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US, China relationship pushed to brink by Trump, Xi, coronavirus - Business Insider - Business Insider
Over the coronavirus, the US and China relationship has gone from skepticism and competition to insults and outright hostility.
Business Insider There comes a moment in all close relationships when both parties must decide whether they will work through their problems together, or if they will engage with those problems in a state of open hostility. The US and China — in the midst of a global health catastrophe and facing the worst economic crisis since World War II — have chosen the path of open hostility. This week The People's Republic of China irrevocably changed Hong Kong. It passed legislation to allow its security forces to operate there, a move condemned the world over as an encroachment on Hong Kong's freedom. On Friday the Trump administration responded to that by listing a slew of ways it would change the US's relationship with Hong Kong and announced plans to investigate Chinese companies on US stock exchanges and sanction individuals involved in enforcing the new Hong Kong security measures. After weeks of escalating tensions over the coronavirus, Chinese telecom company Huawei, Taiwan, national security and technological development — literally everything that matters between the two countries — these Hong Kong measures take the fight between the new countries to a new level. Taken all together this means that right now the China and the US are living out a dangerous paradox. Never since China reemerged on the world stage in the 1970s has there been more vitriol between the two countries. But never in their history have they needed each other more than they do now. China needs US money to get out of its coronavirus depression. The US needs Chinese-made medical supplies to specifically fight the coronavirus as well as China's products for its consumers and business in general. This necessity for cooperation is very real, but the capacity for it is almost nonexistent in both countries. In the US both Republicans and Democrats have turned against the Chinese government. An extreme group of politicians within the GOP — led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — is still claiming, without providing evidence, that the virus may have escaped from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan. China has met the US's frustration with aggression and outright lies about the coronavirus' origin. The world won't stop asking questions about the country's initial response to the virus — which was horrendous — and President Xi Jinping is encouraging diplomats to respond to those questions with something called "wolf warrior diplomacy" — a heightened public aggression against any Chinese descent from anyone anywhere. Trump also on Friday announced that the US would no longer cooperate with the World Health Organization because, according to Trump, China "has total control over" the organization and the country pressured to WHO "mislead the world" about the virus. The rivalry between the US and China is eroding trust in the very institutions meant to bring us through this crisis. It's a contest in which we all lose. China's coronavirus lockdown absolutely savaged its economy. Analysts at Societe Generale estimate that the country's unemployment number sits between 70 million and 80 million people at the end of March. According to official figures, China's GDP contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter, a historic drop. It sounds horrible, but it may actually be too rosy a picture. China watchers like Charlene Chu, an analyst at Autonomous Research who is known for her deep knowledge of China's financial system, find it impossible to square that GDP number with the rest of the stats that came out of China in the first quarter. Here's a rundown:
- Retail sales -19.0% year-over-year in the first quarter
- Fixed-asset investment -16.1% year-over-year in the first quarter
- Exports -13.3% year-over-year in the first quarter
- Industrial production -8.4% year-over-year in the first quarter
NASA Names The Next Space Telescope After The Brilliant 'Mother of Hubble' - ScienceAlert
Nancy Grace Roman was told she couldn't do science. She became NASA's first woman executive and made the Hubble Space Telescope possible.
NASA just named a powerful new space telescope for the woman who masterminded the existence of such observatories in the first place. Dr. Nancy Grace Roman spent 21 years at NASA developing and launching space-based observatories that studied the sun, deep space, and Earth's atmosphere. She most famously worked to develop the concepts behind the Hubble Space Telescope, which just spent its 30th year in orbit. Dr. Nancy Grace Roman visits the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Hubble project team. NASA/GSFC/Bill Hrybyk Roman earned the nickname "mother of Hubble" for her role in pushing for that telescope. When it launched in 1990, Hubble became the first of NASA's "great observatories," which are designed to push the limits of human knowledge about the cosmos. Roman also served as NASA's first Chief of Astronomy, making her the first woman to hold an executive position at the agency. She died in 2018. Roman "had huge influence in all of astronomy and space," Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science, said in a NASA video announcing the name. Zurbuchen said Roman's work led space astronomy to where it is today. "For that reason: that vision, that foresight … that leadership on the inside of the agency," Zurbuchen said, "that really makes her, I think, the only name that is appropriate for this large space telescope that we're building now." An artist's illustration of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center NASA plans to launch the new telescope, which was originally called the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST), into Earth's orbit in the mid-2020s. Over its five-year lifetime, the Roman Space Telescope will measure light from a billion galaxies and survey the inner Milky Way with the hope of finding about 2,600 new planets and photographing them. The new observatory will have a field of view 100 times greater than Hubble's. Each of its photos will be equivalent to about 100 Hubble images' worth of pixels. The field of view of the Hubble Space telescope compared to the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (formerly called WFIRST). NASA That breadth will help scientists test Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity and search for signs of "dark energy," a mysterious force that makes up 68% of the universe and drives its expansion. "[Roman] is somebody I've really admired. It makes me excited and proud to be associated with a mission that's named after her. This is something I'm going to enjoy day after day as the mission continues," Julie McInery, the deputy project scientist for the telescope, said in a statement. Roman is shown with a model of the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) in 1962. NASA Roman was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 16, 1925. As a child, she loved to draw the moon. Her mother, a music teacher, would take her on nighttime walks to point out constellations and the ribbons of the aurora borealis. Her father, a geophysicist, answered her "scientific questions," she told NASA in 2017. Throughout childhood, her love of the cosmos grew. Between the fifth and sixth grades, Roman organized an astronomy club among her friends to study the constellations. By seventh grade, she knew she wanted to be an astronomer. "I knew it was going to take me another 12 years of schooling, but I figured I'd try and if I didn't make it, I could teach physics or math in high school," she told NASA. She graduated in 1949 from the University of Chicago with a PhD in astronomy — one of the few women in the world to earn such a degree at the time. "I certainly did not receive any encouragement. I was told, from the beginning, that women could not be scientists," Roman told NASA. "My thesis professor? There was a period where he went six months without speaking to me, even when I said hello to him in the hall. He didn't want to have anything to do with me." Roman at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in the early 1970s. NASA Roman's first job after leaving the University of Chicago was in the radio astronomy program at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. At the time, American radio astronomers usually built their own instruments — an undertaking that had more to do with mechanics than with studying the universe. "I did not want to start over as an engineer," Roman told NASA. "I enjoyed the work, so I wasn't looking terribly actively for a new job. But when NASA came along and offered me a job I decided to take it." That was in 1959, when the agency was just six months old. At work, Roman began to use the prefix "Dr." with her name. "Otherwise, I could not get past the secretaries," she recalled. A few months later, she heard that the agency was looking for someone to set up a space astronomy program. "I knew that taking on this responsibility would mean that I could no longer do research," she told NASA. "But the challenge of formulating a program from scratch that I believed would influence astronomy for decades to come was too great to resist." Roman stands next to a 1/6-scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope outside the Space Telescope Operations Control Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 31, 2017. NASA/GSFC/Jim Jeletic That's when Roman became the agency's chief of astronomy and began developing the concepts for Hubble — an idea that had been kicked around since the mid-1940s, primarily by astronomer Lyman Spitzer, but never moved forward. "Being the first executive woman at NASA turned out not to be terribly eventful. I was accepted very readily as a scientist in my job," Roman said. One of the first things she did at NASA was to organize top astronomers and engineers from across the country in 1960, then have them "sit down together and come up with something that the engineers thought would work, and that the astronomers thought would do their job," she said. "Beyond that, my job was trying to convince first NASA, and then the bureau of the budget, and the executive part of government, and then Congress, that was worth doing," Roman added. Though Roman retired from NASA in 1969, she continued to consult for the space agency, and her early organization and advocacy planted the seeds that ultimately led to Hubble and the Great Observatories program. Hubble launched in 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. In the three decades since, the telescope has taken more than 1.4 million observations, and astronomers have used that data to publish more than 17,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications, according to NASA. One of Hubble's most iconic images, of the Eagle Nebula's Pillars of Creation, shows dust and gas clouds where new stars form. NASA/ESA/Hubble/Hubble Heritage Team Hubble's lens has captured stunning images of distant planets, violent space collisions, and the births and deaths of galaxies and stars. It has helped scientists learn the secrets of dark matter, measure the universe's expansion, and determine that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their centers. "It's hard to decide how history will decide to view my accomplishments," Roman told NASA. "People generally aren't terribly interested in what gets things started, and so I'm not sure they're going to have much of an idea of my role." But in giving the next telescope her name, NASA is ensuring that the "mother of Hubble" and her contributions to studying the cosmos won't fade. "Nancy Grace Roman deserves a place in the heavens she studied and opened for so many," Zurbuchen said.
'We are not out of the woods': Bond King Jeff Gundlach reopens his bets against the stock market as the c.. - Business Insider
'We are not out of the woods': Bond King Jeff Gundlach reopens his bets against the stock market as the coronavirus rages
- Jeff Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine, reopened a short position against the S&P 500, expecting the coronavirus' economic outlook to further tank the index.
- The investor took to CNBC on Monday to reveal his new stake, adding that the Federal Reserve's spate of policy measures aren't enough to prevent a second downturn.
- The so-called "bond king" exited the last of his stock shorts on March 18, tweeting "the profits were just too great to not harvest."
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
Epic has begrudgingly put Fortnite on Google's official app store - Business Insider - Business Insider
Epic Games has finally put Fortnite on the Google Play Store, but it says it only did so because Google puts outsider apps at a disadvantage.
Fortnite has been playable on Android devices for the past 18 months, but only now is it making its way to Google's official app store. The game's creator, Epic Games, today announced that Fortnite will finally be available to download through Google's Play Store. Until now, players have had to snag the game from the Epic Games Store, or sideloaded it from another source. But Epic is making the change begrudgingly, something that's clear from the statement it shared with Business Insider. Epic said it believes Google put Epic and other software downloaded outside of the Play Store at a "disadvantage," accusing Google of using measures like "scary, repetitive security pop-ups" to warn users about third-party software. Google employs these measures to deter users from downloading malware and other harmful software, but Epic says this has a negative effect on legitimate apps like its own. Putting Fortnite on the Play Store means Epic will now have to pay Google 30% of the money it makes from in-app purchases. Last year, 9to5Google reported that Epic had tried getting Google to let it on the Play Store without the 30% tax – something Google clearly didn't agree to. It's worth reading Epic's entire commentary on this, especially as Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has previously been very vocal about Apple and Google's control over their app economies. Here's the full statement: "After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we've come to a basic realization: "Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store. "Because of this, we've launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store. We'll continue to operate the Epic Games App and Fortnite outside of Google Play, too. "We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field."
United Airlines plummets 8% after revealing the coronavirus outbreak drove a $2.1 billion quarterly loss .. - Business Insider
United Airlines plummets 8% after revealing the coronavirus outbreak drove a $2.1 billion quarterly loss (UAL)
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
- United Airlines shares tanked 8% in early Monday trading after the company revealed it lost $2.1 billion in pretax profits over the first quarter.
- Preliminary revenue dropped 17% to $8 billion over the period as the coronavirus pandemic halted flights and eliminated airlines' key revenue streams.
- United expects to take in $5 billion in relief funds from the US and apply for an additional $4.5 billion in loans as it weathers the outbreak.
- Travel demand has plunged to "essentially zero and shows no sign of improving in the near term," president Scott Kirby and CEO Oscar Munoz wrote in an April 15 letter.
- Watch United Airlines trade live here.
Trump gives propaganda boost to Russia, China with WHO funding cut - Business Insider - Business Insider
Trump's plan to cut funding from WHO has now opened the door for US adversaries to accuse it of undermining the fight to defeat the coronavirus.
Business Insider By moving to cut funding from the World Health Organization amid a devastating pandemic, President Donald Trump has granted US adversaries such as Russia, China, and Iran a major propaganda boost. After Trump on Tuesday announced his plans to cut the roughly $400 million the US contributes to WHO's budget, all three countries excoriated the move. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday said the US should "refrain from further attacks on the WHO." "We are calling on the US to refrain from further attacks on the WHO and pursue a responsible policy, which would not ruin the basis of international cooperation in the medical and biological field, but on the contrary would enhance this cooperation and create a basis for its further development," Ryabkov said, according to CBS News, which cited Russia's TASS news agency. Similarly, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters on Wednesday that Trump's move would "weaken WHO's abilities and undermine global cooperation on combating the pandemic." "It will affect all countries in the world, including the United States — especially those with vulnerable abilities," he said. "We urge the US to fulfill its responsibilities and obligations, and support WHO to lead the international combat against the pandemic." Meanwhile, Javad Zarif, Iran's top diplomat, tweeted: "The world is learning what Iran has known & experienced all along: US regime's bullying, threatening & vainglorious blathering isn't just an addiction: it kills people. Like 'maximum pressure' against Iran, the shameful defunding WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy." Iran had already been using the US as a scapegoat, blaming the Trump administration's crippling economic sanctions for its disastrous coronavirus response. Trump just gave the Iranian government more material in that regard. All of these countries have been broadly criticized for suppressing information on the novel coronavirus within their borders. But Trump's plan to cut funding from WHO has now opened the door for them to accuse the US of undermining the global effort to combat the pandemic. And China, Russia, and Iran are hardly alone in condemning the move. Trump is playing into China's hands António Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, said now is "not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus." —United Nations (@UN) April 15, 2020 In response to Trump's announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "This is another case, as I have said, of the President's ineffective response, that 'a weak person, a poor leader, takes no responsibility. A weak person blames others.' This decision is dangerous, illegal, and will be swiftly challenged." Pelosi and other Democrats have accused Trump of using WHO as a scapegoat to deflect from his own failures in responding to the pandemic and distract from the fact the US is the center of the global health crisis. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a top lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday tweeted: "Pulling out of the WHO makes America less secure. It makes another pandemic more likely. It only serves Trump's political interests, as he desperately grasps for a scapegoat to deflect attention from his fatal mishandling of this crisis." Even the Heritage Foundation, a Trump-supporting conservative think tank, criticized the move and said it played into China's hands and benefited its messaging at a time when many countries are turning against it. "The US has taken pains to counter Chinese disinformation and focus the world on the fact that Chinese actions and inactions facilitated the spread of COVID-19 and impeded the international response, leading to enormous loss of life and economic hardship," Brett Schaefer, a Heritage senior research fellow, wrote. "Those efforts will be immediately overshadowed by an announcement that the US is cutting funding to WHO even as other nations, both developed and developing, are expressing anger toward China for its role in the COVID-19 pandemic." Schaefer said China would "immediately exploit the announcement to expand its misinformation campaign, cement its influence in the World Health Organization, and portray the US as uninterested in helping other countries deal with COVID-19." Trump is not alone in his criticism of WHO, but experts and former US officials say he risks exacerbating the pandemic by freezing funding Trump has essentially blamed WHO for the scale of the global health crisis, accusing it of being too deferential to China (where the virus originated) and opening the door for the virus to spread across the world. "Today I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus. Everybody knows what's going on there," Trump said on Tuesday. The president is not alone in his criticism of WHO, as many Republican lawmakers feel the agency should've pushed China to be more transparent in the early days of the virus. WHO has also faced criticism for accepting and endorsing China's claim in mid-January that there was no human-to-human transmission, which is not true. But former US officials who worked on public-health crises under both Republican and Democratic administrations told Insider that while WHO is not perfect, cutting funding from it amid a pandemic is counterproductive and could exacerbate the crisis. WHO plays a crucial role in advising and assisting developing countries amid health crises, and cutting its funding weakens its ability to do so. The US contributes about 15% of the agency's budget, between $400 million and $500 million per year. "If we throw a punch at WHO, we're just going to end up connecting with our own jaw here because it will make it harder to stop the outbreak globally, and that is bad for our own interests," Jeremy Konyndyk, who oversaw the Obama administration's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as the director for foreign disaster assistance at the US Agency for International Development, told Insider on Tuesday. Jack Chow, a US ambassador on global HIV/AIDS during the George W. Bush administration who also previously served as a WHO assistant director-general, told Insider that withdrawing funding was a "profound mistake." "Should COVID-19 accelerate in poverty zones, the pandemic could last for many more months, even years, longer and could even become permanent among human populations. For Trump to cause a crisis within a crisis weakens the global response at a precarious time," Chow said. Both Chow and Konyndyk blamed WHO's structure and its neutral mission for its deferential disposition toward China at the start of the coronavirus crisis. Trump is condemning WHO for behavior he also exhibited toward China While Trump condemned WHO for "praising China for its so-called transparency," he did the exact same thing in January while downplaying the threat of the virus. Trump on January 24, for example, tweeted: "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!" —Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020 WHO declared the coronavirus a global health crisis on January 30, a day before Trump issued travel restrictions for China. This was a little over a week after the first coronavirus case was reported in the US and about a month before the first confirmed death in the US from the virus. Trump continued to downplay the threat over the course of February and into March.
New York Gov. Cuomo says 'the worst is over,' warns against reopening - Business Insider - Business Insider
New York is expected to announce a plan in conjunction with neighboring states about how to reopen select parts of the economy as hospitalizations slow.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was likely behind the state, so long as there's no rush to reopen the businesses and the economy as hospitalizations slow, which could trigger another acceleration. "I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart, and I believe we can start on the path to normalcy," he said at a press conference in Albany. "Do not reverse the progress we have made in our zeal to reopen. That's our challenge going forward." There were 671 new deaths reported in New York on Monday, bringing the state's death toll to above 10,000 for the first time. New hospitalizations slowed to 1,958, the lowest number in two weeks, according to The New York Times, signaling a slowdown in infections. Still, it could take an approved vaccine to fully end the virus' spread, something Cuomo estimated could take 12 to 18 months. And any "reckless" actions to prematurely restart the economy could prove devastating, he said. —Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 13, 2020 Cuomo, whose daily briefings have reached celebrity status in their drastic opposition to those of President Donald Trump's White House briefings, also hinted at a forthcoming plan in conjunction with Connecticut and New Jersey later on Monday about reopening businesses. Many commuters from those neighboring states make up a significant percentage of New York City's workforce. "There is going to be no morning where the headline says 'Hallelujah it's over,'" Cuomo said, adding that there will be "points of resolution" as the virus' spread ebbs and flows. Trump took a different tone, tweeting Monday that "it is the decision of the President" to "open up the states." But he also said any plan would be formulated "in conjunction with the Governors." Overall, the US has confirmed more than 558,000 cases, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Cuomo's second press conference on a multistate plan was scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Monday. Loading Something is loading.
Carnival, Royal Caribbean barred from sailing for up to 3 months - Business Insider - Business Insider
COVID-19 has spread to hundreds of cruise-ship passengers and crew members while threatening the cruise industry's financial health.
Cruise ships may not be able to sail in US-controlled waters until July, an order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said. Cruises, the agency said, accelerate the spread of COVID-19 and increase the burden on the US medical system. The order bars new cruises until the Department of Health and Human Services no longer considers COVID-19 a public-health crisis, the CDC rescinds or changes the order, or 100 days pass after the order is published in the Federal Register. The document was not available in the Federal Register as of Friday morning. The order also prevents cruise lines from letting passengers or crew members exit their ships at US ports without permission from the Coast Guard. There are 114 ships carrying over 93,000 crew members in or close to US ports, according to the CDC, and 6,000 passengers were still on Carnival's ships as of March 30, the cruise company said. Cruise lines must create plans to address and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on their ships by April 16, the order said, adding that cruise lines must also find ways to reduce their reliance on US governments and hospitals. "We value our relationship with the US authorities, and will continue to work with these important agencies in our shared commitment and priority for the health and safety of passengers and crew," said a representative for the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group for the cruise industry. The representative added that the association was concerned about the potential consequences of the CDC's order, saying it could result in the loss of 343,000 US jobs and $51 billion in economic activity if it were extended for a year. "While it's easy to focus on cruising because of its high profile, the fact is cruising is neither the source or cause of the virus or its spread," the representative said. "What is different about the cruise industry is our reporting requirements. It would be a false assumption to connect a higher frequency in reporting to increased risk/frequency of infection." A Royal Caribbean representative said the company was "aware of the CDC order" and "studying how best to respond to its provisions." Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to requests for comment. All CLIA cruise lines — including those owned by Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings — have been voluntarily shut down since March after COVID-19 spread to hundreds of passengers and crew members on ships like the Diamond Princess, the Costa Luminosa, and the Zaandam. The companies had planned to resume new cruises in May at the earliest, but the CDC's order could prevent any new cruises from sailing in US-controlled waters until July. A steep decline in revenue has threatened the cruise industry's financial health, causing the stock prices of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian to plummet as they tap credit lines or issue bonds to fulfill their cash needs. Analysts told Business Insider that while the cruise industry would eventually rebound, it was difficult to predict when. Do you work in the cruise industry? Do you have an opinion on how your company or the industry as a whole has handled the coronavirus? Email this reporter at [email protected] Loading Something is loading.