Category Archives: World

(Inquirer) Effects of gentrification on longtime residents are not as negative as typically perceived, Philly Fed says


Effects of gentrification on longtime residents are not as negative as typically perceived, Philly Fed says

A smattering of Philadelphia neighborhoods within the last two decades have experienced dramatic changes, a phenomenon often known as gentrification — a controversial term that can be synonymous with displacement or urban renewaldepending on who is asked.

For residents who once lived in the Arvilla apartments in West Philadelphia, gentrification meant eviction last winter, as longtime renters were forced to leave when the building owner decided to sell. In Brewerytown in recent years, it has meant rising property values for longtime residents and steady work for local contractors. And in Fishtown, the term will forever be linked to the collapse in February of a family’s longtime home — 61 years of memories crumbling to the ground after a construction error next door.

Economists and sociologists have tried to study these effects, seeking to determine how gentrification affects longtime neighborhood residents when they are confronted with a steady flow of construction crews, new residents, and different — often higher-end — businesses.

A new study released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia finds that the consequences of gentrification for original neighborhood residents are often better than they are typically perceived.

In what the authors billed as the first “comprehensive, national, causal evidence” of how gentrification affects the well-being of a neighborhood’s longtime residents, the study found that change “creates some important benefits for original resident adults and children and few observable harms.” Specifically, the authors found that gentrification reduces “original” adult residents’ exposure to neighborhood poverty, raises home values, and increases rent only “more-educated renters” but not for “less-educated” ones. (In the study, “less-educated” residents are defined as adults with a high school degree or less; “more-educated” are residents who attended at least some college.)

Similarly, the study finds that children living in a neighborhood before it gentrified also are exposed less to neighborhood poverty and receive better opportunities for education and employment. Gentrification, the study says, increases the probability that children of less-educated homeowners attend and complete college.

“Taken together,” the study says, “the results for children and adults show that many original residents are able to remain in gentrifying neighborhoods and share in any neighborhood improvements.”

Where Philadelphia Has Gentrified

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia identified 39 census tracts in Philadelphia that had gentrified from 2000 to the five-year 2010-14 time period. Most of the tracts are adjacent to Center City, in parts of South and West Philadelphia, and in Manayunk or Roxborough.Click on the map for more information.

SOURCE: Federal Reserve Bank of PhiladelphiaJOHN DUCHNESKIE / Staff Artist

» Reading on mobile and not seeing the graphic above? Click hereto view the full version.

Despite these reported benefits, however, the authors of the study — Davin Reed of the Philadelphia Fed and Quentin Brummet of the University of Chicago’s NORC institution — also found that gentrification causes both less-educated renters and less-educated homeowners to leave a neighborhood at higher rates than they normally would during a typical 10- to 14-year period, the span of time that the researchers studied. Normally, the study found, less-educated renters tend to move at a rate of 68 percent over the course of 10 to 14 years. When a neighborhood gentrifies, that group tends to move closer to 73 percent of the time, according to the study.ADVERTISEMENT

Similarly, Reed and Brummet found that gentrification also increases the probability that less-educated homeowners will move. Ordinarily, less-educated homeowners will move at a rate of 34 percent. Gentrification increases that to roughly 37 percent.

Still, the authors said, they found no evidence that residents who leave gentrifying neighborhoods, including the most disadvantaged, move to “observably worse neighborhoods or experience negative changes to employment, income, or commuting distance.” (The employment, income, and commuting distance of longtime residents who stay in gentrifying neighborhoods are not positively affected either, the study found.) And because all renters, regardless of education, tend to move even when a neighborhood is not gentrifying, the study suggests this places “a limit on the potential for gentrification to cause displacement,” and makes it possible for neighborhoods to change quickly “even without strong displacement effects.”

» READ MORE: To brag or bemoan? How differing definitions of gentrification are their own problem

The study, which takes a national look at gentrification, offers a rather upbeat portrait of neighborhood change using U.S. Census microdata — something that the researchers acknowledge cannot quantify the emotional, nonmonetary costs associated with gentrification.

“Gentrification and displacement have severe ramifications, both for those forced to move out of neighborhoods and for those who are able to stay,” said Rachel Garland, managing attorney of Community Legal Services’ (CLS) Housing Unit in Philadelphia. “Those who move struggle with the sense that they were forced out of their neighborhoods that they helped to build to make way for newcomers who have no connection or investment in the neighborhood.”

“For those who stay, there is a loss of cultural history and memory,” Garland continued. “Those who stay watch their neighborhoods change drastically around them and have to contend with new neighbors and businesses who do not share the same cultural history, nor participate in the same social and cultural fabric.”

On Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia, new development can look very different from older homes. These homes feature bay windows, which Councilman Kenyatta Johnson attempted to ban from his district earlier this year.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHEROn Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia, new development can look very different from older homes. These homes feature bay windows, which Councilman Kenyatta Johnson attempted to ban from his district earlier this year.

As an attorney for CLS, which provides free legal representation to low-income Philadelphians, Garland said she has seen a “drastic increase” in landlords evicting longtime tenants “so that they can sell their houses to developers to renovate and flip to higher-income purchasers.”

Monty Wilson and Rachel Labush, two CLS attorneys who work in the organization’s homeownership unit, also noted that rising property taxes have the potential to cost people their homes. In addition, they said by email, African American homeowners in Philadelphia are often less able to access the benefits of gentrification, such as buying into improving neighborhoods, in part because the demographic tends to be denied access to loans more frequently.ADVERTISEMENT

Garland added that the changing racial and socioeconomic makeup of Philadelphia neighborhoods are also an important part of the gentrification conversation — both of which are emphasized less in the newly released study.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s study tracked individuals who responded to both the 2000 Census and the 2010-14 American Community Survey, and analyzed the changes that they self-reported in categories including address, income, and home value. They focused on roughly 175,000 original residents of low-income central city neighborhoods of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

Gentrification was defined as an increase in college-educated individuals’ demand for housing in initially low-income, central city neighborhoods.

Like dozens of other cities across the U.S., Philadelphia in recent years has experienced growing pains related to gentrification — spurring both anxieties and feelings of hope among residents. Longtime Philadelphians often say they feel encouraged by the benefits that neighborhood change can bring, things such as cleaner streets, reduced crime, and growing home values. At the same time, they often fear seeing friends and families displaced from the places they grew up.

Brummet and Reed’s study finds that, compared with many U.S. cities, Philadelphia experienced gentrification to a less dramatic extent. Only 11.4 percent of the city’s census tracts gentrified between 2000 and 2010-14. Comparatively, Washington gentrified the most at a rate of 43.7 percent, followed closely by Portland, Ore., and Seattle. Boston gentrified at a rate of 22.6 percent.ADVERTISEMENT

“One of the things that, personally, I think is important in these debates around gentrification is keeping sight of the actual scale of the problem,” Reed, the Philadelphia-based author, said in an interview. “Yes, gentrification does create these challenges, some of which we document here. But it also creates opportunities as well.”

According to Emily Dowdall, the policy director for the Philadelphia-based Reinvestment Fund, the research presents an opportunity to discuss local policies that could be enacted to ensure that neighborhoods can remain a place for mixed incomes. In the study, the authors encouraged cities to take a “forward-looking approach” to accommodate increasing demand in some neighborhoods.

“Rather than thinking about, ‘Did this neighborhood truly gentrify in this time period?’ we should be thinking, ‘What can we do about this?'” Dowdall said in an interview. “And can the city of Philadelphia allow longtime residents, both renters and owners, to stay in neighborhoods as they change?”

Dowdall pointed to other cities, such as Minneapolis, which offers landlords a tax break in exchange for keeping some units affordable in their buildings. She also encouraged Philadelphia to find a local program for renters that could work similarly to the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) that offers tax relief to homeowners whose assessments sharply increase.

“Mixed-income neighborhoods are a worthy policy goal,” Dowdall said. “If you could design a program [similar to LOOP] that targets longtime renters, that would really help increase equitable development for renters who are the most vulnerable to displacement.”

(GUA) Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

(GUA) Exclusive: Study shows associated damage to critical pumping muscles, even in children

People wear face masks to combat air pollution in Mexico City
 People wear face masks to combat air pollution in Mexico City, where the subjects of the study had lived. Photograph: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed.

Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease.

The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world’s population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global “public health emergency”.

The scientists acknowledged some uncertainties in their research, but Prof Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University, said: “This is a preliminary study in a way, but the findings and implications were too important not to get the information out there.”

Maher and colleagues found in 2016 that the same nanoparticles were present in human brains and were associated with Alzheimers-like damage, another disease linked to air pollution.

While all ages were affected, Maher said she was particularly concerned about children.

“For really young people, the evidence is now of very early-stage damage both in the heart and the brain,” she said. “We have a likely candidate [particle] able to access both organs, with the pathological evidence to show damage is happening.”

A recent comprehensive review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body, as tiny particles are inhaled, move into the blood stream and are transported around the body. Much of the evidence of harm, from diabetes to reduced intelligence to increased miscarriages, is epidemiological, as harmful experiments on people are unethical. But one study in 2018 found air pollution particles in the placentas of women who had given birth.Q&A

How does air pollution affect the human body?

The new research is the first direct evidence that iron-rich nanoparticles may cause heart disease. Tiny particles were already known from laboratory tests to be seriously damaging to human cells and to be a significant component of roadside air pollution.

Maher said: “Putting an abundance of iron-rich nanoparticles right into the sub-cellular components of the heart’s muscle tissue, that’s not where you want them to be sitting. They are inside the mitochondria, which are damaged and appear abnormal. Mitochondria are your energy source, making sure your heart pumps effectively.”

Mark Miller, an expert on the cardiovascular effects of air pollution, from the University of Edinburgh but not part of the research, said: “While there are some uncertainties from the study, it highlights how important it is to better understand the way particles in air pollution may cause harm to different areas of the body.

“More effort is needed to reduce particle emissions from vehicles, especially to remove the number of vehicles on the road by encouraging people to walk and cycle for short journeys.”

The research, peer reviewed and published in the journal Environmental Research, analysed heart tissue taken from 63 young people who had died in road traffic accidents but had not suffered chest trauma. They lived in Mexico City, which has high air pollution, and had an average age of 25.

The research was conducted in two main parts: calculating the number of iron-rich nanoparticles present; and looking at their location within the tissue and the associated damage. The number of particles found was between 2bn and 22bn per gram of dried tissue; and their presence was two to 10 times higher in the Mexico City residents than in nine control subjects who had lived in less polluted places.

The medical scientists in the team reported that “exposure to [nanoparticles] appears to be directly associated with early and significant cardiac damage”.

Maher said the results were relevant for all countries: “There is absolutely no reason to expect this would be different in any other city.” Based on previous work, she said, the particles were also likely to carry additional contaminants. “We can imagine these nanoparticles come loaded with a toxic mix.”

Iron-rich nanoparticles begin as molten droplets produced by the combustion of fuel and then cool rapidly into spheres with fused surfaces. The particles in the heart tissue had these characteristics, rather than small iron-rich magnetite crystals that are known to occur naturally in at least one organ, the brain.

The technique used to locate the nanoparticles in the heart tissue could not be used to measure their composition. Instead, the scientists separated the particles from the tissues to determine their composition and magnetic content, and then used the average size and magnetism of the particles to estimate the total number.

They said they would like to confirm the particles’ composition in situ within the cells, but that would require the use of expensive equipment and Maher said they had received no funding for the work. “We are having to do this on a shoestring. It is madness.”

(GUA) Indoor carbon dioxide levels could be a health hazard, scientists warn

(GUA) COin bedrooms and offices may affect cognition and cause kidney and bone problems

While air pollutants such as tiny particles and nitrogen oxides have been the subject of much research, there have been far fewer studies looking into the health impact of CO2.

However, the authors of the latest study – which reviews current evidence on the issue – say there is a growing body of research suggesting levels of CO2that can be found in bedrooms, classrooms and offices might have harmful effects on the body, including affecting cognitive performance.

“There is enough evidence to be concerned, not enough to be alarmed. But there is no time to waste,” said Dr Michael Hernke, a co-author of the study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stressing further research was needed.

Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, Hernke and colleagues report that they considered 18 studies of the levels of COhumans are exposed to, as well as its health impacts on both humans and animals.

Traditionally, the team say, it had been thought that CO2 levelswould need to reach a very high concentration of at least 5,000 parts per million (ppm) before they would affect human health. But a growing body of research suggests CO2 levels as low as 1,000ppm could cause health problems, even if exposure only lasts for a few hours.

The team say crowded or poorly ventilated classrooms, office environments and bedrooms have all been found to have levels of CO2 that exceed 1,000ppm, and are spaces that people often remain in for many hours at a time. Air-conditioned trains and planes have also been found to exceed 1,000ppm.

“Indoor environments are of much more concern presently and for many people that is where they spend 60-80% of their time,” said Hernke, although projections suggest by 2100 some large cities might reach outdoor CO2 levels of 1,000ppm for parts of the year.

The team found a number of studies have looked at the impact of such levels on human cognitive performance and productivity. In one study of 24 employees, cognitive scores were 50% lower when the participants were exposed to 1,400ppm of CO2 compared with 550ppm during a working day.

The team additionally looked at the impact of COlevels on animals, finding that a few hours’ exposure to 2,000 ppm was linked to inflammatory responses that could lead to damage to blood vessels. There is also tentative evidence suggesting that prolonged exposure to levels between 2,000 and 3,000ppm is linked to effects including stress, kidney calcification and bone demineralisation.

The team add that rising outdoor levels of CO2 will mean rising indoor levels – a situation that could be exacerbated by greater use of certain air-conditioning units, people spending more time inside, energy-saving building techniques, and increasing urbanisation.

Any health impacts, they add, might be particularly problematic for children or those with health conditions that might exacerbate the effects. And even if the impacts are reversible, said Hernke, it would depend on people being able to access air with low levels of CO2. “The question is what happens over the very long term when you are unable to go outside and, as it were, have that carbon sucked back out of you?”

Dr Gary Fuller, an air pollution scientist at King’s College London, said his team had been measuring CO2 levels in London for the past decade. While levels rarely reached 1,000ppm, he said, they often exceeded 750ppm along busy roads. “Unless we decarbonise heating and transport then these peaks will worsen as the global background increases,” he said.

(ZH) Trump Says US Should Join “Great Currency Manipulation Game” By Devaluing Dollar


President Trump has never been a fan of the strong dollar. And after beating around the bush for months by demanding a 50 bp rate cut and more QE from the Fed, it seems the president is now explicitly calling on the US to artificially weaken the greenback by any means necessary.

In a tweet, Trump blasted China and Europe for playing a ‘big currency manipulation game’ and recommended that the US “MATCH” or risk being “the dummies who sit back and politely watch as other countries continue to play their games.”

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

China and Europe playing big currency manipulation game and pumping money into their system in order to compete with USA. We should MATCH, or continue being the dummies who sit back and politely watch as other countries continue to play their games – as they have for many years!61.3K3:21 PM – Jul 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy23.2K people are talking about this

Notably, the tweet calling for even more easing followed Trump’s latest tweet celebrating new market highs.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

S&P 500 hits new record high. Up 19% for the year. Congratulations!67.2K3:12 PM – Jul 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy18.8K people are talking about this

Trump’s warning also comes less than two weeks after Bank of America warned that direct intervention to weaken the dollar would be possible by a few avenues, some directly involving Trump (jawboning), some involving the Treasury and the Fed (direct intervention by the NY Fed’s New York markets desk).

Whatever the administration decides, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the dollar is unsustainably overvalued compared with its long-term real effective exchange rate value. BofA’s analyst calculated that the dollar is 13% above its long-term average.


According to tradition, the dollar and its value have long been the exclusive purview of the Treasury Department. But Trump has never been one to unquestioningly adhere to precedent. And back in May, the Treasury Department declined to name any country to its list of currency manipulators, though it added some to a ‘watch list’.

Although the Fed and most central banks insist that they don’t explicitly target the exchange rate, most observers know this isn’t exactly true.

John Kemp@JKempEnergy

CURRENCY MANIPULATION is what Bertrand Russell called an “emotive conjugation” and Bernard Woolley called an “irregular verb”:
* I am cutting interest rates
* You are trying to achieve a competitive devaluation
* He/she/it is manipulating their currency to obtain unfair advantage133:43 PM – Jul 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee John Kemp’s other Tweets

John Kemp@JKempEnergyReplying to @JKempEnergy

Major central banks (Fed, ECB, BOE, BOJ) usually pretend the exchange rate is not part of their strategy. But exchange rates enter their thinking in two ways:
* Competitiveness of exporting and import-competing firms
* Import prices and pass through to inflation53:48 PM – Jul 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee John Kemp’s other Tweets

And for everybody who bought the dip in gold the other day…well done.

Kevin C. Smith, CFA@crescatkevin

Insanely bullish for gold.$XAU $GLD $GC $GDX …Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrumpChina and Europe playing big currency manipulation game and pumping money into their system in order to compete with USA. We should MATCH, or continue being the dummies who sit back and politely watch as other countries continue to play their games – as they have for many years!1163:52 PM – Jul 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy38 people are talking about this

M.P.O. V.V.I. (FT) Liberalism ‘has outlived its purpose’ — President Putin speaks exclusively to the Financial Times


Mr Putin is a dictator.

And of the worst kind.

He is the kind of person that gives sense to the word detest.

And he tells obvious lies.

And with such nerve…

However there are a few points in his interview that make sense to me.

I am sorry if this comes as a shock to some.

The obvious one is that to be tolerant to people that are intolerant by conviction and nature, is not possible and admissible any more.

Enough is enough.

And shame on all politician fouls that said otherwise for decades.

And to the Citizens of various Countries that trusted and voted for them, like sheep going to the slaughter house.

In some respects (not all) i have to say that i disagree with Mr Tusk.

In due respect.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to FT editor Lionel Barber about foreign affairs and relations with the UK in an exclusive interview at the Kremlin

(DW) US-China trade war, Iran to overshadow G20 talks

(DW) World leaders are gathering in Japan for what is expected to be a highly divisive G20 summit. Tensions over Iran and the long-running trade war between China and the US loom large over this year’s meeting.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel during a bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka (Reuters/K. Lamarque)

The G20 summit opened Friday in the western Japanese city of Osaka, with geopolitical tensions and trade set to dominate talks.

The high-stakes meeting of leaders of the world’s largest economies runs for two days.

US President Donald Trump met with the host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, before holding bilateral talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Speaking to reporters, he praised trade ties between the two countries and described Merkel as “a great friend of mine.” 

Read moreG20: What is it and how does it work? 

The chancellor said she also planned to raise the issues of Iran and counterterrorism with Trump.

Merkel arrived in Osaka early Friday, a day after suffering an episode of shaking that had led to questions about her health. Watch video02:21

Trade war between US and China expected to dominate G20 summit

Putin-Trump relationship ‘very good’

The US president also met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was later due to sit down with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ahead of his meeting with Putin, Trump spoke of their “very, very good relationship,” adding that it was “a great honor” to be with him. The two leaders last held face-to-face talks in Helsinki in July.

When a reporter in Osaka asked Trump, “Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?” he turned to Putin with a smile and said “Don’t meddle in the election.”

G20 Osaka Summit 2019 group photo (picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Wyld)

World leaders are meeting in Osaka for the 2019 G20 Summit

Trade row

One of the most anticipated events of the summit is the planned meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday.

The two countries are locked in a damaging trade war, and many leaders will be eagerly watching to see if they can manage to strike an agreement to end hostilities. The last time Trump and Xi met face to face was at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in December.

Read moreUS and China ‘under pressure’ to find tariffs compromise at G20Watch video02:55

US to seek Europe’s help in dealing with Iran


Spiraling tensions between Washington and Tehran have sparked fears of a new war breaking out in the Middle East.

The US has accused Iran of attacking six oil tankers in recent weeks, which Tehran denies. Last week Iran shot down a US drone it said was flying over its territory, but the US said it was in international airspace. Trump then ordered a retaliatory strike before calling it off at the last minute. 

World leaders, including Germany’s Merkel, have urged the two countries to resolve the row peacefully. Trump said Friday in Japan that there was “no rush” to end the conflict.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would ask the US president to consider suspending some sanctions on Iran: “I want to convince Trump that it is in his interest to reopen a negotiation process [and] go back on certain sanctions to give negotiations a chance.”

Read moreHow Trump’s sanctions are crippling Iran’s economyWatch video02:40

What is the Iran nuclear deal?

Climate change

Climate change is expected to be another contentious item on the agenda.

France will be pushing for strong commitments to limit carbon emissions to be part of the joint final statement from G20 leaders. The US is unlikely to agree to strong language on global warming, given that Trump last year pulled his country out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

(BBC) G20 summit: All eyes on Trump-Xi trade war showdown


A woman takes a picture of a G20 Osaka design set up outside the venue for the G20 Osaka Summit in Osaka on June 26, 2019, ahead of the start of the summit later this week.
Image captionThe leaders of the US and China are due to meet at the G20 summit in Japan this week

Leaders from the Group of 20 nations (G20) will meet in Osaka from Friday in what is likely to be its most important summit since the global financial crisis.

When the G20 met in Washington one month after the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008, they were focused on a mammoth task: how to piece the world economy back together and avoid a future crisis.

A decade later the G20 nations face another huge challenge in resolving a US-China trade war that has rattled businesses around the world, and cast a shadow over the global economy.

That’s why the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday will be so closely watched.

They last met seven months ago at another G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Over grilled sirloin and caramel rolled pancakes, the pair agreed on a 90 day truce to their trade war.

Now, reports are emerging that another trade truce could be struck in Osaka.

While that would provide markets with some relief, it won’t mean the trade war is over.

In the months leading up to the G20 meeting in Japan, the trade clash between the world’s two largest economies has escalated.

The US tightened restrictions on Chinese telecom champion Huawei and four other Chinese tech firms by putting them on a trade “blacklist”.

US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping speak during a joint statement in Beijing on November 9, 2017.
Image captionThe US reignited a trade war with China with tariff hikes in May

Beijing responded angrily with threats of its own trade ban, and in recent weeks has increased scrutiny on American firms operating in China, including FedEx.

If they don’t strike a trade deal, Mr Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on $300bn (£236.5bn) of Chinese goods – that would mean pretty much everything that China sells to the US would be subject to tariffs.

But while many US businesses approve of Mr Trump’s hardline stance on China, more tariffs is the last thing they want.

Companies have urged Mr Trump to end the trade war, warning of higher prices and risks to their future.

Both leaders are under pressure at home to show they are walking away with the best deal – so they won’t want to give too much ground.

But with China’s economy slowing, and Mr Trump heading into an election year, neither side can afford to let the trade war go on for much longer.

If a truce is announced, there will be relief from G20 nations too.

The trade war is having an impact on global growth, with the International Monetary Fund and others warning that escalating US-China trade tensions are among the biggest threats to the world economy.

Iran and the US

Rising tensions between the US and Iran is another issue likely to be on the minds of many at the G20 summit.

This week the US announced fresh sanctions on Iran and the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei – moves Mr Trump said were a response to recent “aggressive behaviour” by the country.

Their spat has led to oil prices shooting up over fears of a conflict between Washington and Tehran.

Expect the US president to try to shore up support from allies for his sanctions on Iran – and expect Beijing to back Iran, albeit subtly.

Plastic waste and marine fears

Environmental issues are likely to get a fair amount of attention at the G20 meeting.

As the summit chair, Japan is hoping to get an agreement from G20 members on the reduction of plastic waste in the ocean.

The plastic waste abandoned on the beach of the sea of Naples.
Image captionIf current trends continue, oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050, UN says

The UN says that some 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year, and around 8 million tonnes ends up in our oceans, killing marine life and choking up our oceans with toxic chemicals.

By 2050, the UN says, if current trends continue our oceans could contain more plastic than fish.

So expect more efforts by Japan to get firm commitments from countries to ban single use plastic, and reduce plastic waste to zero in the oceans.

But also expect some resistance from the US, over concerns of what this could do to its petrochemicals and plastics industries.

Rising protectionism

One more issue to watch is how the leaders seek to position the G20 on free trade.

Part of the G20’s mandate is to “resist protectionism,” says John Kirton, founder of the G20 Research Group.

But at its last meeting in Buenos Aires, the group refrained from repeating that pledge due to pressure from the US.

It marked the first time a G20 communiqué had not contained that phrase.

Picture of world leaders at G20 summit in Argentina in 2018.
Image captionDiscussion of free trade and protectionism is expected at the G20

This time, Mr Kirton says the G20 is likely to affirm some kind of commitment to free trade, but may still drop the pledge to resist protectionism.

Still, he says as the US pushes ahead with protectionist policies, many nations are moving in the other direction.

“New free trade deals are breaking out all over,” he says.

It comes at a time of increasing recognition that the current international financial system is in need of reform because it hasn’t benefited everyone, so expect some discussion on that too.

Formed in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, the G20 came together in recognition of the fact that we live in an increasingly interconnected world.

So when there’s a currency crisis in a far flung part of South East Asia, there is the risk of contagion.

History has shown that coming together to solve the world’s problems has worked. What hurts one of us, could hurt the rest of us – so it makes sense to work together.

Indeed erecting trade barriers, instead of co-operating could lead to conflict. That will not help any of us.

(Axios) Higher temperatures could fuel a global energy demand to stay cool


A fan blowing on Earth to cool it down
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new peer-reviewed study finds that higher temperatures could bring large increases in energy demand as use of cooling soars, far outweighing reduced need for heating.

Why it matters: The paper published in Nature Communications finds that depending on future warming levels, global demand in 2050 could be 11%–58% higher than what’s otherwise expected based on economic development and population growth.

One level deeper: While the total and regional ranges are significant, the paper notes: “We find broad agreement among [Earth System Models] that energy demand rises by more than 25% in the tropics and southern regions of the USA, Europe and China.”

What’s new: “These are the first globally comprehensive estimates of how much energy demand will change due to the increase in temperatures that is projected to happen, not just globally averaged but depending on where around the globe different climate models say it is going to be hotter rather than colder compared to the global mean,” Boston University professor and co-author Ian Sue Wing tells Axios.

My thought bubble: The paper underscores a sticky problem. Adapting to warming could make cutting emissions even harder if those higher energy needs aren’t met with low-carbon sources.

  • The paper — co-authored by researchers with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice — does not model how additional demand will be met.
  • “The emissions story is going to depend on how we choose to generate that additional electricity,” Sue Wing said.

What they did: The study is a global and regional look at potential warming-driven energy demand increases in 2050, looking at use of electricity, petroleum and natural gas in four sectors: industry, housing, business and agriculture.

They modeled a large set of potential outcomes based on 2 major emissions scenarios commonly employed by scientists.

  • One shows emissions soaring essentially unchecked through the century, enabling large temperature increases.
  • The other is an emissions peak around 2040, follow by a plateau and decline, which still brings significant warming.

But, but, but: The authors acknowledge limitations in the modeling and the need for future research.

  • Their analysis does not consider factors including changes in energy prices that could dampen energy demand growth, technological improvements, policy changes and more localized energy demand responses.

Go deeper: A/C demand expected to triple

(DN) Nem Apple nem Google: Amazon é a (nova) marca mais valiosa do mundo

(DN) Tecnológica liderada por Jeff Bezos ocupa o topo da tabela pela primeira vez. 100 marcas mais valiosas do mundo valem 4,7 biliões de dólares.

Nem Apple nem Google. Pela primeira vez, a Amazon foi é considerada a marca mais valiosa do mundo. A tecnológica liderada por Jezz Bezos está avaliada em 315,5 mil milhões de dólares, qualquer coisa como 278,9 mil milhões de euros. A Amazon ultrapassou a Apple e a Google, a anterior ocupante da primeira posição do rankingBrandZ Most Valuable Global Brand 2019 elaborado pela Kantar, a agência de estudos de mercado do grupo WPP, que foi divulgado esta terça-feira.

(P-S) The End of the World As We Know It


Last month, under pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, Google terminated its cooperation with Huawei, thereby depriving the Chinese smartphone maker of the license to use Google’s Android software and related services. The move marks both a new pinnacle in the Sino-American conflict and the end of US-led globalization.

BERLIN – After three decades of moving toward a single global market governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization, the international order has undergone a fundamental change. The United States and China are locked in a tariff war that at first seemed to be about the bilateral trade balance, but has turned out to be about much more. Until recently, one could find hope in the fact that, despite frequent exchanges of threats, the two countries were negotiating. Not anymore.

Last month, under pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, Google terminated its cooperation with Huawei, thereby depriving the Chinese smartphone maker of the license to use Google’s Android software and related services. The move poses an existential threat to Huawei. But, more than that, it marks both a new pinnacle in the Sino-American conflict and the end of US-led globalization. The message from the US is clear: technology and software exports are no longer just a matter of business; they are about power. From now on, the US will put might over market.

Now that the conflict has assumed the form of a hegemonic struggle, China may have to pull out all the stops to protect its national champions. That means withdrawing as quickly as possible from all supply chains that rely on US-made high-tech inputs, particularly semiconductors. China would have to start sourcing all the necessary components domestically, or from safe partners within its orbit.

In the medium term, this adjustment would effectively divide the world into two spheres of economic competition. Sooner or later, all smaller powers dependent on global markets would have to choose a side, unless they are somehow strong enough to withstand both American and Chinese pressure. With China and the US both demanding clarity, even economic giants like the European Union, India, and Japan would be faced with an intractable economic dilemma.

Assuming that an open, unified global market does indeed become a thing of the past, the question, then, will be how China plays its cards. As America’s largest creditor, would it see a currency war as its ace up the sleeve? If so, an already dangerous struggle for global technological preeminence would become a broader and more immediately perilous conflict.

The danger is not just that economic rivalry, protectionism, and trade restrictions would threaten global prosperity; it is that these developments also would raise the risk of a serious political confrontation. Technological sovereignty would take the place of trade and exchange, and the nationality of corporations – even major multinationals – would become just as important as their business model.

Still, it would be a mistake to conclude that this whole conflict was brought on solely by Trump and his neo-nationalist agenda. Two days after Google announced its decision, the New York Times published a commentary by Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat, echoing many of Trump’s attacks on China’s unfair trade practices. If that is where the previous ideological high priest of globalization now stands, China is facing off against not just Trump’s America, but liberal America, too.

The Trump administration’s latest move is meant to signal that the US will not hand over its dominant global position without a fight. Yet by precipitating a break in the existing trade relationship with China, the US will incur immense costs of its own.

No doubt turbulence awaits Europe, too. A rupture in the global economy would pose a fundamental challenge to the European – and especially the German – export model. Though the European Union will remain dependent on the American security guarantee and trade with the US, the bloc’s exporters have become increasingly reliant on the Chinese market. A scenario in which they are forced to decide between the two would thus produce a lose-lose outcome. True, in a full-scale technology war, the EU’s value as an ally to the US would increase, and the risks of punitive US tariffs on European exports would decline. But European exporters that have become more dependent on China would be squeezed.

Past experience has shown that Europe usually needs a crisis in order to move to the next stage of its development. If there is any silver lining in the current situation, it is that Europe may now have no choice but to develop a geopolitical strategy for the twenty-first century. The EU was largely spared a populist upset in the recent European Parliament election. Now it must get to work safeguarding its prosperity and sovereignty in an age of Sino-American rupture.

(P-S) Europe’s Silent Majority Speaks Out – George Soros


What voters said in last month’s European Parliament election is that they want to preserve the values on which the European Union was founded. But can Europe’s leaders carry out the radical institutional reforms that voters also want?

LONDON – Last month’s elections to the European Parliamentproduced better results than one could have expected, and for a simple reason: the silent pro-European majority has spoken. What they said is that they want to preserve the values on which the European Union was founded, but that they also want radical changes in the way the EU functions. Their main concern is climate change.

This favors the pro-European parties, especially the Greens. The anti-European parties, which cannot be expected to do anything constructive, failed to make the gains that they expected. Nor can they form the united front that they would need in order to become more influential.

One of the institutions that needs to be changed is the Spitzenkandidat system. It is supposed to provide a form of indirect selection of the EU leadership. In fact, as Franklin Dehousse has explained in a brilliant but pessimistic article in the EU Observer, it is worse than no democratic selection at all. Each member state has real political parties, but their trans-European combination produces artificial constructs that serve no purpose other than to promote the personal ambitions of their leaders.

This can best be seen in the European People’s Party (EPP), which has managed to capture the presidency of the Commission since 2004. The EPP’s current leader, Manfred Weber, who has no experience in a national government, appears willing to enter into practically any compromise in order to remain in the parliamentary majority. That includes embracing Hungary’s autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

Orbán has posed a serious problem for Weber, because Orbán has openly flouted European norms and established what amounts to a mafia state. Nearly half the national parties constituting the EPP wanted to expel Orbán’s party, Fidesz. Instead of following through, however, Weber managed to convince the EPP to make a relatively easy demand on Fidesz: allow the Central European University (CEU, which I founded) to continue functioning freely in Hungary as an American university.

Fidesz failed to comply. Even so, the EPP did not expel Fidesz, but merely suspended it so that it could be counted as part of the EPP when the president of the Commission is chosen. Orbán is now trying to reestablish Fidesz as a bona fide member of the EPP. It will be interesting to see if Weber finds a way to accommodate him.

The Spitzenkandidat system is not based on an intergovernmental agreement, so it could easily be changed. It would be much better if the president of the European Commission were directly elected from a carefully selected list of qualified candidates, but that would require treaty changes. The President of the European Council could continue to be elected by a qualified majority of the member states, as the Treaty of Lisbon prescribes.

The reform that would require treaty changes is justified by the increased democratic legitimacy conferred by the European Parliamentary elections. Turnout in the recent election surpassed 50%, up sharply from 42.6% in 2014. This is the first time that turnout has increased at all since the first election in 1979, when 62% of eligible voters participated.

Strangely enough, on this occasion, the Spitzenkandidatsystem promises to produce a dream team. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is opposed to the Spitzenkandidat system as a matter of principle, is largely responsible for this development. At a dinner with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the winner of Spain’s national general election, which preceded the European Parliament vote, the two leaders agreed to support two Spitzenkandidaten who would be ideal for the Commission and for the Council.

Germany is the main supporter of the Spitzenkandidat system. If Weber loses out, Germany will be pushing for Jens Weidmann, President of the Bundesbank, to become President of the ECB. He would hardly be ideal. In fact, he is disqualified by the fact that he testified before Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court against the ECB in a case seeking to invalidate the Bank’s so-called outright monetary transactions, a policy that was crucial to overcoming the eurozone crisis earlier this decade. I hope this fact will become more widely known.

Any other qualified candidate would be preferable to Weidmann as ECB president. As things stand now, France will not have any of the top jobs. It would be a good thing if Germany didn’t have one either, because it would leave more room for other countries.

There are many EU institutions aside from the Spitzenkandidat system that require radical reform. But that can wait until we find out whether, and to what extent, the promise held out by the parliamentary election results is realized. This is not yet the time to declare victory, relax, and celebrate. There is a lot of work to be done to turn the EU into a well-functioning organization that fulfills its great potential.


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(FP) The Fed Is Trump’s Secret Ally in the Trade War

(FP) By lowering interest rates, the body is cushioning the blow of tariffs and convincing the president that they are working.

The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22, 2008.

In his various trade wars, U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have fewer and fewer allies. Early in his tenure, he slapped steel and aluminum duties on most of the world. He menaced the European Union and Japan with auto tariffs. He forced Mexico and Canada to sign a deal to rename the North American Free Trade Agreement, and then threatened Mexico with a new round of penalties unless the country did more to address immigration to the United States. South Korea only avoided new tariffs by signing a (mostly meaningless) new trade deal.

It is difficult to find a country, friend or foe, that has escaped Trump’s wrath. And even Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate have voiced skepticism about his latest tariff spat with Mexico and his plans for imposing duties on European cars.

But Trump has kept one key ally in his trade battles: the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Textbook economics teaches that tariffs make countries poorer by driving up prices, thereby reducing business competitiveness and cutting consumer purchasing power. The president and his advisors do not take that that idea seriously. Trump is, as he has tweeted, a “Tariff Man.” And many of his aides, including Peter Navarro and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, are long-time proponents of the idea that tariffs should play a major role in trade policy.

The Fed has helped sustain the economic growth that Trump points to as evidence that his tariffs are working.

Economists at the Fed, however, do read economics textbooks. And whereas Trump may think that “trade wars are good, and easy to win,” as he famously tweeted, the Fed believes the opposite—that they will drag down economic growth. This gap is excellent news for the president. Because the Fed believes that it should keep interest rates low to boost growth when the economy is slowing (so long as inflation is under control), it has refrained from raising rates over the past six months, in part to cushion the blow from the trade war. In doing so, it has helped sustain the economic growth that Trump points to as evidence that his tariffs are working.

The Fed has two mandates, established by law: to keep inflation and unemployment low. A year ago, on both these metrics, all signs pointed to a need to raise interest rates. The economy was in a decadelong expansion. Unemployment was touching historic lows. And the massive deficit-funded 2017 tax cut had stimulated the economy at a time when many economic models suggested that policymakers should be reducing stimulus to prevent inflation. Indeed, in 2018, inflation hit the highest level in more than five years. Surely, experts and investors assumed, the Fed would keep increasing interest rates to slow the economy and keep inflation contained.

One year and several tariff hikes later, things look rather different. It is understandable that the Fed believed it had to act. U.S. businesses and consumers alike are substantially exposed to trade. Consumers buy many things—from avocados to iPhones to cars—that are partially or wholly produced abroad. Businesses produce many goods using inputs from abroad. And they also sell abroad, making profits that help fund consumption in the United States. All these activities are made more difficult by tariffs.

Trump’s first tariff move, imposing duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March 2018, was relatively minor. Steel and aluminum make up a small share of U.S. imports, and President George W. Bush had done something similar in 2002. The trade war with China, the threats to slap auto tariffs on Europe and Japan, and constant antagonization of Mexico are an order of magnitude more disruptive. On Friday, Trump agreed not to impose tariffs on Mexico. By Monday, he was tweeting about the prospect of new tariffs. China and Mexico are two of the United States’ largest trading partners. Taxing trade with them will force consumers to pay more and will force companies to rework complicated supply chains. None of this is good for the economy in the short run.

But rate cuts—a form of economic stimulus—can slow the bleeding. They also support the stock market, which is as afraid of Trump’s tariffs as the Fed. Yet this dynamic is dangerous. The more tariffs Trump threatens and imposes, the more the Fed cuts rates.  And that, in turn, encourages him to threaten yet more duties.

The Fed’s shift toward monetary easing matters not only in economic terms. It has crucial political relevance, too. The state of the economy will be a key determinant of the 2020 presidential election. If the economy is doing well, Trump will claim credit. If it is doing poorly, he will face blame. Every time the Fed signals that it will move to support the economy, it is also boosting the prospects of Trump’s reelection.

The Fed is simply doing its job. If Trump’s trade policies threaten to boost unemployment or inflation, the Fed is obligated to respond. But America’s monetary policymakers nevertheless find themselves in a bind. They are often described as being “independent” of politics. True, they are not taking orders from the White House. But they are being driven, in effect, by the president’s trade tweets. No one wants the Fed to let the economy slow unnecessarily, which would mean fewer jobs and lower wages. But the Fed’s alternative is hardly more satisfying: using monetary policy to mitigate the costs of tariffs and to keep the economy humming as Trump claims credit for his tremendous economic victories.

(BBC) O dia, 525 anos atrás, em que Portugal e Espanha dividiram o Novo Mundo


Pintura do século 15 sobre a assinatura do Trtaado de Tordesilhas
Image captionEsta pintura do século 15 ilustra como o Tratado de Tordesilhas foi assinado

Em pleno centro da Espanha, em meio às terras frias e áridas castelhanas, ergue-se uma pequena cidade de 141 quilômetros quadrados.

Atualmente ela é habitada por cerca de 9 mil pessoas e ostenta o título de “vila muito ilustre, antiga, coroada, leal e muito nobre”.

Ali ocorreu há 525 anos um fato histórico que determinou a configuração política e territorial da América, dividiu o mundo em dois hemisférios e definiu a língua e a cultura de milhões de pessoas.

Essa cidade, chamada Tordesilhas, está localizada ao norte de Madri.

Foi lá que, em 7 de junho de 1494, as duas grandes potências marítimas da época, Castela e Portugal, chegaram a um acordo para dividir as zonas de navegação do Oceano Atlântico e os territórios do “Novo Mundo”.nullTalvez também te interesse


Documento do Tratado de Tordesilhas
Image captionO documento do Tratado é considerado o primeiro da história da América Latina

Apenas um ano antes, em março de 1493, Cristóvão Colombo havia voltado a Castela com uma notícia surpreendente.

A viagem que ele havia empreendido em 3 de agosto de 1492 a partir do porto espanhol de Palos de la Frontera, em busca de uma rota mais curta para a Ásia – onde os comerciantes europeus obtinham as especiarias usadas para temperar os alimentos, que atingiam preços muito altos -, havia dado frutos.

A expedição havia terminado com o descobrimento de novas terras até então desconhecidas na Europa.

As disputas entre Castela e Portugal pelo controle desses territórios começaram de imediato.

O ambiente lançava faíscas. Algo precisava ser feito para evitar a guerra.

Assim, em março de 1494, representantes de João 2º de Portugal e dos chamados reis católicos espanhóis (Isabel de Castela e Fernando de Aragón) se reuniram pela primeira vez em Tordesilhas.

Plaza de Tordesilhas
Image captionTordesilhas é um município da província espanhola de Valladolid, que hoje tem cerca de 9 mil habitantes

O objetivo era estabelecer um acordo que delimitaria as áreas de atuação de cada reino e restabeleceria a paz entre as duas coroas.

Tordesilhas era, naquela época, uma cidade importante em Castela. Tratava-se de um ponto estratégico de passagem graças a sua ponte medieval sobre o rio Douro.

Cercada por uma muralha, a cidade tinha cerca de 3.500 habitantes.

As reuniões entre os embaixadores de João 2º e os reis católicos ocorreram em um magnífico e imponente palácio recém-construído em Tordesilhas. Sobre sua porta se encontravam o brasão real dos reis católicos e o do seu proprietário, Alfonso González de Tordesilhas.

O palácio havia começado a ser erguido em 1488 e, no ano seguinte, já estava pronto.

Casas do Tratado de Tordesilhas
Image captionAs Casas do Tratado de Tordesilhas são formadas por dois palácios

A construção, que está localizada sobre uma colina e continua de pé, transformada agora no Museu do Tratado, foi sede das negociações entre os embaixadores da Espanha e de Portugal para dividir o Oceano Atlântico e os novos territórios que Colombo havia acabado de descobrir.

O futuro da política atlântica dos dois reinos dependia do que fosse acordado em Tordesilhas, tanto que o rei português e os reis castelhanos acompanhavam de perto o desenrolar das negociações.

No entanto, o rei português havia adoecido quando esse processo estava prestes a começar. Ele tinha 38 anos e 30 meses depois estaria morto.

Devido a sua doença, João 2º permaneceu em Setubal durante todas as negociações. Da cidade portuguesa a 50 quilômetros ao sul de Lisboa, entretanto, ele trocava mensagens constantemente com os seus embaixadores.

Museu do Tratado de Tordesilhas
Image captionMuseu do Tratado de Tordesilhas: é o único documento espanhol inscrito no registro “Memória do Mundo” da Unesco, criado em 1992 para preservar os documentos patrimônios da humanidade. Ele não está mais localizado na Espanha

Enquanto isso, os reis católicos continuaram as negociações primeiro a partir da cidade vizinha de Medina del Campo – a 24 quilômetros – e depois na própria cidade de Tordesilhas, residindo na cidade de 8 de maio a 8 de junho.

A linha de Colombo

Deve-se ter em mente que, ao retornar de sua primeira viagem, Colombo sequer era capaz de localizar com precisão onde estavam as novas terras que havia encontrado a caminho do que pensava ser a Índia.

Então, quando os reis castelhanos lhe perguntaram como ele achava que o conflito entre Espanha e Portugal poderia ser resolvido, Colombo propôs que fosse traçada uma linha divisória de norte a sul conhecida como “linha de Colombo”, que, ao que tudo indica, passava por Cabo Verde e os Açores.

Isabel e Fernando apresentaram então a proposta ao papa Alexandre 6º para que mediasse o conflito.

Ilustração que reflete a distribuição da América Latina
Image captionA América Latina foi dividida por uma linha de norte a sul conhecida como “Linha de Colombro”

O pontífice, que era de origem espanhola e que devia favores aos reis católicos, admitiu a proposta. Mas, como ela lhe parecia excessivamente favorável aos interesses de Castela e descaradamente prejudicial aos de Portugal, na bula – ou seja, no documento oficial que emitiu a respeito – deslocou a linha divisória 100 léguas a oeste dos Açores e Cabo Verde.

Nesse ponto da negociação, João 2º aceitou o meridiano que parte o Oceano Atlântico de polo a polo.

Mas, no processo de discussões de Tordesilhas, os portugueses solicitaram um deslocamento da linha divisória para 370 léguas a oeste de Cabo Verde.

Eles basearam esse pedido na necessidade que tinham de poder retornar de São Jorge de Mina – um porto de domínio português localizado na África, na costa do Golfo da Guiné, no lugar atualmente ocupado pela cidade de Elmina, em Gana – sem ter que invadir a costa castelhana.

A reivindicação de João 2º foi aceita pelos monarcas espanhóis, imaginando que estavam concedendo nada além de água a Portugal.

Imagem geral de Tordesilhas, com ponte medieval em destaque
Image captionA ponte medieval sobre o rio Douro fez de Tordesilhas um importante ponto de passagem

Assim, em 7 de junho de 1494, as duas partes concordam em dividir o Oceano Atlântico com uma terceira e última linha, a “linha do Tratado de Tordesilhas”, localizada a 370 léguas a oeste das ilhas de Cabo Verde.

Tudo localizado a leste do meridiano acordado em Tordesilhas seria para Portugal, enquanto o que estava a oeste foi atribuído a Castela.

Os reis Isabel e Fernando, assim como seus embaixadores, esfregaram as mãos pensando que tinham ganhado o jogo.

O tratado, pensavam eles, deixava todas as terras do “novo mundo” nas mãos da coroa castelhana, enquanto Portugal teria que se contentar simplesmente com água.

Domínio português

No entanto, eles estavam errados.

Eles cometeram um erro grave.

Um erro gigantesco chamado Brasil, um enorme território então desconhecido e que, ao se encontrar no extremo leste da América, caía em cheio dentro da área de domínio português.

Assim, quando o navegador Pedro Álvares de Cabral chegou em 1500 ao litoral do atual Estado da Bahia, o Brasil passou para as mãos portuguesas.

Image captionEste mapa de 1502 mostra o território do novo mundo descoberto por Cristóvão Colombo

Alguns historiadores consideram que é muito possível que os portugueses já conhecessem a relativa curta distância que separa a costa brasileira das Ilhas de Cabo Verde (4,663 km) e que foi por isso que pressionaram para “mover” a linha 270 léguas a oeste.

Ainda que há 525 anos tenha sido em Tordesilhas que Portugal e Espanha dividiram o “novo mundo”, o tratado firmado não na época não se encontra mais no local.

O documento original em castelhano assinado pelos reis católicos está em Lisboa, no Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, enquanto a versão em Português, com a assinatura de Juan II, é guardada no Arquivo Geral das Índias, em Sevilha.

De qualquer modo, o Tratado de Tordesilhas é o único documento espanhol inscrito no registro “Memória do Mundo” da Unesco, criado em 1992 para preservar os documentos patrimônios da humanidade.

Plaza Mayor de Tordesilhas
Image captionA Plaza Mayor de Tordesilhas data do século 16

Mas Tordesilhas tem mais história do que a relacionada com o Tratado assinado na cidade.

Os 800 anos de história que a cidade carrega pode ser apreciado em muitos de seus rincões, praças, ruas estreitas, igrejas, e palácios.

Começando pela sua maravilhosa Plaza Mayor, a praça do século 16 rodeada de colunas.

E continuando, por exemplo, com o mosteiro de Santa Clara, um extraordinário conjunto mudéjar do século 14 que no ano de 1362 o rei Pedro 1º ordenou que fosse transformado em convento.

(CNBC) It’s not China or the US: Here are the trade war’s winners — so far


  • Vietnam has emerged as the largest beneficiary of a diversion in trade flows as a result of the ongoing tariff fight between the U.S. and China, according to Nomura.
  • Other major beneficiaries from the trade war are Taiwan, Chile, Malaysia and Argentina, the Japanese investment bank says.
  • But Nomura economists say their findings don’t paint the full picture of the economic impact of a trade war.
GP: Trump Xi 180919

China’s President Xi Jinping (L) and US President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.AFP Contributor | AFP | Getty Images

More than one year since the start of a trade war between Washington and Beijing, economists from Japanese investment bank Nomura found evidence that the U.S. and China — in order to avoid elevated tariffs — have cut down importing certain goods from each other.

Instead, importers in the two countries have been sourcing for the same products from alternative locations not targeted by tariffs, the economists said in a report outlining their findings. Vietnam has so far emerged as the largest beneficiary of that diversion in trade flows, gaining an estimated 7.9% of its gross domestic product from those new business, according to Nomura.

“As tit-for-tat tariff hikes between the US and China increase, so does the cost of importing from each other,” the economists wrote in the report dated June 3.

“Some exporters in the US and China may be willing to absorb part of the additional tariff costs in their profit margins, and some multinationals could opt to re-shore production, but the trade literature shows that, over time, the largest response is likely to be trade diversion, ” they added.

chart 190604 nomura trade war winners

A chart by Nomura showing the beneficiaries of the trade war and their estimated gains. Click to expand.

The U.S. has so far slapped a 25% tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and American President Donald Trump has threatened to apply the same elevated levy on the remaining imports from China worth around $300 billion. In retaliation, Beijing also raised tariffs on billions of dollars worth of American products.

That tariff fight has resulted in the U.S. and China importing fewer goods from each other, especially products subject to higher levies, said Nomura. In addition to Vietnam, the other major beneficiaries from the trade war are TaiwanChileMalaysia and Argentina, the bank said.

Vietnam and Taiwan benefited mostly from additional exports to the U.S., while Chile, Malaysia and Argentina gained by selling more to China, according to Nomura.The full picture

Looking at products subject to higher tariffs, Nomura economists found that levies imposed by Washington on China pushed U.S.-based firms to opt for alternative sources for many sets of products. That includes electric apparatuses for phones, parts of office machines, automatic data process machines, furniture and travel goods.

On the other hand, China’s tariffs on the U.S. resulted in Chinese importers buying soybeans, aircraft, grains and cotton products from other countries, according to the Japanese financial firm.

These are some of the products that Nomura said the top five beneficiaries have been exporting more as a result of the trade war:

While the study showed that third-party economies can benefit in the U.S.-China tensions by becoming substitute sources for goods subject to elevated tariffs, Nomura economists warned that the findings don’t paint the full picture of the trade war.

“There are many other forces at work and the overall economic impact on most third countries will be negative,” they said.

The detrimental effects may include companies holding back investment plans due to uncertainties on trade, and falling demand in the U.S. and China because companies and consumers in both countries end up facing higher costs due to the tariffs.

(BBC) Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels’


A statue of Virgin Mary broken in two parts at the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church in Colombo
Image captionThe report comes less than two weeks after bombings at three churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

The persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at near “genocide” levels, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution.

Christians were the most persecuted religious group, it found.

Mr Hunt said he felt that “political correctness” had played a part in the issue not being confronted.

The interim report said the main impact of “genocidal acts against Christians is exodus” and that Christianity faced being “wiped out” from parts of the Middle East.

It warned the religion “is at risk of disappearing” in some parts of the world, pointing to figures which claimed Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5% of the population, while in Iraq they had fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000.

“Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity,” the Bishop wrote.

“In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

The foreign secretary commissioned the review on Boxing Day 2018 amid an outcry over the treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who faced death threats after being acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Its findings come after more than 250 people were killed and more than 500 wounded in attacks at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Asia Bibi
Image captionAsia Bibi’s husband pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada

Mr Hunt, who is on a week-long tour of Africa, said he thought governments had been “asleep” over the persecution of Christians but that this report and the attacks in Sri Lanka had “woken everyone up with an enormous shock”.

He added: “I think there is a misplaced worry that it is somehow colonialist to talk about a religion that was associated with colonial powers rather than the countries that we marched into as colonisers.

‘Atmosphere of political correctness’

“That has perhaps created an awkwardness in talking about this issue – the role of missionaries was always a controversial one and that has, I think, also led some people to shy away from this topic.

“What we have forgotten in that atmosphere of political correctness is actually the Christians that are being persecuted are some of the poorest people on the planet.”

In response to the report, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, said Jews had often been the targets of persecution and felt for Christians who were discriminated against on the basis of their faith.

“Whether it is in authoritarian regimes, or bigotry masked in the mistaken guise of religion, reports like the one launched today remind us that there are many places in which Christians face appalling levels of violence, abuse and harassment,” she said.

The review is due to publish its final findings in the summer.

(BBG) Huawei Supply Freeze Points to U.S.-China Tech Cold War – Bloomberg

(BBG) China now has no choice but to pursue technological independence, and will burn the cash to achieve it.

The Tech Cold War Has Begun

China now has no choice but to pursue technological independence, and will burn the cash to achieve it.By Tim Culpan , ‎20‎ de ‎maio‎ de ‎2019‎ ‎05‎:‎44

Get ready for Chandroid?
Get ready for Chandroid? Photographer: LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

This is the moment Huawei Technologies Co. has been waiting for.

Chipmakers including Qualcomm Inc., Xilinx Inc. and Broadcom Inc. have told employees they won’t supply to the Chinese electronics giant until further notice, Bloomberg News reported late Sunday in the U.S. Those companies will need clarification from the Trump administration on whether they can ship to Huawei, so for now it seems they’re erring on the side of caution.

A similar process took place when ZTE Corp. was banned from buying U.S. products after reneging on a deal to settle charges of breaking trade sanctions. Staff were told to halt shipments until they could work out what was allowed and what was forbidden. The U.S. ended up imposing an embargo (later removed) that crippled the smaller Chinese communications company.

QuicktakeDigital Cold War

The prospect that the U.S. government would cut off the supply of components to Huawei was precisely what management had been anticipating for close to a year, Bloomberg News reported Friday. Huawei has at least three months of supplies stockpiled. That’s not a lot, but it speaks to the seriousness with which the Shenzhen-based company took the threat.

There’s hope that this latest escalation is just part of the U.S.’s trade-war posturing and will be resolved as part of broader negotiations. Huawei, or Chinese leaders, are unlikely to be so naive as to share that. Even the briefest of bans will be proof to them that China can no long rely on outsiders.

We can now expect China to redouble efforts to roll out a homegrown smartphone operating system, design its own chips, develop its own semiconductor technology (including design tools and manufacturing equipment), and implement its own technology standards. This can only accelerate the process of creating a digital iron curtain that separates the world into two distinct, mutually exclusive technological spheres.

Expect there to be hiccups. An initial Chinese version of Android – let’s call it Chandroid – won’t hold a candle to the original developed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Home-grown communications chips will be inferior to those offered by Qualcomm and Xilinx. But whereas past attempts to develop local products could flop because Western alternatives were still available, failure is no longer an option in the eyes of China’s top leadership.

The government will pump in more subsidies to make sure the industry doesn’t fall short, and much money will be wasted. Money can’t solve all problems. But given time, Chinese state funding will overcome enough challenges to make local alternatives viable, if not comparable to American technology. It’s unlikely the U.S. has the political will to subsidize its own companies to the same extent. Initially, it won’t need to because of America’s current superiority. But Huawei’s position at the forefront of 5G mobile technology shows that this lead won’t be held forever.

So now the tech cold war has begun. The winner won’t be the side with the best fighters, but the one with the greater ability to endure the pain of prolonged losses.

(BBC) I M Pei, Louvre pyramid architect, dies aged 102


I M Pei on the 10th anniversary of The Pyramid of the Louvre, April 1999

I M Pei, the architect behind buildings including the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, has died aged 102.

Tributes have been pouring in, remembering him for a lifetime of designing iconic structures worldwide.

Pei’s designs are renowned for their emphasis on precision geometry, plain surfaces and natural light.

He carried on working well into old age, creating one of his most famous masterpieces – the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar – in his 80s.

A pragmatic artist

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou in 1917, and moved to the US at the age of 18 to study at Pennsylvania, MIT and Harvard.

He worked as a research scientist for the US government during World War Two, and went on to work as an architect, founding his own firm in 1955.

One of the 20th Century’s most prolific architects, he has designed municipal buildings, hotels, schools and other structures across North America, Asia and Europe.

Qatar's Islamic Museum of Art
Image captionQatar’s Islamic Museum of Art is one of Pei’s most famous designs
Suzhou Museum in China
Image captionThe architect also designed the Suzhou Museum in China, which was completed in 2006

His style was described as modernist with cubist themes, and was influenced by his love of Islamic architecture. His favoured building materials were glass and steel, with a combination of concrete.

Pei sparked controversy for his pyramid at the Louvre Museum. The glass structure, completed in 1989, is now one of Paris’ most famous landmarks.

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston
Image captionPei designed Boston’s John F Kennedy Library and Museum
Dallas City Hall, designed by architects I M Pei and Theodore J Musho
Image captionI M Pei designed Dallas City Hall with fellow architect Theodore J Musho
I M Pei's Bank of China tower (L) in Hong Kong
Image captionI M Pei’s Bank of China tower (L) in Hong Kong

His other work includes Dallas City Hall and Japan’s Miho Museum.

“I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art. To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity,” he once said.

He was won a variety awards and prizes for his buildings, including the AIA Gold Medal, the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture.

In 1983 Pei was given the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The jury said he had he “has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms”.

He used his $100,000 prize money to start a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in America.

I M Pei