China hikes tariffs on $60B in U.S. imports, accuses Trump of 'trade bullyism'

China hikes tariffs on $60B in U.S. imports, accuses Trump of 'trade bullyism'

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BEIJING — China raised tariffs Monday on thousands of U.S. goods in an escalation of its fight with President Donald Trump over technology policy and accused Washington of bullying Beijing and damaging the global economy.

The General Administration of Customs said it started collecting additional taxes of 5 and 10 percent on $60 billion of goods at noon. That coincided with the time for Trump’s planned tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese imports to take effect, but there was no immediate U.S. government confirmation it was collecting the higher charges.

The two governments imposed 25 percent penalty taxes on $50 billion of each other’s goods in July in their first round of their fight over U.S. complaints about Beijing’s plans for state-led creation of robotics and other technology industries.

The United States, Europe and other trading partners say Beijing’s industry plans violate its free-trade obligations. American officials complain they are based on stealing foreign know-how and worry they might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

Monday’s tariff increase followed a report by The Wall Street Journal that Chinese officials pulled out of a meeting to discuss arrangements for a new round of talks proposed by Washington. The Chinese government had given no public indication whether it would accept the invitation.

Signs featuring U.S. and Chinese flags are seen outside a store selling foreign goods in Qingdao, China.STR / AFP – Getty Images

Also Monday, the Chinese government accused the Trump administration in a report of “trade bullyism” and said its “improper practices” are damaging the global economy.

The report accused the Trump administration of abandoning “mutual respect” and mechanisms set up to address trade disputes.

“It has brazenly preached unilateralism, protectionism and economic hegemony, making false accusations against many countries and regions, particularly China, intimidating other countries through economic measures such as imposing tariffs, and attempting to impose its own interests on China through extreme pressure,” the report said.

Economists warn that a protracted dispute will eventually stunt growth across the globe. Companies on both sides of the Pacific are already reporting disruptions to their operations and are reviewing investment plans.

The trade tensions have also cast a pall over broader relations between Beijing and Washington, with the two sides butting heads on a growing number of issues.

Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's court nominee, faces new sex allegation

Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's court nominee, faces new sex allegation

A second woman has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump’s US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Deborah Ramirez, a Yale university classmate of the judge, told the New Yorker that Mr Kavanaugh had exposed his genitals at a dormitory party.

The judge has denied both allegations, labelling the latest “a smear”.

The make-up of the nine-judge Supreme Court is crucial, as it has the final say on often highly contentious laws.

Before Mr Kavanaugh can take up the vacant seat, he has to be approved by the 21-strong Senate Judiciary Committee and then the whole Senate.

Prof Christine Blasey Ford, who last week came forward alleging Mr Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s, has agreed to testify before the Senate committee on Thursday.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, called for the “immediate postponement of any further proceedings” relating to Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination in an letter sent to the committee’s Republican chairman on Sunday evening.

What is the new allegation against Mr Kavanaugh?

Ms Ramirez alleges the incident occurred when she was a freshman at Yale University alongside Mr Kavanaugh during the 1983-4 academic year.

She says they were both taking part in a drinking game at a dormitory party where people sat in a circle and selected others to drink.

She says at one point, a plastic penis was pointed in her direction by one man, and later another exposed himself directly.

“I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.”

Ms Ramirez said she was mocked and taunted when she remarked it wasn’t real, and then ended up touching the genitals while attempting to push the man away.

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“I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said, referring to her devout Catholic upbringing. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.”

She says she remembers Mr Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants.

The article says the 53-year-old acknowledges gaps in her memory caused by alcohol that night, which is said to have made her hesitant to come forward when contacted.

What have other people said about the incident?

The journalists behind the piece, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, say they contacted dozens of classmates to try to corroborate Ms Ramirez’s account.

Three former students, who were not independent eyewitnesses, recalled being told or discussing the incident in vague terms at the time.

Two males allegedly involved in the incident disputed her account, alongside several other classmates, adding the allegation against Mr Kavanaugh was “completely out of character”.

In a statement, the Supreme Court nominee strongly denied the allegation.

“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so,” he said.

“This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name – and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building – against these last-minute allegations.”

A White House spokeswoman says the administration stands by the nominee, labelling the allegation “the latest in a co-ordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear a good man down”.

It then released a further statement highlighting perceived weaknesses and uncertainties within the New Yorker’s account.

What are the other allegations?

Prof Ford alleges Mr Kavanaugh tried to drunkenly remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth at a high school party when she was 15 and he was 17.

Some Republicans, including President Trump, have accused her and Democratic politicians of deliberately trying to delay and obstruct the judge’s confirmation using the allegations.

Michael Avenatti, a US lawyer known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her cases against President Trump, has alleged on Twitter that he is representing a third woman with “credible information” regarding Judge Kavanaugh and the alleged witness to Prof Ford’s assault, Mark Judge.

Inskip Point: Section of Australian beach collapses into sea

Inskip Point: Section of Australian beach collapses into sea

A large section of an Australian beach has fallen suddenly into the ocean due to erosion, according to authorities.

The landslip, up to 300m (1,000 feet) wide, took place at Inskip Point in Queensland on Sunday or Monday, state officials said.

It is the third incident of its kind in the area in recent years. In 2015, one swallowed a caravan, tents and a car.

Officials said no campers or property had been affected by the latest event. They urged people to avoid the area.

“It’s likely this erosion has been caused by the undermining of part of the shoreline by tidal flow, waves and currents,” Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science said in a statement.

Helicopter pilot Glen Cruickshank said he saw the change while flying over the popular sand peninsula, about 250km (155 miles) north of Brisbane, on Monday.

“It is far bigger than the last two – it’s a right big chunk that’s just been sucked down,” he told the BBC.

Officials described it as “near-shore landslip”. Sinkholes, by contrast, emerge from dissolving rock.

Previous incidents

In 2015, about 140 people were evacuated after a 200m-wide landslip claimed part of a campground nearby. No-one was injured.

After that incident, Queensland reviewed the stability of the peninsula and set up exclusion zones around areas deemed to be at risk of erosion.

A smaller landslip hit the peninsula in 2016.

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Geologist Peter Davies, from the University of the Sunshine Coast, said landslips would “almost certainly happen again”.

“All we can say with any certainty is that it’s an inherent unstable area and will do this periodically,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship as Justin Rose secures FedEx Cup

Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship as Justin Rose secures FedEx Cup

Tour Championship final-round leaderboard (US unless stated)
-11 T Woods; -9 B Horschel; -7 D Johnson; -6 H Matsuyama (Jpn), W Simpson, J Rose (Eng); -5 R Fowler, J Thomas, X Schauffele, R McIlroy (NI)
Selected others: -4 T Fleetwood (Eng), P Casey (Eng); -3 T Finau; -1 B DeChambeau; +13 P Mickelson
Full leaderboard

An emotional Tiger Woods completed an astonishing comeback to win the season-ending Tour Championship by two shots and record his first win in five years.

The 42-year-old’s victory in Atlanta was his 80th PGA Tour title – only fellow American Sam Snead has more – but his first since August 2013.

Less than a year ago he was 1,199 in the world after spinal fusion surgery – the latest of multiple operations.

“I was having a hard time not crying on that last hole,” Woods said.

“I just can’t believe I’ve pulled this off.”

Thousands of fans spilled on to the 18th fairway to follow Woods to the green chanting “U-S-A” and “Tiger, Tiger” after his approach found a bunker on the edge of the green.

Woods holed out for par to complete a final round of 71 for an 11-under total before holding his arms aloft in celebration of a brilliant win just days before the Ryder Cup gets under way in Paris.

England’s Justin Rose lost his world number one ranking as a result of finishing tied fourth but secured the overall FedEx Cup which determines the season-long PGA Tour champion – the first Englishman to do so.

Rose birdied the 18th at East Lake for a 73 to finish on six under and seal the top-five finish he needed to win the $10m (£7.6m) bonus on offer as FedEx Cup champion.

‘I loved every bit of it’

Woods, who was two clear of compatriot Billy Horschel, said: “I had to suck it up and hit some shots. Once I got the ball on the green, it was done. I could handle it from there.”

The 14-time major champion’s last tournament victory was in August 2013 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, since when he has had surgery on his back four times

“It was just a grind out there,” Woods added. “I loved every bit of it, the fight, the grind and the tough conditions.

“At the beginning of the year, it was a tall order but as the year progressed and I proved I could play, I knew I could do it again.”

He came into the final day of the tournament – the last of four FedEx Cup play-off events – with a three-shot lead over Rose and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who faded from contention with a 74 to finish on five under in a tie for seventh.

Woods birdied his first hole – one of two birdies and three bogeys – with his place at the top of the leaderboard in little danger during the final round.

“It’s been tough. I’ve had a not-so-easy last couple of years,” he said. “I’ve worked my way back. I couldn’t have done it without the help of all the people around me.

“Some of the other players knew what I was struggling with. It was really special to see them at the green on 18. It’s just hard to believe I won the Tour Championship.”

‘He’s looked world class again’

The win for Woods, who is part of the United States team for next week’s Ryder Cup in Paris, means he is now two short of Snead’s all-time PGA Tour title record of 82.

It comes less than a year since Woods said he might never return to competitive golf following multiple back operations.

In April 2017 he had his third surgery in 19 months to try and cure pain in his back and leg.

He returned to competitive golf in November 2017 and admitted he was “winging it” as he waited to see if his back would hold up.

“I’ve been in bed for about two years and haven’t been able to do much,” Woods said before the Hero World Challenge, where he would finish ninth in the 18-man field.

Back on the PGA Tour in 2018, Woods missed the cut in his second event but crucially felt fit enough to add tournaments to his schedule and the results soon followed, most notably when he led the Open Championship at Carnoustie with eight holes to play and then finished runner-up in the US PGA Championship.

“All year long he’s looked like winning,” said Rose about Woods. “He’s played some great golf and he’s looked world class again.

“It was just a matter of time and I’m so happy for him.”

Justin Rose celebrates with the FedEx Cup

Rose nearly ‘throws it away’

Rose – whose one PGA Tour victory in 2018 came at the Forth Worth Invitational in May – entered the FedEx Cup play-offs fourth in the points list behind Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka.

After missing the cut at the opening Northern Trust tournament, he finished second in both the Dell Technologies Championship and the BMW Championship.

Rose, Tony Finau, Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, defending champion Thomas and Woods all came into the Tour Championship with a chance to win the FedEx Cup bonus with a victory at East Lake.

With Woods looking certain to win the tournament, a top-five finish for Rose was going to be enough for the world number one to claim the overall title.

However, bogeys on the 11th, 14th and 16th saw Rose slip out of the top five and Woods was set to secure the FedEx Cup in addition to the Tour Championship.

Rose, 38, needed a birdie on the par-five 18th to finish joint fourth with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and claim the title.

“I was waiting for a break all day and to get it on the last hole was great timing,” said Rose, a European Ryder Cup team member. “I felt more pressure as I was throwing it away. It was a horrible scenario but fortunately I clicked into gear at the right time.

“Today is going to take a lot of absorbing but I can’t wait to go over to Paris.”

‘The greatest comeback of all time’ – reaction

English world number 12 Tommy Fleetwood: “Everybody watching at home, everybody that was right there when it happened. We’ve just witnessed the greatest comeback of all time! What a time to be alive!!!”

18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus: “I never dreamed Tiger Woods could come back and swing the way he has, after surgery. I think you could argue he’s swinging better than he has ever in his life. He has played fantastically! I think throughout this year some of Tiger Woods’ issues were between his ears, as he had to remember how to win again. Tiger has been close, almost there. You knew he was going to win soon, and this week he did it.”

His difficult decade

In October 2017 Woods, who last won a major in 2008, was sentenced to a year’s probation after pleading guilty to reckless driving.

He was arrested in May that year after officers found him slumped at the wheel of his parked Mercedes-Benz not far from his Florida home.

Woods insisted that alcohol was not a factor, which the toxicology test showed to be true.

He claimed his disorientated condition was caused by an unexpected reaction to the combination of medications he was taking, after surgery on his back.

In total he had four surgeries on his back in four years, at one point saying he simply wanted to be able to walk and live a normal life again after years of chronic pain.

In 2009 Woods was involved in a bizarre car crash outside his Orlando home.

The incident sparked accusations of extramarital affairs which led to the end of his seven-year marriage and the loss of lucrative sponsorship deals.

When Woods last won a tournament in August 2013…

  • Barack Obama was in the first year of his second four-year term as US President.
  • Manchester United were preparing to begin their first season under new manager David Moyes following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • British boxer Anthony Joshua had only just turned professional a month earlier, going onto become IBF, WBO and WBA world heavyweight champion.
  • Woods was still number one until May 2014. Seven players have held the position since – Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.
  • Of the 21 men’s major golf championships played since, there have been 16 different winners.

Tiger Woods career timeline

April 1997: Wins his first major championship at the Masters

June 1997: Becomes world number one for the first time, less than a year after turning professional

June 2000: Wins the US Open by a record 15 shots

June 2008: Wins his 14th major championship at the US Open to move within four of Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18

November 2009: His car hits a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida home, leading to revelations about what he calls “transgressions” in his private life

August 2010: He and wife Elin Nordegren announce they are divorced

August 2013: Wins his 106th global title and 79th on the PGA Tour at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational

May 2016: Falls out of the top 500 in the world rankings for the first time as a professional, eventually reaching as low as number 1,199 in December 2017

April 2017: Has spinal fusion surgery, the third surgery in 19 months to try and cure pain in his back and leg

May 2017: Is arrested and charged with driving under the influence after being found asleep at the wheel of his car with the engine running.

September 2018: Is named as a wildcard pick for the 2018 Ryder Cup to return to the side for the first time since 2012, a month after finishing second at the PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods celebrates

Justin Rose celebrates after birdieing the 18th to win the FedEx Cup

Melbourne plane crash: Pilot error in fatal shopping centre incident

Melbourne plane crash: Pilot error in fatal shopping centre incident

Pilot error was responsible for a small plane crash which killed five people in Melbourne last year, Australian authorities say.

The plane hit a shopping centre after take-off, killing pilot Max Quartermain and his four US passengers. Two people on the ground suffered minor injuries.

Aviation safety authorities said the plane’s rudder trim had been in the wrong position, causing the crash.

The problem should have been detected in pre-flight checks, they said.

Passengers Greg Reynolds De Haven, Russell Munsch, Glenn Garland and John Washburn had been heading to visit Tasmania’s King Island on a golf trip when the accident happened in February last year.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said it was the worst civilian aviation accident in the state in 30 years.

Mayday calls

Mr Quartermain, an experienced pilot, issued seven mayday calls after taking off from Melbourne’s small Essendon Airport.

The plane was in the air for 10 seconds before it crashed into a Direct Factory Outlets (DFO) shopping centre.

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According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the pilot had “several opportunities” to detect that the plane’s rudder trim was in the full nose-left setting.

The rudder trim is located at the rear of the aircraft and helps control movement. It is set via a wheel in the cockpit.

“The pilot’s practices with regard to setting and confirming the position of the rudder trim, such as performing a function check, could not be established,” it said in its final report released on Monday.

The ATSB said the flight operator did not have an appropriate check system in place at the time of the accident.

The report also noted that the Beechcraft B200 King Air’s on-board weight had exceeded its maximum, although this did not contribute to the crash.

The Aquarius: Migrant rescue ship has registration revoked

The Aquarius: Migrant rescue ship has registration revoked

A rescue vessel operating in the central Mediterranean Sea has had its registration revoked, leaving its future operations in jeopardy.

When the Aquarius next docks, it will have to remove its Panama maritime flag and cannot set sail without a new one.

It is the last private rescue ship operating in the area used for crossings from Libya to Europe.

The charities running the vessel accuse the Italian government of pressuring Panama into deflagging the Aquarius.

The two groups which lease it, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and SOS Mediterranée, say they were notified of the decision by the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA) on Saturday.

The authority is said to have described the ship as a “political problem” for the country’s government, and said Italian authorities had urged them to take “immediate action” against them, according to SOS Mediterranée.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has previously described the aid boats as a “taxi service” for migrants, denies his country put pressure on Panama.

On Sunday, he tweeted he didn’t even know what prefix Panama has for telephone calls.

Mr Salvini has been a prominent figure in a public immigration crackdown in Italy since his government, a coalition between the right-wing League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, came to power in June.

He has frequently come into conflicts with rescue ship operators and last month was involved in a public stand-off about the disembarkation of 150 migrants on a coast guard ship on the island of Sicily.

According to the United Nations, more than 1,700 migrants have died trying to cross to Europe in 2018.

The Aquarius has been operating in the area since February 2016, finding itself at the centre of diplomatic stand-offs in recent months over disembarkation.

It was under the flag of the Gibraltar Maritime Administration until August this year, when it was given “notice of removal” and re-registered with Panama.

The ship’s operators say they were notified of the new decision while on a current mission, and say they have 58 survivors on board from two boats they found in distress.

Once it docks, the vessel will now be de-flagged and will not be able to set sail again without being registered with a new maritime authority.

In a joint statement, the charities insisted they were in “full compliance” with maritime law and denounced the decision as condemning hundreds to death.

The statement asks for European governments to step in to allow the vessel to continue its operations by either reassuring the Panamanian authorities or issuing it a new flag.