Paris, Aug 23 (AP/UNB) — In a sharp escalation of tensions with Brazil, France is accusing President Jair Bolsonaro of having lied to French leader Emmanuel Macron and says it now opposes a trade deal with the South American bloc Mercosur because of his environmental back-peddling.
A statement from the Elysee Palace accused Bolsonaro of failing to respect his "commitments on the climate" and of failing to protect biodiversity and said that Macron "can only note that President Bolsonaro lied to him."
The angry language follows a spat on Twitter between the two leaders, after Macron angered Bolsonaro by calling on G-7 nations to act for the Amazon being ravaged by wildfires.
Rarely have French President Emmanuel Macron and superstar soccer players including Cristiano Ronaldo been on the same page, but when it comes to the fires that are devastating the Amazon, they're uniting in sounding the alarm.
Five-time world player of the year Ronaldo beat Macron to the punch with his tweet urging action on the Amazon that, by Friday morning, had already racked up more than a quarter-million likes.
Ronaldo tweeted "the Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world's oxygen and it's been burning for the past 3 weeks. It's our responsibility to help to save our planet."
Macron's tweet later was similarly urgent, saying "Our house is burning. Literally." Macron put the Amazon fires on the agenda for the G-7 summit of world leaders that France is hosting this weekend.
Beijing, Aug 23 (AP/UNB) — China on Friday announced tariff hikes on $75 billion of U.S. products in retaliation for President Donald Trump's planned increase, deepening a trade war that threatens to tip the global economy into recession.
The tariffs of 10% and 5% take effect on two batches of goods on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It gave no details of what goods would be affected but the timing matches Trump's planned duty hikes.
The spiraling conflict over China's trade surplus and technology ambitions has fueled concern among companies and investors that it might drag down already weakening global economic growth.
China's government appealed to Trump this week to compromise in order to break a deadlock in negotiations.
Trump previously announced plans to raise tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods after talks broke down in May. They were due to take effect Sept. 1 but some were postponed to Dec. 15.
Dhaka, Aug 22 (UNB) - From now on, the Walton brand electronics and ICT products will be available in USA. For this, Bangladeshi electronics giant Walton has signed a deal with e-commerce giant Amazon. Under this agreement, various Walton brand products will be sold globally using the Amazon platform.
This deal will allow Amazon to take all kinds of Walton products. But initially, Walton brand laptops, computers, mobile phones and home appliance products will be sold in the American market, says a press release.
The agreement was signed on Thursday (August 22, 2019) at the corporate office of Walton in Dhaka where State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak was present as chief guest.
Shashank Pandey, Country Manager of Amazon BD and Engineer Liakat Ali, Executive Director of Walton Group and CEO of Computer Products Division signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.
Vice-Chairman of Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited S M Shamsul Alam, Managing Director S M Ashraful Alam, Walton Corporation Chairman S M Mahbubul Alam, Walton DG-Tech Industries Limited Chairman S M Rezaul Alam, Managing Director of the RB Group of Companies Tahmina Afrose Tanna, Managing Director of Walton Chemical Industries Raisa Sigma Hima and president of international business unit of Walton Group Edward Kim along with the top officials of Amazon and Walton were present on the occasion.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak along with high officials of the two companies spoke at the signing ceremony of MoU between Amazon and Walton.
Tamarind EX, a new model of Walton laptop, was also unveiled on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, ‘Products made in Bangladesh are going to the American market. This is not only a historic day for Walton, but also for Bangladesh as well. It’s historic day for digital Bangladesh. Walton products are being exported to the country which lead the world's digital economy. This is a big achievement for us.’
I consider Walton not a private company but our national pride. They are making a significant contribution to the economy of the country. They are our partners in making Bangladesh a digital country, he added.
Shashank Pandey said, ‘Today is an important day for Amazon, Walton and Bangladesh. There is a global demand for the products made in Bangladesh. Through this deal, Walton products will be available on Amazon's global platform.’
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak unveils Tamarind EX, a new model of Walton laptop.
Speaking on the occasion, Edward Kim said that Walton's target is to build a strong position in the global market through the export of $1 billion worth products. Therefore, in addition to its own brand, emphasis has been given on increasing the volume of business in the international market through OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).
This deal with Amazon is opening up Bangladesh’s products to the American market that will pave the way for Walton to become one of the world's top brands by 2030.
San Francisco, Aug 22 (AP/UNB) — Trolling off the California coast, Sarah Bates leans over the side of her boat and pulls out a long, silvery fish prized by anglers and seafood lovers: wild king salmon.
Reeling in a fish "feels good every time," but this year has been surprisingly good, said Bates, a commercial troller based in San Francisco.
Bates and other California fishermen are reporting one of the best salmon fishing seasons in years, thanks to heavy rain and snow that ended the state's historic drought.
It's a sharp reversal for chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, an iconic species that helps sustain many Pacific Coast fishing communities.
Commercial salmon catches have surpassed official preseason forecasts by about 50%, said Kandice Morgenstern, a marine scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Harvests have been particularly strong in Morro Bay, Monterey and San Francisco, but weaker along California's northern coast.
"We're really surprised to be seeing this many fish being landed so far this season," Morgenstern said.
The salmon rebound comes after three years of extremely low catches that resulted from poor ocean conditions and California's five-year drought, which drained the state's rivers and reservoirs.
Over the past several years, regulators imposed severe fishing restrictions to protect chinook salmon, and officials declared federal fishery disasters in 2018 to assist fishing communities in California, Oregon and Washington.
This year's adult salmon are the first class to benefit from record rainfall that filled California rivers and streams in early 2017, making it easier for juvenile chinook to migrate to the Pacific Ocean, where they grow into full-size fish.
Chinook salmon are also being helped by improved ocean conditions that have produced an abundance of anchovies, krill and other feed. Several years ago, an El Nino event brought unusually warm water to the Pacific Coast and disrupted the marine ecosystem.
"For the salmon fishermen who've been dealing with disaster for so long, this is an incredible boon to their livelihoods," said Noah Oppenheim, who heads the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations.
The strong salmon season, which typically runs from May to October, is positive environmental news at a time of growing anxiety about climate change. A United Nations report released this month warns that global warming threatens food supplies worldwide.
Morgenstern says climate change is creating greater fluctuations in ocean and river conditions, making chinook fisheries "less stable, less predictable and more challenging for fishery managers."
Most of the chinook salmon now being caught come from the Sacramento River and its tributaries, where they spawn. Many were raised in state-run hatcheries then released into rivers to swim to the ocean. Harvests of chinook from rivers farther north have not been strong.
For consumers, the bountiful harvest has driven down wild salmon prices to $15 to $20 per pound, compared with $30 to $35 per pound in recent years. Fishermen are making up for the difference by catching more fish.
"The market is dictating right now that there's a lot of salmon, so the customers don't have to pay as much," said Gordon Drysdale, culinary director at Scoma's, a seafood restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
The wharf is one of many California fishing communities now benefiting from the salmon boom. Pier 45, where boats unload their fish, hasn't been this busy in many years, said Larry Collins, who runs the San Francisco Community Fishing Association.
"This year started out with a bang, and it's just kept banging the whole time," Collins said. "We're all really excited and happy the fish showed up."
On a recent morning, commercial fisherman Brand Little, who sells to customers in the Lake Tahoe area, returned from four days of fishing with nearly 200 salmon weighing more than 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms).
"Best trip of the season," Little said. "It's been a long time coming."
The salmon boom is also welcomed by sport fishermen and the boat operators who take them out to the ocean.
"When the fish are biting, it's always good for business for us," said Mike Rescino, who runs a charter boat. "When the people see the big reports, they're going to come out and go fishing with us."
Frankfurt, Aug 22 (AP/UNB) — Imagine lending money to someone and having to pay for the privilege of doing so. Or being asked to invest and informed of how much money you'll lose.
Sounds absurd, but increasingly that's the global bond market these days. A rising share of government and corporate bonds are trading at negative interest yields — a financial twilight zone that took hold after the financial crisis and has accelerated on fear that a fragile global economy will be further damaged by the U.S.-China trade war.
On Wednesday, for the first time ever, the German government sold 30-year bonds at a negative interest rate. The bonds pay no coupon interest at all. Yet bidders at the auction were willing to pay more than the face value they would receive back when the bonds mature.
The sale added to the mountain of negative-yielding bonds around the world that investors have gobbled up, suggesting that they expect global growth and inflation to remain subpar for years to come. After all, accepting a negative yield on a bond — agreeing, in effect, to lose money in exchange for parking money in a safe place — could reflect expectations that yields will sink even further into negative territory.
"You're essentially paying a warehouse fee by paying these negative rates," said Jim Bianco of Bianco Research in Chicago.
Worldwide debt with negative rates has surged to $16.4 trillion from $12.2 trillion in mid-July and $5.7 trillion in October, Bianco said.
"Until a few months ago, negative-yielding debt was an interesting curiosity," he said. "In the last three months, it's become a mainstay in the marketplace."
The negative-yield phenomenon — 87% of it in Europe and Japan combined — is above all sign of pessimism about the future.
"This is like a temperature gauge for the economy, and it says the economy is sick," said Sung Won Sohn, business economist at Loyola Marymount University in California.
The bond market is also responding to expectations that many central banks such as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank will respond to economic weakness and the raging trade conflict between the U.S. and China by unleashing more stimulus to try to drive down interest rates. The ECB has indicated that it may decide on a stimulus package as soon as its Sept. 12 meeting.
Despite its strong credit rating and demand for its bonds, Germany is a big part of the growth problem for the eurozone. The German economy shrank 0.1 percent in the second quarter and could tip into recession with another quarter of falling output.
Negative rates aren't just an indicator of economic distress. They can cause problems in the financial system, too. They make it harder for banks to turn a profit or for insurance companies to fund their future payouts.
"Why would you want to lend money when you can't make money?" Sohn said.
Indeed, bank stocks have tumbled — 24% in Europe and 23% in Japan — over the past year.
Most of the negative-yielding debt is in government bonds, in part because they are seen as ultra-safe. But there are also about $60 billion U.S. corporate bonds that are in negative territory.
Something similar is going on with U.S. government debt: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has sagged to 1.57% — a rate that would amount to a negative one after accounting for inflation. Japan has been stuck in years of low inflation and sluggish growth. And growth rates in Europe have slowed in recent quarters.
German bonds are prime candidates for negative rates. The country's financial solidity means that safety-seeking investors will at least receive most of their money back. German 10-year bonds yield negative 0.69%. Other countries with negative yields on government bonds include Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Spain.
What was especially unusual about the German bond sale was its long maturity. As anyone who has shopped for a bank CD knows, you usually get more interest the longer your money is tied up. Yet bond yields are sagging not just for shorter term issues but also for longer-term bonds.
The negative yields on German bonds have fueled debate over the government's insistence on running budget surpluses and avoiding new debt, even though the government could borrow to spend more on roads and bridges and in effect be paid to do so.
Economists and such outside voices as the U.S Treasury and the International Monetary Fund say Germany could support growth at home and abroad by spending more. Germany's economy shrank 0.1% in the second quarter, held back by slowing global trade and the auto industry's adjustment to tough emissions standards and new technologies.
A little bond math helps to understand things. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions. If investors think inflation and interest rates will rise above levels now reflected in bond yields, they may sell the bond, sending its yield higher. Conversely, demand for bonds — as seen now — drives the price up and the yield down. The more investors foresee low growth and low inflation ahead, the more willing they become to buy bonds that offer low returns. They can earn healthy returns from rising bond prices, even when the yields are negative.
One big reason for falling yields is purchases by central banks. The European Central Bank bought 2.6 trillion euros in government and corporate bonds as part of a stimulus program that ended in December. As the economic picture has worsened, the bank has signaled those purchases might start again.
In addition to its signal about the economy, negative yields can make it harder to fund retirement savings. The high bond prices reflected in the low yields also raise the possibility of a bond market plunge if sentiment changes.
That could happen if the economies of Europe and Japan begin to regain momentum and their central banks call off their easy money policies.
"The worst thing that can happen for these bonds is, God forbid, the economies recover," Bianco said.