President Donald Trump on Thursday called the Mueller probe a “coup,” and said Hillary Clinton destroyed the lives of people on his presidential campaign.
“We had people coming out to vote from all over this country that are in love with what we’re doing. It’s called Make America Great Again, and that’s what we’ve done and what we’re doing. This was an overthrow, and it’s a disgraceful thing. I think it’s far bigger than Watergate. I think it’s possibly the biggest scandal in political history in this country.”
“This was a coup. This wasn’t stealing information from an office in the Watergate apartments,” he added, referring to the scandal that led to former President Richard Nixon’s resignation. “This was an attempted coup. Like a third world country. Inconceivable. I think a lot of information is coming out, and it’s coming out fast, much faster than anybody would have thought, and there are a lot of people very nervous about things that are going on.”
Trump’s phone call into the show came a day after Clinton published a column in The Washington Post calling for Congress to be “deliberate, fair, and fearless,” in continuing Mueller’s work by holding substantive hearings that build on the report “and fill in its gaps.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un on Thursday accused the United States of operating in “bad faith” at February’s Hanoi summit, which produced no breakthroughs in talks about the North’s denuclearization and U.S. sanctions.
Kim added peace on the peninsula depended on the United States’ “future attitude.“
At the meeting in Vietnam between the two leaders, Trump had demanded sanctions relief only if North Korean abandoned its nuclear weapons program. Kim wanted sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling a single nuclear facility.
But the balance the U.S. sought shifted dramatically Thursday, when Kim met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin — a sit-down described by the Korean Central News Agency as “unreserved and friendly,” AFP reported.
Kim declared “the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point,” the news agency reported. And he warned the situation “may return to its original state as the U.S. took an unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-US summit talks.”
“Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the U.S. future attitude, and the DPRK will gird itself for every possible situation,” he said, AFP reported.
Kim said he hoped to usher in a “new heyday” in ties between Pyongyang and Moscow.
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind an oil pump outside Saint-Fiacre, near Paris, France March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
April 26, 2019
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices dipped on Friday on hopes that producer club OPEC will soon raise output to make up for a decline in exports from Iran following a tightening of sanctions on Tehran by the United States.
Despite this, oil markets remain tight amid supply disruptions and rising geopolitical concerns especially over the tensions between the United States and Iran, analysts said.
Brent crude futures were at $74.16 per barrel at 0223 GMT, down 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $64.83 per barrel, down 38 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their previous settlement.
The dip followed Brent’s rise above $75 per barrel for the first time this year on Thursday after Germany, Poland and Slovakia suspended imports of Russian oil via a major pipeline, citing poor quality. The move cut parts of Europe off from a major supply route.
But prices were already gaining before the Russian disruption, driven up by supply cuts led by the Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. Crude futures are up around 40 percent so far this year.
Washington said on Monday it would end all exemptions for sanctions against Iran, demanding countries halt oil imports from Tehran from May or face punitive action.
To make up for the shortfall from Iran, the United States is pressuring OPEC’s de-facto leader Saudi Arabia to end its voluntary supply restraint.
“The U.S. will continue to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift its production to cover the supply gap,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA.
Jefferies bank said “a drop to 500,000 to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) now seems realistic” for Iranian oil exports, adding that “at least China and potentially India and Turkey will continue to import Iranian crude”.
“OPEC will make up for the shortfall,” the U.S. investment bank said.
Despite U.S. efforts to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, many analysts expect some oil to still seep out of the country.
“A total of 400,000 to 500,000 barrels per day of crude and condensate will continue to be exported,” said energy consultancy FGE, down from around 1 million bpd currently.
Most of this oil would be smuggled out of Iran or go to China despite the sanctions.
China, the world’s biggest buyer of Iranian oil, this week formally complained to the United States over its unilateral Iran sanctions.
Although most analysts expect some Iranian oil to keep flowing, they expect markets to remain tight amid little spare capacity and the high geopolitical tension.
“The oil market remains tight … (and) oil prices will rise,” FGE chairman Fereidun Fesharaki said on Friday in a note, adding that “$80 to $100 per barrel oil is around the corner”.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia in this undated photo released on April 25, 2019 by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS
April 25, 2019
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said peace and security on the Korean Peninsula will entirely depend on future U.S. attitude, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday.
Kim’s remarks are seen as keeping pressure on the United States to be “more flexible” in accepting Pyongyang’s demands to ease sanctions, compared to the U.S. stance during his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February which broke down, as Kim said earlier this month.
Kim said at the time he will wait “until the end of this year” for the United States to become more flexible.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state as the U.S. took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-U.S. summit talks,” KCNA reported Kim saying, using North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The DPRK will gird itself for every possible situation.” Kim added.
Kim invited Putin to North Korea at a convenient time and Putin accepted, KCNA said.
The first face-to-face talks between Putin and Kim, held on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok on Thursday, did not appear to have yielded any major breakthrough.
Russia and North Korea agreed to more closely promote mutual understanding and bonds, and boost strategic collaboration for ensuring regional peace and security, KCNA said.
Putin said afterward he thought a deal on Pyongyang’s nuclear program was possible and that the way to get there was to move forward step by step in order to build trust.
But any U.S. guarantees might need to be supported by the other nations involved in previous six-way talks on the nuclear issue, Putin said, which was seen as a way to use the summit to strengthen Russia’s diplomatic clout as a global player.
Russia and North Korea agreed to take measures to further cooperate in trade, economy, science and technology, KCNA said.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyonhee Shin in Seoul; Editing by Chris Reese and James Dalgleish)
FILE PHOTO: Colin Huang, founder and CEO of the online group discounter Pinduoduo, speaks during the company’s stock trading debut at the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York, during an event in Shanghai, China July 26, 2018. Picture taken July 26, 2018. Yin Liqin/CNS via REUTERS
April 25, 2019
(Reuters) – The United States on Thursday added China’s third-largest e-commerce platform to its list of “notorious markets” for violations of intellectual property rights and kept China on its priority watch list for piracy and counterfeiting concerns.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office placed Pinduoduo.com, which USTR described as third largest by number of users, on its blacklist of commercial marketplaces that fail to curb the sale of counterfeit products. It also kept Alibaba Group’s taobao.com, China’s largest e-commerce platform, on the list.
USTR’s annual review of trading partners’ protection of intellectual properties rights and so-called “notorious markets” comes as the United States and China are embroiled in negotiations to end a tit-for-tat tariff battle that has roiled supply chains and cost both countries billions of dollars. The two countries are due to resume talks in Beijing next week.
China’s inclusion on the list “reflects the urgent need to remediate a range of intellectual property-related concerns,” a USTR official told reporters on a call to discuss the report.
He noted longstanding concerns that have been voiced by the Trump administration in the trade talks, including “coercive” technology transfer requirements, widespread copyright infringement and “rampant” piracy and counterfeiting.
The official declined to discuss how the talks with China were going, but said that additional actions using Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 were possible. The United States has levied tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods under the act.
Of Pinduoduo.com, USTR said in the report: “Many of (the site’s) price-conscious shoppers are reportedly aware of the proliferation of counterfeit products on pinduoduo.com but are nevertheless attracted to the low-priced goods on the platform.”
While Alibaba has taken steps to address counterfeit products offered and sold on the Taobao marketplace, companies continue to see widespread infringement, USTR said.
A spokesperson for Alibaba said the company disagreed with USTR’s decision to keep it on the list, adding the company’s practices are considered “best-in-class” by industry members.
“In fact, zero industry associations called for our inclusion in the report this year. We will continue to wage this fight against counterfeiters,” Brion Tingler, head of external affairs, said in an emailed statement.
A total of 36 countries were on this year’s overall watch list of trade partners warranting additional bilateral engagement over these issues, including Russia and India.
In addition, USTR raised Saudi Arabia to include it among 11 countries on the priority list. The bump-up in Saudi Arabia’s status as a concern was in part due to an illicit service for pirated content called BeoutQ, the report said.
Despite “extensive engagement” in Saudi Arabia by both U.S. government and private stakeholders, treatment of intellectual property rights “continued to deteriorate,” USTR said.
Canada was removed as a priority because of commitments made in the U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade pact agreed in 2018. It remained on the overall watch list, however. Tajikistan was removed from the list due to “concrete steps” to improve its intellectual property regime, the agency said.
USTR also called out free trade zones as places where counterfeiting can be rampant. In thousands of such zones across 130 economies, including in Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore, manufacturers and logistics companies are subject to different customs regulations and duties than they are elsewhere, it said.
The more “barrier-free” environment can draw illegal activity like the trade and manufacture of counterfeit and pirated goods without proper oversight, USTR said.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice in New York and David Lawder in Washington; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall)
FILE PHOTO: Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera attends a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, April 24, 2019. Parker Song/Pool via REUTERS
April 25, 2019
(Reuters) – Chilean President Sebastian Pinera kicked off an investment forum in China on Thursday with an invitation for the Asian giant to use Chile as a jumping off point to do business in Latin America, even as Washington has warned Chile to proceed with caution.
Pinera told the forum that Chile’s objective was to attract more investment from Chinese companies in technology, electric vehicles, telecommunications, and e-commerce.
“We want to transform Chile into a business center for Chinese companies, so that you can, from Chile, reach out to all of Latin America,” Pinera told Chinese investors at an investment and innovation forum in Beijing, according to a Chilean government statement.
The Chilean president’s visit to China, the Andean nation’s top trading partner, comes just weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Chile and slammed China’s “nefarious” actions and “predatory” lending practices, which critics say leave borrowers beholden to Beijing.
China rejected Pompeo’s criticisms, calling them “slanderous” and “irresponsible.”
Pinera has met with several Chinese electric vehicle makers during his week-long visit to Asia, including BYD and Yutong. Chile is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries.
He also met executives from ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, which is planning to take on U.S. rival Uber in some of Latin America’s fastest-growing markets, including Chile.
It was not immediately clear whether Pinera would meet with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei during the visit. Chile has been in talks with Huawei since at least 2017 regarding a possible trans-Pacific fiber optic cable, and other projects.
Pompeo earlier this month warned Chile that Chinese technology, including equipment made by Huawei, poses a security risk that could affect information sharing by the United States.
U.S. influence in Latin America has been increasingly challenged by China, whose booming economy over the past two decades has driven up demand for South America’s raw materials.
Chile, among Latin America’s most open economies and the world’s top copper exporter, has sought to remain neutral amid the growing tensions, promoting instead the need for open markets and trade.
(Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Natalia Ramos in Santiago, writing by Dave Sherwood, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
The United States is in the middle of a cyberwar, but President Donald Trump is compromised and the “federal government is asleep at the switch,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Thursday while insisting that President Donald Trump’s tax returns will be released through a subpoena rather than leaked.
“That will be the product of a subpoena process,” Perez told CNN’s “New Day,” after he was asked if a candidate will use the documents if they are leaked. “We are entitled to that. If you look at the law that Chairman [Richard] Neal of the House Ways and Means Committee is using, it’s clear.”
However, he added that the DNC and the party are working to protect its data and working with all their campaigns to provide cybersecurity training, because “we can’t expect help from the administration.”
The tactics of cyberattacks aren’t about “right versus left,” but instead, “right versus wrong,” insisted Perez.
“A foreign adversary, Russia, they hacked the DNC and others,” said Perez. “They did so with the intent to interfere with our presidential election. What we said in the letter is when we have such activity, if someone calls and tells you ‘I’m going to rob a bank,’ your response should be ‘I’m going to call the authorities.’
When Russian called President Donald Trump’s campaign and said they had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, they should have called the authorities, he continued.
Meanwhile, Perez said the committee is welcoming former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced his presidential candidacy on Thursday, to the race.
“The video was very powerful,” said Perez. “As he points out, this is a battle for the soul of our nation.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: A man looks at an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
April 25, 2019
By Tom Wilson
LONDON (Reuters) – World equity markets slipped on Thursday amid worries on global growth and as investors digested European earnings, while the Swedish crown slumped to its lowest in 17 years and the euro suffered after German data.
The Euro STOXX 600 lost 0.3 percent in early trading, with concern over prospects for global growth underscored by weak economic data from South Korea.
Energy stocks and a 10 percent drop in Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia dragged down European shares, with a varied bag of earnings for the region’s banks.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, also fell 0.3 percent.
Asian markets had fallen earlier in the day, losing 0.5 percent as South Korea’s economy unexpectedly contracted in the first quarter, giving a sharp reminder of the fragility of the world economy beyond the United States.
Shanghai’s bourse also fell sharply late in the day, losing more than 2 percent as other Chinese markets lost ground after attempts by the central bank to temper expectations for further easing of monetary policy.
Chinese officials also warned of protracted pressure on economic growth, casting a shadow over hopes for a sustained recovery in the world’s second biggest economy.
Those worries on growth also played out closer to home for European investors, with fears lingering over the state of the German economy after a survey on Wednesday showed German business morale falling.
Amid that weakness, central banks across the world have maintained ultra-loose monetary policy. The Bank of Japan on Thursday pledged to keep interest rates very low at least until early 2020, even as it retained main policy targets.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei gave a muted response, while the Japanese yen also reacted little. The yen was last up about a third of a percent, at 111.80 yen per dollar.
“You certainly have a common response (from central banks) to a global growth slowdown in terms of monetary policy,” said Peter Schaffrik, head of European rates strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
“We haven’t generally seen outright reduction, but it is easing relative to what was previously communicated to, and implied in, the markets.”
There were signs of growing strength in the U.S. dollar, which analysts said was partly a symptom of the world’s largest economy maintaining relative strength and others, such as China, faring worse.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback versus a basket of six major peers, stood at around at 98.001, near its highest since May 2017 hit on Wednesday.
“The Fed isn’t keen to hike rates, but they are the strongest of the bunch so money will gravitate toward the U.S. dollar,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets in London.
CROWN AND LIRA
The Swedish crown slumped to its lowest since August 2002, after the central bank said weak inflationary pressures meant a forecast rate hike would come slighter later than planned, holding benchmark borrowing costs unchanged.
The crown sank 1.2 percent against the euro to 10.65 – on course for its biggest daily drop in more than six months.
Monetary policy also loomed for emerging markets currencies.
Turkey’s lira weakened against the dollar, losing 0.2 percent hours before a central bank policy decision that could test its willingness to maintain tight monetary policy and support the currency in the face of recession. The rate decision is due at 1100 GMT.
The euro suffered its worst day in over six weeks, falling 0.6 percent to a 22-month following the further signs of flagging growth in Germany. It was last at $1.1141.
Also on the agenda for the single currency were Spanish elections on Sunday and economic concerns out of Italy.
Brent crude oil on Thursday rose above $75 per barrel for the first time in 2019 in the wake of tightening sanctions on Iran, while gains in U.S. prices were crimped by a surge in U.S. supply.
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets, please click on: [LIVE/]
(Reporting by Tom Wilson in London; Editing by Janet Lawrence)