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India sent $755 Million more in exports to US due to trade war

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PM Modi and Donald Trump

United Nations, Nov 6 India sent $755 million more in exports to the US during the first half of this year as a result of the trade war waged by President Donald Trump against China, according to the trade arm of the UN.

Trade diversion effects for India were smaller compared some other countries, “but still substantial”, a research paper from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.

The paper on trade and trade diversion effects of US tariffs on China that was released in Geneva on Tuesday said, “US tariffs on China are economically hurting both countries. The tariffs have resulted in a strong decline in US imports from China. US losses are largely related to higher prices for consumers.”

But it is also helping other countries like India that are not directly involved in the trade war as the US increased imports from them by about $21 billion in the first six months of the year

Taiwan and Mexico were the biggest beneficiaries.

The paper said that the office machinery and communication equipment sectors were hit the hardest for China, with a total reduction of US imports worth about $15 billion for the first half of 2019.

India was able to capture only $18 million in the office machinery component of the sector, but none in the communication equipment part during this period, according to UNCTAD.

India made the most gains in the chemical sector, about $243 million; electrical machinery, $83 million, and other machinery, $68 million, it said.

Vietnam, with its emphasis on export-oriented growth, presents a contrast to India showing that it was able to benefit much more from the trade diversification.

Its exports rose by $2.6 billion, with electrical machinery accounting tor $400 million and communication equipment $1.1 billion, according to UNCTAD.

Washingtons’s tariffs caused a 25 per cent export loss for China “inflicting a $35 billion blow to Chinese exports in the US market for tariffed goods in the first half of 2019,” the paper said.

But it added that Chinese firms being able to retain 75 per cent of their exports despite the higher tariffs showed their competitiveness.

Last year, US and China initially raised tariffs on about $50 billion worth of each other’s goods and Washington later hit Beijing with an additional 10 per cent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

In June, the US increased the tariffs to 25 per cent.

China has also increased tariffs on US products, mainly hitting the agriculture sector from which Trump draws a significant part of his support.

India, however, has also been a victim of the trade wars of Trump, who has called India the “king of tariffs.”

In June, the US removed the General Scheme of Preferences benefits for India. The Trump administration has made several trade and related demands of India, such as removing restrictions on e-commerce, storage of consumer data, and imports of milk products from cattle given cannibalised feed, and Trump’s pet cause, reducing import duties on Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The two countries are negotiating a trade deal.

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California firm to pay $13.5bn to wildfire victims

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San Francisco, Dec 7– Californian utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has agreed on a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires in the state, it was reported on Saturday.

The company’s equipment has been linked to several blazes including the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, 2018’s ‘Camp Fire’, the BBC reported.PG&E filed for bankruptcy this year and has already settled with insurers and local authorities.

The agreements should allow the firm to emerge from bankruptcy.PG&E’s settlement relates to claims over several deadly blazes, including the Camp Fire, Northern California wildfires (2017), Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland (2016) and Butte Fire (2015).

The four combined killed more than 150 people and destroyed properties worth millions of dollars. PG&E President Bill Johnson said since entering the bankruptcy process “getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal.

“We want to help our customers, our neighbours and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires,” the BBC quoted Johnson as saying on Friday. This year saw yet more rampant wildfires and the firm sought to prevent them by cutting off power to customers in California.

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2nd Epstein victim claims to have slept with Prince Andrew

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London, Dec 7 : A second victim who was allegedly abused by late American financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has claimed that she slept with the UK’S Prince Andrew, a media report said on Saturday.

The revelation comes after the Duke of York denied having slept with another victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre at the Belgravia home of Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of trafficking in young women for Epstein, the Daily Mail quoted the Mirror newspaper as saying in its report.

The second woman, who has not been named, has communicated with lawyers who are representing Epstein’s other alleged victims, according to the Mirror report which cited sources as saying.

It was now being decided whether these allegations would form part of a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate and a “rigorous investigation” was underway, the sources said.

In response, a Palace spokesperson said the allegation were “not something we would comment on”.

The victims have said that Prince Andrew witnessed how people were given massages at the sex offender’s homes.

But the Duke of York has denied the claims, adding that he did not witness or suspect any suspicious behaviour during visits to Epstein’s homes.

Criticism of Andrew for his relationship with the well-connected financier increased after the airing of the Prince’s interview with the BBC last month.

Besides denying any memory of having met victim Giuffre, Andrew evinced no sympathy for the late financier’s victims.

Giuffre has produced a photograph of her then-17-year-old self with Prince Andrew, his arm around her waist, and Maxwell standing in the background.

Though the sex-trafficking case against Epstein ended with his death four months ago inside a federal detention centre in New York, victims were suing his estate and prosecutors have left open the possibility of charging others people as accomplices.

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WH warns Democrats against adopting articles of impeachment

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The White House has warned the Democrats in the House over the adoption of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter on Friday to Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is leading the Trump impeachment proceedings.

The move “would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history”, Xinhua news agency quoted Cipollone as saying.

Nadler, in a statement, pointed to the White House’s consistent refusal to cooperate with the impeachment proceedings previously led by the House Intelligence Committee and two other panels.

“The House invited, and then subpoenaed, his top advisors. The President ordered them not to show and continues to block key evidence from Congress,” Nadler said in response on Friday.

“Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair.

“The President’s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty,” he added.

Cipollone’s letter came a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she was asking Nadler’s panel to write articles of impeachment against Trump.

House Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine into launching investigations that could benefit him politically.

Lawmakers were also examining whether the President conditioned a White House meeting or a military aid to Ukraine on those probes.

Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing or a “quid pro quo”, lashed out at Democrats over the impeachment Friday evening.

“Nadler hasn’t had a single fact witness testify,” he tweeted, accusing Democrats of doing nothing but pursuing impeachment.

The articles of impeachment under consideration might be approved by the House Judiciary Committee as early as next week.

According to the US Constitution, the House shall have the sole “Power of Impeachment” while the Senate shall have the sole “Power to try all impeachments”.

Trump will be impeached if the House approves any of the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee has recommended by a simple majority vote.

But conviction can only happen in the Senate and requires at least two-thirds of its members, or 67 senators, to vote in favour.

Currently, the Senate has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two Independents.

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