to render it clean, he said.


On the Rue Royale in the heart of Paris, half a dozen laborers gingerly replaced glass panes on the front of a Dior store. Next door, a Chanel employee vacuumed shards of glass from the floor, while carpenters removed the plywood panels that had been protecting a Gucci shop.

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