U.S. President Donald Trump advised British Prime Minister Theresa May to sue the European Union instead of negotiating with the bloc, as part of her Brexit strategy.
“He told me I should sue the EU,” May told BBC television. “Sue the EU. Not go into negotiations — sue them.”
Her revelation about how Trump advised her ended several days of speculation about what advice the U.S. leader had offered the prime minister.
Trump said last week in an interview with The Sun newspaper that he had given May advice, but she did not follow it. The president told the newspaper ahead of his meeting with May that she “didn’t listen” to him.
“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me. She wanted to go a different route,” Trump said.
Trump did not reveal what advice he offered May in a press conference with her Friday. Instead, he said, “I think she found it too brutal.”
He added, “I could fully understand why she thought it was tough. And maybe someday she’ll do that. If they don’t make the right deal, she may do what I suggested, but it’s not an easy thing.”
May also told the BBC that the president had advised her not to walk away from the negotiations “because then you’re stuck.”
For the past few months, British politics have been obscured by squabbling, irritability and bravado about how, when and on what terms Britain will exit the European Union, and what the country’s relationship will be with its largest trading partner after Brexit.
Britons narrowly voted to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016.
Liang Liang is feeling a lot of stress lately. He owns an import wholesale business in Los Angeles.
“I have been watching the news every day — when will the tariffs be put in place? When are my goods arriving; it’s a fight against time. I’m trying to order all my products for the rest of the year,” he said. His goods, such as toys and T-shirts, come from China through the largest port complex in the United States, the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
He expects a 10 to 20 percent increase in shipping costs because of the trade war between the United States and China.
Shipping costs likely to rise
China is the largest trading partner for both ports. As tariffs from both countries increase the cost of goods, manufacturers and retailers may order fewer products, which will cause a decrease in trade volume between the two countries, according to Stephen Cheung, president of the World Trade Center Los Angeles.
“Once that happens, you’re going to see an increase in the rates for shipping because then you don’t have the volume to justify the goods going back and forth,” he said.
Cheung explained that shipping costs will affect all goods between the U.S. and China, not just the ones on the list to be taxed. He said the trade and logistics sector, which includes the ports and the supply chain of trucks and warehouses, will be the first to feel the effects of the trade war.
Liang said he will absorb the cost and live with smaller profits, up to a point.
“If the tariffs increase by another 20 percent, we’ll have to raise our prices,” he said.
“The consumers are going to feel it in their wallets very quickly,” Cheung said.
Supply chain may be less reliable
The U.S. as a manufacturing center depends on parts from China, but that supply may become less reliable as the trade war continues. Cheung said there may be uncertainty about whether the products will be produced or “whether they will be in the same price, so this potentially can have a huge aspect in terms of our exporting capability not only to China but to the rest of the world, Cheung said. “And there are a lot of jobs that are tied to this,” he added.
Officials at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles said it is too early to tell the impact of the trade tariffs.
“We’ll have to wait and see how various businesses restructure their supply networks and adjust to the tariff environment,” said Duane Kenagy, the Port of Long Beach’s interim deputy executive director.
He said so far, the port has seen record container volumes this year, but there is concern.
“The impacts of a sustained long-term trade war could be devastating to both economies,” Kenagy said.
Liang said he has hope, saying he thinks the trade war is actually political theater for the U.S. and China.
“China also has its position on trade. The Chinese government also has to be accountable to the 1.4 billion people of China. I think China and the U.S. will disagree over trade on the surface. (For Trump), it’s a show for the November midterm elections, so he can be accountable to the electorate,” Liang said.
Washington has been critical of China’s unfair trade practices and concerned with a trade imbalance. The U.S. imported more than $500 billion of Chinese goods last year compared to $130 billion of U.S. products exported to China.
These concerns and issues of American intellectual property are reasons the Trump administration announced tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports.
“If you’re utilizing this as a tactic, that’s fine. What are the steps that you’re going to use to mitigate some of these damages that will be happening to the local community? These are huge issues that have not been addressed yet,” Cheung said.
As the Trump administration announces tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports, the largest port complex in the United States is bracing for its impact. For the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, China is the largest trader, and what happens at these ports can ripple through the rest of the U.S. economy. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee reports.
Suspiciously cheap diamonds, jeans for $1 and a pair of skis for next to nothing. It’s not a dream, these are actual bargains at a store in a small town in Alabama. What it sells are the contents of lost airline baggage. Every year airline companies lose about 20 million suitcases, and while most of them find their way back to their owners, thousands of bags are never picked up. As Daria Dieguts found out, some of these lost items end up here at the lost baggage store in Alabama.
The United States has formally lifted a crippling ban on exports to the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE.
The Commerce Department said Friday that it had removed the ban after ZTE deposited $400 million in a U.S. bank escrow account as part of a settlement reached last month.
ZTE has already paid a $1 billion fine that is also part of its settlement with the U.S. government.
“While we lifted the ban on ZTE, the department will remain vigilant as we closely monitor ZTE’s actions to ensure compliance with all U.S. laws and regulations,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. He described the terms of the deal as the strictest ever imposed in such a case.
The Chinese company is accused of selling sensitive technologies to Iran and North Korea, despite a U.S. trade embargo.
In April, the Commerce Department barred ZTE from importing American components for its telecommunications products for the next seven years, practically putting the company out of business. However, Trump later announced a deal with ZTE in which the Chinese company would pay a $1 billion fine for its trade violations, as well as replace its entire management and board by the middle of July.
Lawmakers from both parties have criticized Trump’s efforts and have taken steps to block the White House’s efforts to revive ZTE. The Senate passed legislation last month included in a military spending bill that would block ZTE from buying component parts from the United States. That legislation now moves to a joint committee of House and Senate members who will decide the fate of the ZTE measure in a compromise defense bill.
Most of the world first heard of the dispute over ZTE in May after one of Trump’s tweets. “President Xi of China and I are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump said.
The White House released a report Thursday contending that the United States’ war on poverty — a drive that started over 50 years ago to improve the social safety net for the poorest citizens of the world’s largest economy — is “largely over and a success,” contrasting with other reports on the nation’s poor.
The report, authored by President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, called for federal aid recipients to be pushed toward work requirements.
The report says poverty, when measured by consumption, has fallen by 90 percent since 1961. It also says that only 3 percent of Americans currently live under the poverty line.
“The timing is ideal for expanding work requirements among non-disabled working-age adults in social welfare programs,” according to the report. “Ultimately, expanded work requirements can improve the lives of current welfare recipients and at the same time respect the importance and dignity of work.”
The council’s report contrasts with a U.N. report on poverty in the U.S. that was released last month. That report said about 12 percent of the U.S. population lives in poverty, and that the U.S. “leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality.”
Phillip Alston, a U.N. adviser on extreme poverty and the author of the report, wrote in December 2017 that he believed Trump and his administration, along with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, “will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes.”
In April, Trump signed an executive order outlining work mandates for low-income citizens on federal aid programs. These programs included Medicaid, which provides federal health insurance for low-income individuals, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides these low-income individuals with assistance in food purchasing.
Both programs were among those introduced in the 1960s, during the administration of then-President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat who coined the term “war on poverty” during his first State of the Union address.
Four state mandates
The Trump administration has already permitted four states — Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, and New Hampshire — to implement work requirement programs for Medicaid recipients, the first such restrictions enforced on the program. In June, however, a federal judge struck down Kentucky’s mandate, writing that the administration’s waiver “never adequately considered whether [the program] would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid.”
Anne Marie Regan, a senior staff attorney for the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, one of the organizations that successfully challenged the Kentucky waiver, told VOA that while she didn’t know the specifics of other states’ Medicare waivers, she thought similar challenges could be successful because of the administration’s insistence on work requirements.
Regan said her state’s proposal would have removed 95,000 people from health care coverage.
“The war on poverty is certainly not over,” Regan said. “There’s certainly still a great need for a safety net.”
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a farm bill that includes work requirements for some adults who receive food assistance benefits. Every Democrat, along with 20 Republicans, voted against the bill, which is not expected to pass the Senate.
Failing to let girls finish their education could cost the world as much as $30 trillion in lost earnings and productivity, yet more than 130 million girls are out of school globally, the World Bank said Wednesday.
Women who have completed secondary education are more likely to work and earn on average nearly twice as much as those with no schooling, according to a report by the World Bank.
About 132 million girls worldwide aged 6 to 17 do not attend school, while fewer than two-thirds of those in low-income nations finish primary school, and only a third finish lower secondary school, the World Bank said.
If every girl in the world finished 12 years of quality education, lifetime earnings for women could increase by $15 trillion to $30 trillion, according to the report.
“Overall, the message is clear: Educating girls is not only the right thing to do,” the World Bank said in the report, “it also makes economic and strategic sense for countries to fulfill their development potential.”
Other positive impacts of completing secondary school education for girls include a reduction in child marriage, lower fertility rates in countries with high population growth, and reduced child mortality and malnutrition, the World Bank said.
“We cannot keep letting gender inequality get in the way of global progress,” Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank chief executive, said in a statement.
The benefits of educating girls are considerably higher at secondary school level in comparison to primary education, said Quentin Wodon, World Bank lead economist and main report author.
“While we do need to ensure that, of course, all girls complete primary school, that is not enough,” Wodon told Reuters.
Women who have completed secondary education are at lesser risk of suffering violence at the hands of their partners, and have children who are less likely to be malnourished and themselves are more likely to go to school, the report said.
“When 130 million girls are unable to become engineers or journalists or CEOs because education is out of their reach, our world misses out on trillions of dollars,” Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in a statement.
“This report is more proof that we cannot afford to delay investing in girls,” said Yousafzai, an education activist who was shot in the head at the age of 15 by a Taliban gunman in 2012.
The report was published ahead of U.N. Malala Day on Thursday, which marks the birthday of the Pakistani activist.
Uber’s business in Kenya said on Friday it will keep its fares unchanged for now, after associations representing taxi drivers in the country signed a deal giving guidelines for better fares and working conditions.
“As of today, we will not be adjusting our fares as we are busy completing a deeper study of driver economics in light of the concerns and feedback that we have received from drivers to ensure that fares are correctly priced,” a spokesperson for Uber Technologies said in an email to Reuters.
The Digital Taxi Association of Kenya, representing more than 2,000 ride-hailing taxi drivers, signed a deal on Wednesday meant to give drivers higher pay and better conditions.
The drivers told Reuters they thought the deal would cushion them in the event of falling fares arising from discounts companies offers to passengers. They had staged a nine-day strike seeking higher fares and better working conditions.
As in other markets, these ride-hailing services in Kenya initially faced opposition and sometimes hostility from other taxi drivers.
Kenya is Uber’s second-largest market in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. It competes mostly against its local rival Taxify, which has gained popularity in Nairobi in the past year and a half, but does not disclose numbers of active riders and users.
U.S. senators Thursday continued a bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s punitive trade strategy, one day after an overwhelming vote asserting a congressional role in the imposition of tariffs for national security reasons. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Capitol Hill, where anti-tariff sentiment is strong but not universal.
President Donald Trump’s criticism of Germany’s involvement in a natural gas pipeline deal with Russia launched a tense two days of NATO meetings in Brussels — but it also may have set the tone for the U.S. leader’s highly anticipated summit with his Russian counterpart Monday in Helsinki.
In a taut exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Trump said Nord Stream 2 — an offshore pipeline that would deliver gas to Germany directly from Russia via the Baltic Sea — leaves the Western military alliance’s largest and wealthiest European member “totally controlled” by and “captive to” Russia.
“We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but [Germany is] paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,” Trump told Stoltenberg.
According to the U.S. leader, Germany “got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it’s something NATO has to look at.”
As Europe’s biggest natural gas consumer, Germany relies on Russia for roughly half of its gas imports, which account for 20 percent of its current energy mix, according to London-based Marex Spectron group. The International Energy Association projects German natural gas demand to increase by 1 percent in the next five years, as Berlin continues phasing out its nuclear power plants by 2022.
Expanding upon the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has been transporting gas from Russia to Germany along the same Baltic Sea route since 2011, Nord Stream 2, currently slated for completion by 2019, would roughly double Russia’s export volume.
Trump says the $11 billion, 800-mile pipeline expansion linking Russia and Germany would give Moscow greater geopolitical leverage over Europe at a time of heightened international tensions, an opinion in keeping with that of his his immediate predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and former President George W. Bush, who opposed Nord Stream 1.
The administrations have long pushed for Germany, Europe’s largest energy consumer, to buy American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in an attempt to overtake a sector of the market long dominated by Russian distribution routes that run through Ukraine.
Poland and Lithuania, who are among Nord Stream 2’s most vociferous European critics, have built LNG terminals that would stand to profit from an American takeover of the market. But other former Soviet satellite nations — such as Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia — have long warned that a growing reliance on Russian energy not only compromises European security, but rewards Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and other campaigns to destabilize the European Union.
There have been numerous price disputes between Moscow and Kyiv over natural gas deliveries to Ukraine, whose pipelines serve other European nations. In 2009, a disagreement between the two nations cut natural gas supplies to Western Europe in the middle of winter, leaving many without heat.
Nord Stream 2, they argue, will not only deprive land-transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine of billions in annual transit fees, it will also give Russia a way to penalize Eastern European foes without sacrificing lucrative deals further to the west.
According to Atlantic Council energy expert Agnia Grigas, Nord Stream 2 contradicts the EU’s official energy security strategy, which calls on EU nations to diversify energy sources, distributors and routes.
“If Nord Stream 2 is built, Germany would be the EU country most exposed to dubious Russian influence,” Grigas recently reported. “Moscow already has a track record of relying on German businesses and lawmakers to advance its own strategic goals. For instance, following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, large German companies with considerable business ties with Russia were among the harshest critics of Western sanctions against Moscow.”
As a private project backed by energy giants such as Shell — a British-Dutch multinational — Germany’s Wintershall and Uniper, along with Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, Nord Stream 2 is also being financed by private firms from Austria, France and Britain, but not by German tax funds.
In responding to Trump’s Wednesday tirade against Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she knew all too well from her childhood in the East what it is like to live under Soviet control. But she said energy deals with Russia do not make 21st-century Berlin beholden to Moscow.
“I am very happy that today we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that, we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions,” she said.
Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, a longtime friend of Putin, has championed the Nord Stream enterprise since just before being voted out of office in 2005. He soon went on to lead the shareholder committee of Nord Stream AG, a consortium for construction and operation of the submarine pipeline, eventually going on to become chairman of the Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company.
In March, European politicians increased calls for sanctions against the ex-chancellor for representing Russian interests, though his name has yet to appear on any lists of individuals targeted for sanctions.
Despite repeated U.S. warnings that companies involved in the deal also risk being slapped with sanctions, Nord Stream 2 is scheduled for completion next year.
This story originated in VOA’s Russian service.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that it would appeal a federal judge’s approval of AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
The Justice Department opted in June not to seek an immediate stay of the court’s approval of the merger, allowing the merger to close on June 14. The department still had 60 days to appeal the decision.
The government’s court filing did not disclose on what ground it intended to challenge the approval.
AT&T and the Justice Department did not immediately comment.
AT&T shares fell 1 percent after the bell.
The merger, announced in October 2016, was opposed by President Donald Trump. AT&T was sued by the Justice Department but won approval from a judge to move forward with the deal in June following a six-week trial.
Judge Richard Leon of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the tie-up between AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses and Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.
The Justice Department had argued the deal would harm consumers.
The U.S. is on pace to leapfrog both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer.
The latest data released by the Energy Information Administration shows U.S. output growing again next year to 11.8 million barrels a day.
Linda Capuano, who heads the agency, says that would make the U.S. the world’s No. 1 producer.
The director of the International Energy Agency, a group of oil-consuming countries, made a similar prediction in February.
Russia and Saudi Arabia pumped more crude than the U.S. last year.
Production is booming in U.S. shale fields because of newer techniques such as fracking and horizontal drilling.