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China retaliates, ups tariffs on $60 Billion US goods

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Beijing, May 13 China on Monday said it would raise tariffs on $60 billion of US goods from June 1, a tit-for-tat response to Washington increasing levies on Chinese products last week.

China’s Ministry of Finance said the additional tariffs will range from 5 per cent to 25 per cent on 5,140 products.

“On May 9, 2019, the US government announced that since May 10, 2019, tariffs on the $200 billion lists of goods imported from China have increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent,” a statement by the Ministry said in Chinese.

“The above measures by the US have led to an escalation of the Sino-US economic and trade frictions, contrary to the consensus between China and the US on resolving trade differences through consultations, jeopardising the interests of both sides and not meeting the general expectations of the international community.

“The State Council Tariff Commission decided that on June 1, 2019, the part originating in the US imported goods will increase the tariff rate,” it said.

This was much expected after the US on Friday activated a raise of 25 per cent in tariffs on the Chinese goods worth $200 billion, a move that escalated over a 10-month trade war.

Beijing’s retaliatory move came shortly after US President Donald Trump warned it against jacking up taxes on US goods. “China should not retaliate — will only get worse!” Trump posted on Twitter.

He said Beijing would be “hurt very badly” if the country did not make a deal with Washington and accused it of “taking advantage of the US for so many years”.

The US President suggested that manufacturers who make goods in China could shift production to other countries to avoid the tariffs.

“I say openly to President Xi (Jinping) and all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed and you backed out!” he tweeted.

“Many tariffed companies will be leaving China for Vietnam and other such countries in Asia.”

He also claimed the trade war would not have a significant impact on the US trade. “We are right where we want to be with China. Remember, they broke the deal with us and tried to renegotiate. We will be taking in tens of billions of dollars in tariffs from China. Buyers of product can make it themselves in the USA (ideal), or buy it from non-tariffed countries.”

Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow, however, said “both sides will suffer” from the trade dispute.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Kudlow said it was American businesses that paid the tariffs on any goods brought in from China and that US consumers would also foot the bill if firms passed on the cost increase.

The two largest economies have slapped tariffs on goods worth $350 billion since July last year. The two sides met for the 11th time last week in Washington, only to leave with no deal.

Trump’s surprise decision to crank up levies on Chinese goods has dealt a blow the progress in trade talks made in the past.

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Confusion over Trump’s Ashram visit

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Gandhinagar, Feb 20 : Two Tweets, one from the Ministry of External Affairs and the other from Ajay Tomar (Special Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch Ahmedabad) contradicting each other on Thursday created confusion about the possibility of the US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati.

The MEAIndia tweet states that the US President and First Lady Melania Trump accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be going to the Motera Stadium for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event directly from the Ahmedabad airport.

However, an official tweet from Ajay Tomar, the Special CP, Crime Branch Ahmedabad says that the US President will arrive at Ahmedabad on February 24 and to welcome him, PM Narendra Modi will be here. Both of them will go to Sabarmati Ashram first, then they will go to Motera Stadium to attend ‘Namaste Trump’ event.’

Following the expected visit four days from now, the preparations were underway at the famous Gandhi Ashram. Apart from turning the place into a fortress and getting all the security aspects covered, there were also some infrastructure changes put in place at the Ashram.

The Trump couple was expected to spend half an hour at the Ashram. A new parking space was being created at the place. To the rear side of the ashram, a platform was being built so that PM Modi could show the entire Sabarmati riverfront to the visiting dignitaries from one place.

A special room was also being prepared at the Ashram, where the dignitaries would be spending some time. Sources said all that ongoing work has been halted for now.

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2 die in Iran after testing positive for COVID-19

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Tehran, Iranian health authorities have confirmed that two men have died after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), making it the first fatalities in the country and the second outside Asia.

An informed source said on Wednesday that the two old men died in a hospital in Qom city after being tested positive for coronavirus earlier in the day, reports Press TV.

The source said one of the two had been suffering from chemical weapons injuries sustained during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. He described the other victim as a 65-old man, without elaborating.

The news of the deaths came hours after authorities confirmed first two cases for coronavirus in Iran. In response, Deputy Health Minister Qassem Janbabaei visited Qom on Wednesday to supervise preparations to curb the spread of the disease.

Janbabaei said the two men were from two separate neighbourhoods of Qom, a city of close to one million people, adding that they had never been out of the province let alone to any foreign country.

“How they contracted coronavirus is not clear and the issue is being probed,” he told the state-run IRNA news agency.

The development came nearly a month after authorities evacuated 57 Iranian students from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, reports Press TV.

The students were released from a 14-day quarantine in Tehran on Tuesday.Hong Kong (two), the Philippines (one), Japan (one) and France (one) have each reported deaths.

The overall death toll in China increased to 2,118 on Thursday, with a total of 74,576 confirmed cases.

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9 die in German bar shootings, suspect’s body found

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The body of the suspected perpetrator of the two shootings in the German city of Hanau that left at least nine people dead, has been found in his house along with another one, police said on Thursday.

In a tweet, police said the “alleged perpetrator” was found “lifeless” at his home in Hanau, and special police officers also found another body there, reports Efe news.

In a statement, the state police said they had received witness information about a fleeing vehicle.The home address was blocked off extensively and searched by special police forces… One of the dead people is most likely the culprit,” said the statement, which also confirmed the new shooting death toll as nine, bringing the total to 11 deaths.

“Investigations into the identity of the victims and the suspected perpetrator are ongoing,” it said, adding that “there are currently no indications of other perpetrators”.

The suspect is a German national with a hunting weapons license, in whose car ammunition was found, according to a report in the German Bild newspaper.

In the consecutive shootings on Wednesday night in two shisha bars, nine people were killed and at least five others were believed to have been seriously injured.

The first attack took place at around 10 p.m. in a bar called Midnight, followed by the second shooting at the Arena Bar & Cafe, a similar establishment in the city’s Kesselstadt neighbourhood.

The shots were allegedly fired from a car, according to regional public broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk. Local police deployed a large search operation for the attacker over several hours.

Hanau MP Katja Leikert said it was a “horrific scenario for us all” and sent her “heartfelt condolences” to those close to the victims.

Several local media outlets also reported another alleged attack at a third location in the city, but police did not confirm this.The city of Hanau – home to some 100,000 people – is located 25 km east of Frankfurt.

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