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Friday, July 20, 2018

A government lawyer acknowledged Monday that the Trump administration will miss its first court-imposed deadline to reunite about 100 immigrant children under age 5 with their parents. Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian said during a court hearing that federal authorities reunited two families and expect to reunite an additional 59 by Tuesday’s deadline. She said the other cases are more complicated, including parents who have been deported or are in prison facing criminal charges, and would require more time to complete reunions. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who ordered the administration to reunite families separated as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, said he will hold another hearing Tuesday morning to get an update on the remaining cases. He said he was encouraged to see “real progress” in the complicated reunification process after a busy weekend when officials from multiple federal agencies tried to sync up parents and children who are spread across the country. STORY FROM LENDINGTREE Crush your mortgage interest with a 15 yr fixed “Tomorrow is the deadline. I do recognize that there are some groups of parents who are going to fall into a category where it’s impossible to reunite by tomorrow,” he said. “I am very encouraged by the progress. I’m optimistic.” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who leads a lawsuit against the federal government, sounded more skeptical. When asked by the judge if he believed the government was in full compliance of the court order, Gelernt said there was much more work to be done. “Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours has taken significant steps,” he said. “We just don’t know how much effort the government has made to find released parents. I don’t think there’s been full compliance.” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. (Photo: U.S. District Court) The difficulty in reuniting the first 100 children shows the challenge that lies ahead as the Trump administration braces for another deadline in two weeks to reunite nearly 3,000 older children – up to age 17 – with their parents. The process is complicated because of all the different situations that emerged over the weekend. The government initially identified 102 children under age 5 who needed to be reunited but removed three children from that list because investigations into their cases revealed that those children came with adults who were not their parents, Fabian said. Twelve parents were found to be in federal and state custody on criminal charges, making a reunification impossible since the government can’t transfer minors to state and local prisons to protect the well-being of the child. Nine parents were deported, and the government established contact with only four of them, Fabian said. Four children had been scheduled to be released from government custody to relatives who weren’t their parents, leading the government to question whether to allow that process to be completed or to redirect the child back to a parent. Gelernt said he understood many of the hurdles but urged the judge to force the government to scrap its time-consuming investigation into every single case and start a 48-hour clock to reunify families that remain separated by Tuesday. Sabraw said he would decide that during Tuesday’s hearing. Fabian said one of the silver linings of the busy weekend is that her office worked closely with its challengers at the ACLU to share information on each child’s case, to ensure that representatives from immigration advocacy groups and volunteer organizations could be present during each reunification. Gelernt said they’re doing that to help the parents, who are often released from custody with no money and nowhere to go. Fabian said that coordination has led to a more formalized process between government agencies and with the immigrants’ lawyers that should make reunifications go more smoothly in the coming weeks. “I think this process over the weekend helped us see what information, and in what form, is the most useful to share,” she said. “I’d like to make that as efficient a process as possible.” -

Monday, July 9, 2018

Trump denies US opposition to WHO breastfeeding resolution -

Monday, July 9, 2018

Havana plane crash leaves more than 100 dead -

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr bloc wins Iraq elections -

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: ‘We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families’ -

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Donald Trump says he will meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore -

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trump tells FBI: ‘I have your back 100%’ -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Mueller requests emails from Trump campaign data firm: report -

Friday, December 15, 2017

GOP changes child tax credit in bid to win Rubio’s vote -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Trump Jr. is berated for tweet about ‘Obama’s FCC’ chair, net ‘neutality’ -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on 19 May 2018 -

Friday, December 15, 2017

Walt Disney buys Murdoch’s Fox for $52.4bn -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Roy Moore says Alabama election ‘tainted’ by outside groups -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Eric Holder warns GOP: ‘Any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated’ -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Former British prime minister: Trump attacks on press are ‘dangerous’ -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

China says war must not be allowed on Korean peninsula -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Megyn Kelly left Fox News in part due to O’Reilly: report -

Saturday, April 15, 2017

North Korea warns against U.S. ‘hysteria’ as it marks founder’s birth -

Friday, April 14, 2017

British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia -

Thursday, April 13, 2017

EU rejects U.S. claim to have weaned Boeing off subsidies

The Boeing logo is seen on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane in Long Beach

GENEVA | Tue Sep 25, 2012

(Reuters) – U.S. aircraft giant Boeing is still getting U.S. subsidies despite Washington’s claim to have stopped the handouts, the European Union said on Tuesday in the latest round of the world’s biggest trade dispute.

The EU’s claim came one day after the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it had complied with a ruling by a World Trade Organisation dispute panel that found Boeing had benefited from illegal payments. The United States had until September 23 to comply.

“We had expected that the U.S. would have finally complied in good faith with its international commitments and would have abided by the WTO rulings that clearly condemned U.S. subsidies to Boeing”, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.

“We are disappointed that this does not seem to be the case. So, the U.S. leaves us with no other choice but to insist on proper compliance before the World Trade Organisation. We are confident that this process will finally lead to a level playing field in the aircraft sector.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the United States was confident it has fully complied with the WTO ruling against U.S. subsidies for Boeing, but was still studying the EU’s claim it had not.

“Based on our initial review, the EU simply does not account for many of the changes announced by the United States. For example, the EU included programs in its request that we made clear have been terminated,” USTR spokeswoman Andrea Mead said.

The U.S. has set out very clearly how it had complied with the WTO ruling, and the numerous steps it has taken to insure full compliance, Boeing spokesman Charlie Miller said.

The U.S. is still trying to stop European governments from subsidizing Airbus, including so-called launch aid for the Airbus A350 jet, Miller said.

“There is a crystal clear ruling against launch aid subsidies, yet the European governments are continuing to provide illegal subsidies for development of the A350,” Miller said. “The U.S. government is pursuing the WTO processes necessary to bring an end to these subsidies and Boeing fully supports the actions that the government is taking.”

The EU’s latest complaint is likely to result in meetings between the two sides about the EU case against the U.S., Miller said. At the same time, compliance hearings on the U.S. case are also taking place. “That is moving ahead rapidly,” Miller said. “It is likely that the compliance panel will make a ruling in the next few months.”

A U.S. industry official, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said the EU appeared to have decided to challenge the U.S. submission before it was even filed.

Typically, a country would first ask for more information and only take action if still dissatisfied, he said.

TRADE BATTLE

The EU’s complaint is part of a seven-year trade battle over subsidies for Boeing and Airbus. Washington and Brussels have both won WTO rulings that the other paid billions of dollars of illegal subsidies to its aircraft industry.

Both have claimed victory every step of the way. Boeing says the subsidies paid to Airbus were much bigger, while Airbus claims the U.S. breach of the rules was much more heinous.

The United States case claims the EU failed to withdraw subsidies for Airbus as required by Dec 1, 2011, and triggered a WTO arbitration to claim up to $10 billion. That process is effectively frozen until the two sides have exhausted other legal avenues.

Many trade experts expect the two sides to attempt to negotiate a settlement as the legal appeals and counter-appeals become increasingly entangled.

Such a deal could pave the way to wider agreement on subsidizing large civil aircraft, involving China, Japan, Brazil, Canada and Russia, which joined the WTO last month.

The industry is so capital-intensive that some experts say it is impossible to build big planes without government help. A global pact could set rules for subsidies, avoiding future spats among WTO members where airliners are built.

Frederico Curado, chief executive of Brazilian planemaker Embraer, told Reuters on Tuesday he hoped such an agreement would follow resolution of the Airbus-Boeing dispute.

Speaking on the sidelines of a WTO conference, Curado recalled a dispute between Brazil and Canada on aircraft financing 12 years ago that led to the creation of an agreement on aircraft financing, the Aircraft Sector Understanding.

“Hopefully from those two (WTO dispute) panels between the EU and United States, a similar framework agreement, a framework governance, could be reached. I think it will be important for the whole industry.

“Not only for the EU and U.S. but also for Brazil, for Canada, for Japan, for China and Russia, especially in those two countries with a state of capitalism where the frontier between a company and the state is very blurred. So something like that would be very important.”…( Tom Miles)

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Majority in U.S. Still Say Government Doing Too Much

Economy Survey
September 17, 2012

But fewer Americans now say government has too much power

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — A majority of Americans (54%) continue to believe the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, although that is down from the record high of 61% earlier this summer. About four in 10 Americans (39%) say the government should do more to solve the nation’s problems.

Trend: Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country's problems. Which comes closer to your own view?

Track the 2012 race and compare it to past elections >

Only a few times in Gallup’s 20-year history of asking this question has a higher percentage of Americans said the government should do more to solve the nation’s problems than said the government is doing too much. Two of these were in the fall of 1992 and again in early 1993, as Bill Clinton ran for and took office as president. Another was in October 2001, just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and at a time when Americans were especially supportive of government and its efforts to help the nation recover from the attacks and retaliate against those who were responsible.Americans have been most likely to say the government was attempting to do too much during the middle years of the Clinton administration, and in recent years during the Obama administration.

These data were collected as part of Gallup’s annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 6-9, which overlapped the end of the Democratic convention. Other Gallup measures from this poll, including satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S., were more positive this year than previously, suggesting that the convention may have made at least temporary changes in Americans’ perceptions.

Major Partisan Divide on Appropriate Role of Government

The appropriate role of government in addressing the nation’s problems is one of the most divisive issues in this year’s presidential election. President Barack Obama tends to support the idea that government should do more to address the country’s problems, while Mitt Romney generally takes the opposite view.

It is thus no surprise to find large partisan differences in Americans’ views on the appropriate role of government. Two-thirds of Democrats think government should do more, while an even larger percentage of Republicans say government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses. More than six in 10 independents agree that the government is doing too much.

Trend: Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country's problems. Which comes closer to your own view? By party ID

Fewer Say Government Has Too Much Power

A separate question in the Sept. 6-9 poll asked Americans to characterize the scope of government power. Americans are now basically split between those who say the federal government has too much power and those who say it has either the right amount of or too little power. This marks a change from the last two years; 57% last year and 59% in 2010 said the government has too much power.

Trend: Do you think the federal government today has too much power, has about the right amount of power, or has too little power?

Gallup first asked this question in September 2002, and found a majority of Americans saying the government had about the right amount of power — no doubt a legacy of the strong support the government and government institutions received after the 9/11 terrorist attacks of the previous year. By September 2005, however, these views had flipped, and more Americans said the government had too much power than felt its power was about right — and this has been the case each year since.

Partisans’ views on the government’s power are related to which party is in power. Republicans have been much more likely to agree that government has too much power since 2009, under a Democratic president, while they were comparatively less likely to say the government had too much power from 2002 through 2008, under a Republican president.

Trend by Party ID: Do you think the federal government today has too much power, has about the right amount of power, or has too little power?

The fact that Democrats for most of the Bush administration were more likely than Republicans to say the government had too much power probably reflected Democrats’ negative views on government power in the Bush years in terms of fighting terrorism, the Patriot Act, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Once Obama took office, however, these partisan views changed, and Republicans’ concern about government power overtook Democrats’. This partly reflects Republicans’ views on the role of government spending and government power in domestic and economic affairs.

Bottom Line

Americans continue to say the government is attempting to do too much that should be left to individuals and businesses, and about half say the government has too much power, while the rest say that its power is about right or that it has too little power. These views have moderated somewhat compared with prior surveys, most likely as a result of the apparently successful Democratic convention, which resulted in changes in a number of Gallup trends.

Republicans are much more likely to say the government is doing too much and has too much power than are Democrats, underscoring one of the most meaningful partisan and ideological divides facing the country today — and one that will continue to. play out in the presidential campaign this fall.

Track every angle of the presidential race on Gallup.com’s Election 2012 page.

 

Facebook says CEO won’t sell stock for 1 year

Facebook stock gets a reprieve after it says CEO Zuckerberg won’t sell shares for 1 year

Associated PressBy Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer | Associated Press

Symbol Price Change
MS 15.68 +0.17

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook’s stock got some reprieve in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company said its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, won’t sell stock in the company for at least the next 12 months.

Investors have been concerned with the expiration of lockup periods that allow insiders to sell stock in Facebook. If a lot of shares flood the market the stock price may fall.  Adding to those worries, Peter Thiel, a board member and Facebook’s earliest big investor, has shed most of his holdings in the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company.

In the Tuesday regulatory filing, Facebook allayed some of those fears. In addition to its disclosure about Zuckerberg’s plans, it said that two of its board members, Marc Andreessen and Donald Graham, plan to sell shares to cover taxes, but have no “present intention” to sell any additional stock.

Earlier in the day the social media company’s stock fell to its lowest point since its initial public offering after an analyst for the bank that orchestrated its IPO cut his target price on the stock to $32 from $38 saying that its mobile advertising revenue is just starting to grow. The latter was Facebook’s IPO price — the one it hasn’t hit since its first day of trading on May 18.

Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt still has an “Overweight” rating on Facebook stock. Doug Anmuth, an analyst at JPMorgan, which was another large underwriter of the offering, also cut his target price on Tuesday, to $30 from $45. He kept an “Overweight” rating as well.

Facebook’s stock fell to $17.55 in Tuesday trading, its lowest point ever, and closed down 33 cents at $17.73. That’s less than half of the stock’s initial public offering price of $38. It climbed 31 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $18.04 in after-hours trading following the disclosure that Zuckerberg will hold off on selling.

Facebook also said that it plans to report its third-quarter earnings on Oct. 23.

Insight: China’s steel traders expose banks’

By Ruby Lian and Kelvin Soh

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG | Sun Sep 2, 2012 6:00pm EDT

(Reuters) – China’s banks are coming after the country’s steel traders, hauling executives into court to chase down loans that some traders said they didn’t initially need and can’t now repay.

The heavy push to recover the loans is another sign of strain on China’s financial system at a time when the country’s leaders are contemplating another round of stimulus to boost the economy, and when banks are worried about bad debts piling up.

The battle between the banks and steel traders also exposes flaws in the 4 trillion ($629 billion) stimulus round in 2008, and offers a warning to those calling for pumping more money into the system. At that time, Chinese banks threw money at the steel trade – a crucial cog in supplying the country’s massive construction and infrastructure growth.

But those steel loans, after offering a quick fix, became excessive, poorly managed, or a combination of the two. Government officials insisted more money was needed to prop up the industry. Steel executives said the money flow was too heavy, and they had to put the money to work in real estate and the stock market.

“After the financial crisis, when the government released its stimulus, banks begged us to borrow money we didn’t need,” Li Huanhan, the owner of Shanghai Shunze Steel Trading, told a judge at a recent hearing. “We had nothing to do with the money, so we turned to other investments, like real estate.”

PLUSH APARTMENTS

While some loans did go towards equipment and expansion, executives admit money was also used for pet property projects, plush apartments and stock market bets.

By the end of last year, China’s steel industry had a total debt burden of $400 billion – around the size of South Africa’s economy. Some of China’s leading mills alone owe 200-300 billion yuan ($32-$47 billion), according to the China Iron and Steel Association.

The aggressive tack by China’s lenders, many of which are state-controlled, comes as pressure builds inside a stretched financial system. Results at China’s big banks show profit growth is at its weakest since the global financial crisis, while bad loans rose for a third straight quarter to 456.5 billion yuan ($71.8 billion) by June, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said this month.

Steel traders are unlikely to be helping the bad loan issue, with Shanghai steel futures having almost halved from their 2009 highs to below 3,400 yuan ($540) a metric ton (1.1023 ton).

As the steel market turned – a victim of crippling over-capacity, heavy debt and sliding prices – alarm bells sounded among banks and regulators about the risk of lending to the industry. In June, after months of cajoling, banks were ordered to clamp down on new lending to steel traders.

Steel industry executives complain the banks went overboard.

“Banks should consider the greater good and not just focus on protecting their own interests,” said Xiao Zhicheng, head of the Zhouning Chamber of Commerce that overlooks Shanghai’s steel trading industry’s interests. “Instead of pumping in more blood to save the patient, it’s choosing to draw more blood.”

TAKEN TO COURT

In one Shanghai courtroom, steel trading firm boss Li tries to fend off a fed-up lender. China Minsheng Bank, the country’s eighth-biggest lender, is trying to recover 3 million yuan ($472,100) of loans it made to the trading firm.

When the bank recalled the loan in June, Li tried to sell two Shanghai apartments she had used as collateral. In a flat property market, she came up empty-handed.

Her plea for more time to repay is one of more than 20 court cases Chinese banks have taken against steel traders. The targets tend to be mainly smaller trading firms with fewer than 50 employees, as the larger state-backed steel firms have more cash reserves.

These traders are mainly based in and around Shanghai, a tight-knit community drawn from Zhouning in the southern province of Fujian. At its peak in 2009, some 12,000 steel trading companies were scattered across the city, accounting for close to 3 percent of Shanghai’s GDP, according to the local business chamber.

By some estimates, the number of steel traders has fallen by half, as steel prices crumpled in the third quarter of 2011.

“The court cases you see are usually when things get desperate,” said a loans official at a Shanghai branch of Bank of Communications, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. “We’ve had people go missing. Some have fled overseas, while others just take on a new identity and move somewhere else.”

The owner of one of China’s biggest steel trading firms, Yizhou Group, skipped the country with his wife and children after piling up about 1 billion yuan ($157 million) in loans to banks including Bank of Communications, the official said.

Calls to Yizhou were not answered.

In the Shanghai courtroom, lawyers for Minsheng Bank told Li after the hearing that banks were desperate to recall loans as they had heard of some borrowers going missing with tens of millions of yuan still owed.

“One trader fled to Australia after borrowing 23 million yuan, while others used their property as collateral to several banks at the same time ” Li said, recounting what she’d heard from a lawyer. “So banks are very cautious and taking immediate action against borrowers if they don’t repay.”

Another steel trader said banks promised fresh loans once existing loans had been repaid, but then withdrew credit lines.

“Some banks lied to us that they will give out new loans immediately after we repay the old ones, but they never really did. They just shut down the credit lines after they got the money back,” said a Fujian trader surnamed Xiao from a small Shanghai trading firm with just eight employees.

Some traders resorted to finding private lending at a much higher cost so they could pay back bank loans, in the hope of getting new loans from the banks – leaving them mired in expensive debt when the banks pulled the plug.

“The banks have taken a tougher stance this year and not only required company assets to be used as collateral but also required the borrowers to use their own property as collateral,” said Xiao.

HIGH RISK, HIGH RATES

For the banks, lending to steel traders was highly profitable while it lasted.

China Minsheng charged interest rates of up to 24 percent a year to small- and medium-sized trading firms, according to some in the industry – four times the government-set lending rate.

Bankers say the higher rates they charge are a direct response to the higher risk profile the steel traders carry, and not a single Minsheng loan to steel traders can be called a non-performing loan under China’s four-tier classification system, said Shi Jie, assistant to Minsheng Bank’s president.

“The steel trading sector is a particularly high-risk sector,” Shi said. “We’ve been very carefully controlling our risks there, and working with borrowers to come to a reasonable agreement if there are problems.”

In China, a loan is only classified as non-performing if it is overdue for more than 90 days and the borrower has missed interest payments. Otherwise, troubled loans can be classified under a different category known as “special mention” loans, or they can be called “overdue”.

Domestic steel prices rose by 25 percent in April-September 2009 before prices slumped. While the industry rode the price spike, bank loans offered a route to investing outside the industry.

The most common loan method was through a letter of credit, where banks paid for a trader’s purchase and then gave the trader 3-12 months to repay. That allowed traders a window where they could sell the goods and use the proceeds to invest.

Executives say they couldn’t refuse the money coming in, and the cash did sometimes go into real estate or even ‘shadow banking’, where they would take the loan and lend it to another party at a higher rate.

FLIGHT, SUICIDES

Bank of China said loans to industries at risk of overcapcity, such as steel and shipbuilding, made up less than 4 percent of its total loans and had a bad debt ratio lower than its overall loan book.

“We’re looking to cut our exposure to industries at risk of overcapacity,” the bank’s president Li Lihui said. “Internally, we are raising our own risk control measures and working with clients to cut our risk exposure.”

Shanghai Gangmin Metals, which borrowed from banks including China Construction Bank, said most of the money was used to pay for steel supplies, though it did have other investments.

“Money obviously needs to be put to work … you can’t let it sit in a bank account,” said the company’s general manager Su Cheng. “Ultimately, we think we’ll be able to reach a reasonable agreement with the banks. We just need more time.”

Many of Su’s peers aren’t so confident.

Reports of steel traders fleeing China are becoming more widespread, as are local media articles of indebted executives committing suicide.

Ratings agency Fitch said last week that China’s steel sector continued to suffer from oversupply and weak prices could persist through the first quarter of 2013. China’s biggest steelmaker Baoshan Iron and Steel has predicted a “most difficult” third-quarter.

“There’s good reason for the banks’ lack of confidence in steel traders,” said Arthur Kwong, head of Asia Pacific Equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners in Hong Kong, which has total assets under management of $640 billion globally. “When you have an industry where people run away after falling behind on their loans, that doesn’t inspire a lot of people.”

(Reporting by Ruby Lian in SHANGHAI and Kelvin Soh in HONG KONG; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Ian Geoghegan)

CHINA

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