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  1. #9091

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Furlough Threat Hangs Over U.S. Military Bases in South Korea
    By Nick Wadhams and Jihye Lee
    January 22, 2020, 6:13 PM EST Updated on January 23, 2020, 2:10 AM EST
    Civilians to receive notices if there’s no troop funding deal
    Dispute comes as allies brace for provocations by North Korea

    The U.S. is warning it will send furlough notices within weeks to almost 9,000 South Korean workers at U.S. bases if the two countries don’t reach agreement on President Donald Trump’s demand for Seoul to increase dramatically what it pays for American troops.

    Trump’s push for South Korea to contribute much more has put the alliance under strain at a time when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime has said it would no longer be bound by its previous promise to halt testing of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.

    The two sides remained deadlocked, though U.S. officials have indicated they’ve backed off Trump’s initial demand that President Moon Jae-in’s administration pay about $5 billion a year for U.S. forces stationed there, more than five times the $900 million in a stopgap one-year agreement that expired on Dec. 31.

    The Special Measures Agreement pays for about 28,000 American troops stationed in South Korea -- and also for the South Korean civilians who work at the bases. U.S. officials say they are required to give those workers 60 days’ advance notice that their pay might be cut off because the last of the funds under the previous deal is running out.

    “Cost-sharing negotiations with allies are tough, whether it’s Korea, Japan or others,” said Rexon Ryu, a partner at the Asia Group and a former White House official and Pentagon chief of staff. “But a penny-pinching approach that is informed by a transactional strategy risks weakening fundamental strength of the alliance.”

    Trump has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. gets a raw deal from partners that host American troops around the world, and he’s focused particular ire on the South Korean agreement. In August, he tweeted that South Korea “is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the military defense provided by the United States of America.”

    People familiar with the discussions say American negotiators have shifted their position as they seek to offer a justification for a far bigger price tag. After initially suggesting South Korea could make more purchases of U.S. defense equipment, the Trump administration is now focused on other elements, such as asking the country to pay more for temporary troop rotations. Another demand is for South Korea to spend more on capabilities that would allow it to take full operational control of joint forces in wartime.

    Last week, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal calling on Seoul to pay more in a tone that one person familiar with its publication said reflected rising frustration in Washington over the impasse.

    The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Harry Harris, told reporters last week that U.S. law would soon require the furlough notifications. About 6,000 workers would be immediately affected, with furloughs extended later to additional “core personnel,” according to Son Gi-o, a representative of the U.S. Forces Korea Korean Employees Union.

    “If we do go into furlough, the bases will be completely paralyzed,” Son said, adding that a total of 8,700 employees could be affected.

    In October, the chief of staff for U.S. Forces Korea, Major General Stephen Williams, told the union in a letter that furloughs were possible from April 1 if a deal was not reached, adding that the first notices to impacted employees would be issued by Jan. 31.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #9092

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Coronavirus prompts automakers to evacuate workers, weigh production delays at Chinese factories
    Published Mon, Jan 27 20204:20 PM ESTUpdated 23 min ago
    Michael Wayland

    Key Points

    Most, if not all, major automakers have restricted or banned travel to the country due to the fast-spreading disease.

    Some automakers such as Honda Motor and PSA Group are extracting employees from the country.

    Other companies are evaluating the situation on an ongoing basis to determine what, if any action, to take following the end of the
    extended Chinese New Year holiday.

    Automakers are withdrawing employees from China and weighing whether to suspend manufacturing in the country as the virus that emerged in Wuhan less than a month ago ravages the mainland.

    Most major automakers have restricted or banned travel to the country due to the fast-spreading disease, which as of Monday had taken the lives of at least 82 people in China and sickened 2,900 worldwide. Manufacturing in China was temporarily halted in honor of the Lunar New Year — which kicked off this weekend — but normal operations were due to resume this week. Automakers across the globe with operations in China could keep those plants closed even longer, people familiar with the matter said.

    Some automakers such as Honda Motor and PSA Group have taken additional actions. Both are withdrawing employees working around the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

    Nissan also has plans to withdrawal a majority of its employees and their families members from the Wuhan area back to Japan, a person familiar with the company’s plans told CNBC on Monday.

    “We take the health and safety of our employees and their families seriously,” a Nissan spokesman said in an emailed statement, declining to comment directly on the withdrawal plans. “We are carefully evaluating the epidemic situation in Wuhan and the country and keep our employees informed and provided with all necessary support and precautionary tools.”

    PSA Group said in an email to CNBC that the decision to repatriate its employees in Wuhan will be done “according the proposition of the French authorities in complete cooperation with Chinese authorities.” They are expected to start flying French citizens home from Wuhan by the middle of this week, company spokesman Pierre-Olivier Salmon said.

    Details about the number of U.S., European and other international auto employees expected to be evacuated from China were not immediately available. A Honda spokesman on Monday confirmed 30 “associates and their families” who work at the nearby plant were being sent home to Japan.

    In Shanghai, local officials are prohibiting companies in the city from resuming operations before Feb. 9, Reuters reported. Electric car maker Tesla, which just opened its first factory in China just outside of Shanghai, didn’t return multiple requests for comment.

    Others automakers such as General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have expanded travel restrictions for employees to the country.

    Business in China is essentially shutdown through Thursday as part of the long Chinese New Year holiday, known as the Spring Festival. Chinese authorities extended the shutdown to Feb. 2 to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection.

    GM, which is by far the largest U.S. automaker in the country, is “taking it one day at a time” regarding the outbreak, according to a spokesman. It hasn’t yet decided whether it will extend the work stoppage in China beyond Feb. 2, particularly at an assembly plant in Wuhan that employs roughly 6,000 employees, he said. The automaker operates 15 assembly plants with Chinese partners in the country.

    “Out of an abundance of caution, GM has placed a temporary restriction on travel to China,” the company said. “Employees are also reminded to take necessary protection measures suggested by medical authorities. GM will continue to closely monitor this situation.”

    Others such as Ford Motor, Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen of America are said to be doing the same regarding business operations and travel to the country.

    Automakers with notable operations in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, include GM, Honda and Nissan, which currently has a facility under construction with Wuhan-based Dongfeng.

    A spokesman for Ford on Monday said production and other operations in China are currently scheduled to resume on Feb. 3, the day after the holiday ends. However, those plans could change based on Chinese officials’ recommendations.

    Ford last week suspended all business travel to Wuhan. It operates manufacturing facilities in Chongqing and Hangzhou. Both are hundreds of miles away from Wuhan.

    Over the weekend, Fiat Chrysler asked all employees “to delay or reschedule any business travel to China through the end of February.” Exemptions, a company spokesman said, may be made for “business critical issues after consultation with HR/security in China.”

    Fiat Chrysler operates two assembly plants in China: one northwest of Hong Kong in Guangzhou and another in Changsha, located roughly 200 miles south west of Wuhan. It also operates a handful of supplier facilities in the country.

    A spokesman for Volkswagen of America on Friday said the company is “actively monitoring the situation in China and will evaluate any travel to the region on a case by case basis.”

    Michael Dunne, CEO of China consulting and market-intelligence company ZoZo Go, said it’s “impossible to measure the impact right now” on the auto industry from the coronavirus due to the holiday.

    “It’s akin to the week between Christmas and New Year,” he said on Monday. “The Chinese always shutdown for this period.”

    In China, Dunne said there was a sense of “determined calm” with people in China that has recently evolved into “a feeling of genuine anxiety and all the emotions that go along with not knowing just how big and how bad this thing is ... It’s unsettling for sure for people inside China.”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  3. #9093

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Dow posts worst day since October and turns negative for the year as coronavirus fears grow
    Published Mon, Jan 27 20202:12 AM ESTUpdated an hour ago
    Fred Imbert

    Stocks tanked on Monday after more cases of the coronavirus were confirmed over the weekend, ratcheting up worries over the virus’ impact on the world economy.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 453.93 points, or 1.6% to 28,535.80, wiping out the average’s gains for the year. The 30-stock average also notched its biggest one-day fall since October along with its longest losing streak since August. The S&P 500 dropped 1.6% to 3,243.63, snapping a 74-session streak without a 1% decline. The Nasdaq Composite had its worst day since August, dropping 1.9% to 9,139.31.

    There are 2,862 confirmed cases so far in China and the death toll in China has risen to 81. The World Health Organization’s director general is traveling to China to meet with government and health officials. In the U.S., a fifth case of coronavirus was confirmed over the weekend.

    “China is the biggest driver of global growth so this couldn’t have started in a worse place,” said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell. “Markets hate uncertainty, and the coronavirus is the ultimate uncertainty in that no one knows how badly it will impact the global economy.”

    Airline stocks United and Delta both dropped more than 3.3%. American slid 5.5%. Gaming stocks such as Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts declined by 6.8% and 8.1%, respectively. MGM Resorts slid 3.9%

    Travel stocks Expedia, Carnival and Marriott International all pulled back at least 2.1%. Consumer shares with exposure to China such as Apple, Disney, Nike and Estee Lauder all dropped at least 1.8%.

    Caterpillar, a bellwether for global growth, fell 3.3% while the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) dropped 4%. Nvidia and Micron Technology fell more than 4% each while AMD dropped 2.2%.

    Overseas, global stocks took a hit, as the Japanese Nikkei 225 dropped 2% while the German Dax lost 2.6%. France’s CAC 40 also pulled back more than 2%. The Stoxx 600 index — which tracks a broad swath of European equities — tanked by 2.3%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) dropped 3.5%. Chinese markets were closed due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

    “The market had run up a lot on the belief that economic data would improve post the trade war,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management. “This, to me, could potentially push out the time for that data to improve.”

    Traditional safe havens such as Treasurys and gold got a lift as worries over the sickness permeated. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to 1.61% and hit its lowest level since October while gold futures climbed about 0.6%.

    The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered to be the best fear gauge on Wall Street — jumped to around 18.2 from about 14.5.

    Coronavirus fears have been rattling investors since last week. Stocks closed lower on Friday, marking their first weekly decline of the young year.

    “Investors tapped the brakes last week as overbought conditions and concerns over the coronavirus created a few speed bumps on the path to record-highs,” said Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Sandler. “We continue to believe there is an elevated risk for a deeper pullback to develop.”

    Elsewhere, American Express shares fell 3.1% after an analyst at Stephens downgraded them to equal weight from overweight. The analyst also trimmed his price target on the stock, citing a stretched valuation.

    —CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #9094

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Wendy Mesley
    Jan 26
    BBC Chinese Service Journalist Zhaoyin Feng has been tracking state and social media and says there are questions about whether the government was covering up news about the coronavirus when it first broke out in Wuhan.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  5. #9095

    Re: World News Random, Random

    A massive 7.7 magnitude earthquake his hit between SE Cuba and Jamaica. It also impacted the Cayman Islands and was felt in Florida. The Tsunami warning has been rewcinded. However the after shocks are pretty big.

    ⸘hindsight is 2020‽ [že/žim]
    #breaking 6.5 M #earthquake 10 minutes ago.

    six (6) quakes have happened this afternoon so far in the #Cayman Trough near #Jamaica & #Cuba—
    1– 7.7 M at 2:10 p.m. local time
    2– 4.5 M at 2:30p
    3– 3.9 M at 2:40p
    4– 4.7 M at 3:40p
    5– 4.9M at 4:00p
    6– 6.5M at 4:55p
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  6. #9096

    Re: World News Random, Random

    I have to say this though: As you all know I use Twitter. A lot. What I see happening during this tragedy is that people are constantly retweeting the CNN report from 2-3 hours ago and panicking because they think a tsunami is about to hit. When I read about some countries disabling Twitter during natural disasters or political unrest I understand why now. Some idjut even posted pics from the Japanese tsunami claiming it was Jamaica.

    There haven't been any pics out of Cuba and Jamaica yet.

    The earthquake that devasted Haiti was 7.0
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  7. #9097

    Re: World News Random, Random


    An earthquake off the coast of Cuba and Jamaica causes cans and bottles to fly off the shelves in the Cayman Islands. This man attempted to save them but failed miserably.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  8. #9098

    Re: World News Random, Random

    David Koeller

    A Magnitude 6.1 earthquake recorded very near the Cayman Islands in the last 30 minutes. Presumably an aftershock from the M7.7 to the east earlier this afternoon. Likely stronger shaking in the Cayman Islands from this earthquake than the earlier one.

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  9. #9099

    Re: World News Random, Random

    City of Miami
    @CityofMiami The City of Miami &
    @MiamiPD have set up unified command centers in the Brickell area & at the City’s Emergency Operations Center downtown to manage response. #Earthquake
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  10. #9100

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Magnitude 7.7 earthquake
    Affected countries: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Haiti, Honduras, and Cuba
    87 miles from Montego Bay, Jamaica · 2:10 PM

    vis USGS
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

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