American Diplomats Falling Ill in China after Hearing Noises

6 Jun 2018

Here we go with this again…

A Medical Mystery Grows as U.S. Consulate Workers in China Fall Ill – NY Times, 2018/06/06

A crisis over a mysterious ailment sickening American diplomats and their families — which began in Cuba and recently appeared in China — widened on Wednesday. The State Department evacuated at least two more Americans who fell ill in China after hearing strange noises, officials said.


The new illnesses in China come just weeks after American officials reported finding their first case in Guangzhou, where a consulate employee got sick after reporting disturbing noises.

The illnesses in China have broadened a medical mystery that started in 2016, when American Embassy employees and their family members began falling ill in Havana. In all, 24 of them were stricken with headaches, nausea, hearing loss, cognitive issues and other symptoms after saying they heard odd sounds. The issue has roiled relations with Cuba, which immediately fell under suspicion, and led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats.

This seems to be a growing phenomenon in Communist countries.

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North Korean Prisoners Give VP Pence a Note Quoting Scripture

11 May 2018

How much do you think they prayed about being released? God granted their request.


21st Century Warfare

10 May 2018

Five key Isil leaders captured in sting after Iraqi agents lure them into trap using Telegram app – UK Telegraph, 2018/05/10

A security advisor to the Iraqi government told Reuters that Iraqi agents had used an app on the mobile phone of the senior aide to lure four commanders from the group into a trap.


Iraqi agents used the Telegram messaging app on Eithawi’s mobile phone to lure other Isil commanders to cross the border from Syria into Iraq, where they were captured, Hashimi said.


Five Top ISIS Leaders Captured

10 May 2018

Five Top ISIS Officials Captured in U.S.-Iraqi Sting – NY Times, 2018/05/09

Five senior Islamic State officials have been captured, including a top aide to the group’s leader, in a complex cross-border sting carried out by Iraqi and American intelligence, two Iraqi officials said Wednesday.

The three-month operation, which tracked a group of senior Islamic State leaders who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, represents a significant intelligence victory for the American-led coalition fighting the extremist group and underscores the strengthening relationship between Washington and Baghdad.

Also…

Iraqi and American intelligence officials then spent weeks interrogating him, learning the details and whereabouts of other ISIS leaders in hiding, the officials said.

The American-led coalition used this information to launch an airstrike in mid-April that killed 39 suspected Islamic State members near Hajin, in the Deir al-Zour district of Syria, the second official said.

 


President Trump’s Statement on the Iran Nuclear Deal

8 May 2018

Simply posting the statement without commentary.


Steel, Tariffs, Trade War – Beyond Trump #2

7 Mar 2018

This is good info, before we started penalizing Chinese steel in 2016, on how these unfair trade practices persists. There is much more at the link.

Surging Steel Imports Put Up To Half a Million U.S. Jobs at Risk – Economic Policy Institute, 2014/05/13

The U.S. steel industry is facing its worst import crisis in more than a decade. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, steelmakers in other countries, backed by aggressive government support, continued to add production capacity as demand stagnated. The open and large U.S. market became the prime target for the massive excess supply stemming from this excess capacity, and, since 2011, U.S. steel imports have surged and import unit values have plummeted.


Surging imports of unfairly traded steel are threatening U.S. steel production, which supports more than a half million U.S. jobs across every state of the nation. The import surge has depressed domestic steel production and revenues, leading to sharp declines in net income in the U.S. steel industry over the past two years (2012–2013), layoffs for thousands of workers, and reduced wages for many more.

So what I am understanding is that the Chinese (primarily, and probably a couple of other countries) is trying to undercut the market, wipe out international competition, and increase their world market share. They are flooding the steel market with excess supply which lowers prices. Many of these Chinese steel producers are owned or controlled by the government, and received government subsidies. So they have they money of the entire national at their disposal to flood the market.

So what I am seeing with these tariffs are protection and support for the steel producers in the country.  While at the same time, there will be some pain for those on the back end, who purchase the steel to make their products.  Hopefully the pain will be for the short term.

Today…

U.S. Steel follows tariff promise with plans to restart Illinois furnace – Pittsbugh Post Gazette, 2018/03/07

U.S. Steel announced Wednesday that it will restart one of two blast furnaces and the steelmaking facilities at its Granite City Works in Illinois, recalling about 500 employees.

The mill restart comes on the heels of President Donald J. Trump’s announcement that he would seeking tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Getting the mill running again could take up to four months, the company said.


Steel, Tariffs, Trade War – Beyond Trump

7 Mar 2018

If you are interested in the issue, beyond using it as leverage to bash Trump, here is more info…

The Problem With U.S. Tariffs On Steel And Aluminum That No One Is Talking About – Forbes, 2018/03/05

Critics of the U.S. action have enumerated a number of reasons for concern, including the possibility of tit-for-tat retaliation from impacted trade partners, a further weakening of the WTO, domestic economic distortions in the U.S. as a narrow industry is protected at the expense of downstream producers, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers.

Most of these points have at least some validity, and some are entirely valid. All should be carefully weighed.

But at the same time there is another side to this coin which doesn’t receive as much attention. The simple fact of the matter is that a number of countries are undeniably engaging in unfair and even predatory trade practices in the steel and aluminum sectors which are damaging to their trade partners.


To put the magnitude of the overcapacity issue in perspective: experts maintain that the world needs about 400 million tons of excess steel capacity. Today, we have roughly 730 million tons. About half of that is in China, which has grown to be the world’s largest steel producer.

So Trump may be fighting a larger issue that goes beyond the simple relationship with other countries and the immediate impact that this would have on jobs.

Back in 2016, we put a bunch of duties and levies on Chinese steel because of their strategy to create an advantage for themselves by overproducing and lowering prices. The EU did the same thing last year.

China produces half of the world’s steel, and we now have an oversupply that’s almost double. If no action is taken, then they could likely increase their share of the world’s steel market and wipe out much of the international competition. Because of the levies and duties, we only import around 2% of our steel from China. However, they still import steel to all of the other countries and that has an effect on the global market.

There is going to be pain one way or another. Jobs would be impacted if the Chinese corner the overwhelming majority of the steel market. Jobs will be impacted if we rock the boat with these tariffs. It seems like the tariffs takes the short term pain now approach, instead of the long term pain of the Chinese cornering the market and forcing international steel producers out of business.

I am not an expert on this… I am just researching to understand the issue.