Duterte to Shift Thousands of Government Workers to New City – Trending Stuff

Thousands of government workers will be moved from Manila to a new city that’s being built in a former U.S. military base, as President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration seeks to ease a traffic gridlock in the capital.

The government and private companies are investing more than 50 billion pesos ($1 billion) to build an administrative center in New Clark City. Within five years, the area is expected to have at least eight mid-rise government towers, 8,000 housing units and a train connecting it to Manila, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away.

“The vision is to build a new thriving city outside metro Manila that’s well-planned, future proof,” said Vince Dizon, president of the state-run Bases Conversion Development Authority which is overseeing the 9,450 hectare development. “We will slowly move some government activities to Clark to pump-prime the city.”

The project is part of Duterte’s plan to decentralize state offices away from Manila’s gridlocked streets. The capital, home to 13 million people and accounting for about one-third of the nation’s economy, will become a “dead city” within 25 years, Duterte said in a speech last month supporting the development of the city, whose name is derived from the former Clark Air Force Base that was closed in 1991.

About 1 million people in the capital region work for the government, adding to traffic congestion that a 2014 Japan International Cooperation Agency study said costs the economy about 2.5 billion pesos a day in lost productivity. That’s expected to climb to 6 billion pesos a day by 2030.

Gridlock

Philippine drivers are the most dissatisfied in the world

Source: Waze Inc.

Bases Conversion will start moving to Clark this year. The Department of Transportation transferred its office to Clark in 2017.

The first phase of the 200-hectare administrative center also involves the development of back-up offices for government agencies to ensure continuity in case of disaster. An aquatics and athletics center that will serve as the venue for the 30th SEA Games in late 2019, is also planned, Dizon said.

An expansion of Clark Airport is scheduled to be completed by the first half of 2020, enabling it to handle 12 million passengers a year and double the number of domestic flights from about 240 weekly. Bases Conversion, the manager of former military properties, will publish the bidding terms for the contract to operate Clark Airport this week.

At least 12 billion pesos of roads and bridges will be built in the next two years, while an industrial park planned by Filinvest Land Inc. may have an initial investment of at least 10 billion pesos, Dizon said.

To help fund the Clark City development, Dizon said Bases Conversion will sell up to 60 hectares of real estate in Taguig City near the financial district of Makati, where land prices are at a record high.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Tsunami warnings canceled after magnitude-7.9 earthquake off Alaska – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Forecasters canceled tsunami warnings for Alaska and the US and Canadian west coasts Tuesday after an earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska stoked fears of damaging waves.

The tsunami alerts were canceled “because additional information and analysis have better defined the threat,” said the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

Small tsunami waves of less than 1 foot were reported in Alaska, the center said.

The minor tsunami was triggered by a magnitude-7.9 earthquake that struck shortly after midnight. It was centered about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, at a depth of 15 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

The temblor was followed by at least 61 aftershocks, USGS Seismologist Rafael Abreu said.

The aftershocks in the region so far were not strong enough to trigger any additional tsunami warnings, but were just the Earth releasing energy, Abreu explained.

“Most of the aftershocks seem to be in the magnitude 4.0 range,” Abreu said, adding that “this area of Alaska has seen many earthquakes. It’s pretty active in terms of historical seismicity. So it’s just a typical tectonic boundary event.”

Although the tsunami warnings were canceled, San Francisco officials warned residents to stay away from coastlines. About mid-morning, the dangerous-currents advisory from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management was canceled.

‘Whole town is evacuating’

Nathaniel Moore was on a commercial fishing boat in Kodiak when the quake hit. He said he felt it “shake really good for a minute.” He and others on the vessel quickly got to shore and headed for higher ground amid the tsunami warning.

“The whole town is evacuating,” he told CNN.

Tsunami sirens sounded in Kodiak, and police warned: “This is not a drill.”

Though the tsunami warnings and evacuation calls were canceled, schools in Kodiak canceled classes after campuses opened overnight as emergency shelters, the district announced via Facebook.

Wendy Bliss Snipes described the quake as “a slow roller, so it was felt for at least a minute before the real rolling started. Nothing fell off the walls, and I didn’t have to wake my kiddo.”

Heather Rand, who was in Anchorage, told CNN that the earthquake felt like the longest she had ever experienced.

“It was a very long, slow build up. Creepy, more than anything. Definitely the longest, and I was born here,” Rand said. She reported no damage besides cracks in the drywall.

Why this wasn’t a lot worse

Both the earthquake and tsunami could have been much worse. Two key factors helped minimize damage.

First, the quake’s center was under the ocean, helping prevent catastrophic damage to structures on land.

Second, the quake resulted from a strike-slip fault — meaning pressure built up as two plates moved horizontally, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

That’s a lot less dangerous than a thrust fault, which happens when a plate displaces vertically.

“These are the quakes that produce the large tsunamis,” Hennen said, such as the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 people in Japan.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly attribute a quotation from an Alaska resident.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

World’s confidence in US leadership under Trump at new low, poll finds – Trending Stuff

In just under half of the worlds countries 65 out of 134 US standing collapsed, by 10 percentage points or more. Photograph: Kham/AFP/Getty Images

Global confidence in US leadership has fallen to a new low, and the country now ranks below China in worldwide approval ratings, according to a new Gallup poll.

The survey of opinion in 134 countries showed a record collapse in approval for the US role in the world, from 48% under Obama to 30% after one year of Donald Trump the lowest level Gallup has recorded since beginning its global leadership poll over a decade ago.

The result comes after a separate Gallup survey found that Trump reaches the first anniversary of his inauguration with the lowest average approval rating of any elected president in his first year.

map

That poll showed that Trump has averaged just a 39% approval rating since his inauguration. The previous low was held by Bill Clinton, whose first-year average was 10 points higher than Trumps, at 49%.

The latest study confirms some of the worst fears of foreign policy analysts in the US and Europe that Trumps America first approach, combined with his volatile and irascible personality, is weakening cohesion among western democracies in the face of a growing challenge from autocracies in Russia and China, and the rise of illiberal democracies and xenophobic nationalism inside Europe.

Germany is now seen as a global leader by many more people (41% of the sample), with China in second place on 31%. Russia has 27% approval for its global role according to the poll.

In just under half of the worlds countries 65 out of 134 US standing collapsed, by 10 percentage points or more. Some of the biggest losses were among Washingtons closest allies in western Europe, Australia and Latin America.

One of the sharpest declines in confidence in US leadership was in the UK, where it dropped by 26 percentage points. A third of Britons questioned in the new poll expressed approval, with 63% voicing disapproval.

This year marks a significant change in our trends, wrote Gallups managing partner, Jon Clifton. Only 30% of the world, on average, approves of the job performance of the USs leadership, down from 48% in 2016. In fact, more people now disapprove of US leadership than approve. This historic low puts the USs leadership approval rating on par with Chinas and sets a new bar for disapproval.

As part of his America First policy, Trump took the US out several multilateral agreements on the grounds they did not serve national interests, including the proposed Trans-Pacific trade partnership and the Paris Climate Change accord. He walked out of talks on a new trade and investment deal with Europe and has threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Approval of US leadership climbed by 10% or more in only four countries: Belarus, Israel, Macedonia and Liberia. It increased moderately in Russia, the former Soviet states in central Asia and parts of west Africa.

Trumps first year in office has aroused particular intense antipathy. Gallup found that the median of worldwide disapproval of US leadership has hit a new record of 43%, higher than disapproval of Russia (36%), China (30%) or Germany (25%).

The US has fallen below China in the Gallup global poll once before, in the last year of the George W Bush administration in 2008, but both the US and China were significantly more popular then than they are now.

The collapse in support is particularly dramatic in Canada and Latin America, where 49% approved of the Obama administrations leadership, with 27% disapproval in 2016. After Trumps first year, the ratings graph has scissored sharply, with only 24% now expressing faith in US leadership a new low – and 58% disapproving.

The Gallup report said that China, which has overtaken the US as the leading trading partner in parts of Latin America, may be positioned to take further advantage. Its approval rating across the Americas is four percentage points higher than the US, but disapproval is much lower at 35%. Many Latin Americans have not made up their minds about Chinese influence.

It is too early in Trumps presidency to deem his America first foreign policy a success or failure, the Gallup report said. However, it is clear that based on the trajectory of what the world thinks of the US, many of the US alliances and partnerships that the Trump administration considers a great strength are potentially at risk.

Daniel Drezner, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy said that the most serious finding was the severe drop in approval for US leadership in the worlds democracies.

He said: Elected leaders care what their publics think about the United States. These numbers will make it harder for those leaders to publicly cooperate with the Trump administration even when it might be in their interest to do so.

Donald Trump’s first year: in his own words – video

However, Mike Gonzalez at the Heritage Foundationsaid the poll was probably more about personal factors and that the reality was not as dire as the numbers suggested.

It is difficult to interpret this polling result as anything other than a visceral reaction to Donald Trump. In reality, this administration has devoted itself to renewing and rebuilding alliances which had been neglected for years, from Great Britain to Japan to various partners in eastern Europe, Gonzalez said.

While China has consistently attempted to expand its global reach, it still has no soft power worldwide, there is no Chinese version of blue jeans, cinema, TV shows, way of life, music, and the like. There are no 700 million people wanting to move to China. President Xis Chinese Dream is a transparent attempt to mimic the American model.

China to Overtake U.S. Economy by 2032 as Asian Might Builds – Trending Stuff

The growing importance of Asia’s major economies will continue in 2018 and beyond, according to a league table that sees the region dominating in terms of size in just over a decade.

The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London sees India leapfrogging the U.K. and France next year to become the world’s fifth-biggest economy in dollar terms. It will advance to third place by 2027, moving ahead of Germany.

In 2032, three of the four largest economies will be Asian — China, India and Japan — and, by that time, China will also have overtaken the U.S. to hold the No. 1 spot. India’s advance won’t stop there, according to the CEBR, which sees it taking the top place in the second half of the century.

Also by 2032, South Korea and Indonesia will have entered the top 10, supplanting the Group of Seven nations of Italy and Canada.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Bitcoin Fall Extends to 25% as Fears of Crypto Crackdown Linger – Trending Stuff

January’s cryptocurrency selloff got fresh impetus on Tuesday when Bitcoin slumped as much as 25 percent, as the prospect of regulatory crackdowns appeared to spread.

While the largest digital coin was down 25 percent at $10,338 as of 4:37 p.m. in New York, it was still at the lowest level since early December, according to composite pricing on Bloomberg. As Bitcoin halted its two-day rally, rival cryptocurrencies also tumbled. Ripple sank as much as 40 percent and Ethereum dropped 26 percent.

Speculators across the globe are struggling to determine when or how market watchdogs may rein in an industry that’s decentralized and derives much of its value from anonymous ownership. Many assertions that digital coins represent a bubble have triggered double-digit selloffs over the past year, only to be followed by rebounds.

In South Korea, shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges is still an option, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in an interview with TBS radio. But measures first need “serious” discussion among ministries, Kim added, holding out hope for traders that a crackdown won’t go that far. Kim said there’s irrational speculation and that rational regulation was
needed.

“The finance minister made it clear they’re definitely considering banning crypto trading — and it’s probably the third-largest market,” said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst in London for online trading platform ETX Capital. “The news is hitting prices and broader sentiment, and it follows China’s move to shutter mines.”

China, which first began targeting the industry last year, is escalating its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, particularly online platforms and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, according to people familiar with the matter.

How China’s Stifling Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies: QuickTake Q&A

“We’ve heard reports that South Korea, China and Japan have considered a shared approach, a path, to regulation,” ETX’s Wilson said, also citing a challenge to digital coins from a bill in the U.S Senate. “It looks like the light touch that has allowed the crypto-boom to explode may be coming to an end,” he wrote in a note to investors.

Lower-than-normal trading in Korea and Japan may have exaggerated the moves in Asia hours on Tuesday, said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst for the eToro currency platform.

Bitcoin trading using the Korean won was about 3.3 percent of the total among major currencies, compared with more than 10 percent reached on several days over the past two weeks, according to cryptocompare.com data.

Steven Maijoor, chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority, said investors “should be prepared to lose all their money” in Bitcoin, in a Bloomberg TV interview in Hong Kong. “It has an extremely volatile value, which undermines its use as a currency,” he said. “It’s also not broadly accepted.”

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the podcast:

The ESMA warned retail investors against initial coin offerings in November and is monitoring developments in cryptocurrencies, Maijoor said.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

China Weighs Slowing or Halting Purchases of U.S. Treasuries – Trending Stuff

China added to bond investors’ jitters on Wednesday as traders braced for what they feared could be the end of a three-decade bull market.

Senior government officials in Beijing reviewing the nation’s foreign-exchange holdings have recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasuries, according to people familiar with the matter. The news comes as global debt markets were already selling off amid signs that central banks are starting to step back after years of bond-buying stimulus. Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose for a fifth day, touching the highest since March.

China holds the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves, at $3.1 trillion, and regularly assesses its strategy for investing them. It isn’t clear whether the officials’ recommendations have been adopted. The market for U.S. government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, and trade tensions with the U.S. may provide a reason to slow or stop buying American debt, the thinking of these officials goes, according to the people, who asked not to be named as they aren’t allowed to discuss the matter publicly. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange didn’t immediately reply to a fax seeking comment on the matter.

“With markets already dealing with supply indigestion, headlines regarding potentially lower Chinese demand for Treasuries are renewing bearish dynamics,” said Michael Leister, a strategist at Commerzbank AG. “Today’s headlines will underscore concerns that the fading global quantitative-easing bid will trigger lasting upside pressure on developed-market yields.”

The Chinese officials didn’t specify why trade tensions would spur a cutback in Treasuries purchases, though foreign holdings of U.S. securities have sometimes been a geopolitical football in the past. The strategies discussed in the review don’t concern daily purchases and sales, said the people. The officials recommended that the nation closely watch factors such as the outlook for supply of U.S. government debt, along with political developments including trade disputes between the world’s two biggest economies when deciding whether to cut some Treasury holdings, the people said.

A top Treasury official signaled confidence in the U.S. government debt market, which at $14.5 trillion is the world’s largest.

“The U.S. Treasury market is a deep, robust market within the world and so we are confident that our economy, with the economy strengthening, that it will remain a deep, robust market,” Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass told a group of reporters in Brussels.

Read here about a 1990s episode regarding Treasuries, with Japan.

The 10-year Treasury yield was about four basis points higher at 2.59 percent as of 8:48 a.m. in New York.

Bond veteran Bill Gross says a bear market has begun, read about that here.

Any reduction in Chinese purchases would come just as the U.S. prepares to boost its supply of debt. The Treasury Department said in its most recent quarterly refunding announcement in November that borrowing needs will increase as the Federal Reserve reduces its balance sheet and as fiscal deficits look set to widen.

“It’s a complicated chess game as with everything the Chinese do,” said Charles Wyplosz, a professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. “For years they have been bothered by the fact that they are so heavily invested in one particular class of U.S. bonds, so it’s just a question of time before they would try to diversify.”

Some investors said that the market could take the China news in stride, considering the nation’s net purchases of Treasuries have already slowed “significantly.”

“If China ceases to be a net purchaser of U.S. Treasuries, this is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall yield curve unless China divests a large share of its total holdings in a short time period,” said Rajiv Biswas, Singapore-based chief Asia-Pacific economist at IHS Markit.

Yields were already climbing this week amid expectations the improving global economy will boost inflation pressures round the world, just as major central banks scale back their asset purchases.

Markets are also braced for a deluge of debt supply this week. The U.S. is scheduled to reopen $20 billion of 10-year debt Wednesday, followed by $12 billion of 30-year bonds Thursday. Germany sold 4.03 billion euros of 0.5 percent 10-year bonds Wednesday with syndications in Italy and Portugal to follow.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Bitcoin Lost Almost 20% of Its Value This Week – Trending Stuff

Bitcoin faced one of its biggest tests this week, losing almost 20 percent of its value after the world’s largest cryptocurrency reached a record high Monday.

The digital currency plunged as much as 30 percent on Friday, before paring losses, as this week’s selloff extended to a fourth day. The weekly decline is the biggest in almost three years. Other cryptocurrencies also tumbled: ethereum dropped as much as 36 percent and litecoin slumped as much as 43 percent, according to composite prices on Bloomberg.

Michael Novogratz, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Fortress Investment Group LLC macro trader, said he’s shelving plans to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund and predicted that bitcoin may extend its plunge to $8,000.

“We didn’t like market conditions and we wanted to re-evaluate what we’re doing,” Novogratz said in a phone interview. He predicted last week that bitcoin could reach $40,000 within a few months.

Bitcoin dropped to as low as $10,776, before recovering to $14,303 at 4:04 p.m. in New York. It last traded below $10,000 on Dec. 1, when the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission agreed to allow trading in bitcoin futures. The price of the digital coin had more than doubled in the prior three weeks.

The losses represent a major test for the cryptocurrency industry and the blockchain technology that underpins it, which have rapidly entered the mainstream in recent weeks. Bears cast doubt on the value of the virtual assets, with UBS Group AG this week calling bitcoin the “biggest speculative bubble in history.” Bulls argue the technology is a game changer for the world of investment and finance. Both will be closely watching the outcome of the current selloff.

“The sharks are beginning to circle here, and the futures markets may give them a venue to strike,” said Ross Norman, chief executive officer of London-based bullion dealer Sharps Pixley Ltd., which offers gold in exchange for bitcoin. “Bitcoin’s been heavily driven by retail investors, but there’ll be some aggressive funds looking for the right opportunity to hammer this thing lower.”

Traders who bought the currency on futures exchanges using collateral may start facing margin calls following the price decline. Two venues launched products in recent weeks that required hefty security, with Cboe needing 44 percent to clear contracts, and the CME 47 percent. Brokers set safety nets even higher.

Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said all buying and selling was temporarily disabled during today’s rout, after having delays in processing wire transfers and verifying new customers for the past week due to higher traffic. Bitcoin transaction volume jumped more than 30 percent on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, while fees to approve and record the transactions on the blockchain surged to a record $55, according to Bit Info Charts.

Many of the recent news stories and market moves connected to cryptocurrencies appear to carry hallmarks of the mania phase of a bubble. Long Island Iced Tea Corp. shares rose as much as 289 percent on Thursday after the unprofitable Hicksville, New York-based company rebranded itself Long Blockchain Corp. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday bitcoin isn’t functioning like a normal means of payment and is being used for speculation.

Still, cryptocurrencies are attracting established players. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is setting up a trading desk to make markets in digital currencies such as bitcoin, according to people with knowledge of the strategy. The bank aims to get the business running by the end of June, if not earlier, two of the people said.

For related news and information:
XBT Curncy GP for bitcoin
VCCY for a cryptocurrency monitor

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Trump threatens to cut aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote – Trending Stuff

General assembly to vote on rejecting US recognition of city as Israeli capital with Trump warning: Were not going to be taken advantage of any longer

Donald Trump has threatened to withhold billions of dollars of US aid from countries which vote in favour of a United Nations resolution rejecting the US presidents recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

His comments came after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, wrote to about 180 of 193 member states warning that she will be taking names of countries that vote for a general assembly resolution on Thursday critical of the announcement which overturned decades of US foreign policy.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Trump amplified Haleys threat.

Let them vote against us, he said.

Well save a lot. We dont care. But this isnt like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars, he said. Were not going to be taken advantage of any longer.

The warning appeared aimed largely at UN members in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are regarded as more vulnerable to US pressure.

Egypt, which drafted Mondays UN security council resolution which the US vetoed, is particularly vulnerable, receiving $1.2bn in US aid last year.

But Trumps comments may also resonate elsewhere including in the UK, which is hoping to negotiate a quick post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

The emergency UN general assembly meeting was called for Thursday to protest against the US veto at Mondays security council meeting on a resolution the Jerusalem issue which was supported by all other 14 members.

The security council resolution demanded that all countries comply with pre-existing UN security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favour on Monday, and were expected to do the same at the assembly on Thursday.

Diplomats expect strong support for the resolution, which is non-binding, despite the US pressure to either abstain or vote against it. However, a council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure and not support the draft resolution.

Critics point out the the Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as well as the US veto are both in opposition to numerous security council resolutions.

Trumps extraordinary intervention marked the latest escalation of diplomatic tensions over a decision that has seen the US widely criticised and isolated. It came after a day of high drama.

In a letter to UN ambassadors, Haley told countries including European delegations that she will report back to the US president with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting the US move at the UN general assembly on Thursday, adding that Trump took the issue personally.

The new draft resolution for Thursdays general assembly is very similar to Mondays defeated security council resolution. Unlike the security council, however, where permanent members can wield a veto, there are no veto rights in the general assembly.

The resolution reaffirms 10 security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.

The draft resolution demands that all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.

Referring to Haleys letter, which was disclosed by the Guardian and other media organisations on Wednesday morning, Trump said: I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations.

Our great citizens who love this country are tired of this country being taken advantage of were not going to be taken advantage of any longer.

In her letter, Haley wrote: As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally.

The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us, she continued.

Haley followed the letter by tweeting: At the UN were always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we dont expect those weve helped to target us. On Thurs therell be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.

The council is composed of 15 members. There are five permanent members:

China
France
Russia
United Kingdom
United States

There are also 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the UN general assembly. The current non-permanent members are listed below (end of term date in brackets):

Bolivia(2018)
Egypt(2017)
Ethiopia(2018)
Italy(2017)
Japan(2017)
Kazakhstan(2018)
Senegal(2017)
Sweden(2018)
Ukraine(2017)
Uruguay(2017)

Photograph: Xinhua / Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media

Responding to the US threats, the Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, and the foreign minister of Turkey a co-sponsor of the UN vote Mevlt avuolu told reporters at Istanbuls Atatrk airport that they believed UN member countries will ignore pressure from Haley.

No honourable state would bow to such pressure, avuolu said.

The world has changed. The belief that I am strong therefore I am right has changed. The world today is revolting against injustices.

A senior diplomat from a Muslim country said of Haleys letter: States resort to such blatant bullying only when they know they do not have a moral or legal argument to convince others.

A senior western diplomat, described it as poor tactics at the United Nations but pretty good for Haley 2020 or Haley 2024, referring to speculation that Haley might run for higher office.

Shes not going to win any votes in the general assembly or the security council, but she is going to win some votes in the US population, the western diplomat said.

A senior European diplomat agreed Haley was unlikely to sway many UN states.

We are missing some leadership here from the US and this type of letter is definitely not helping to establish US leadership in the Middle East peace process, the diplomat said.

The tabling of the resolution followed a weekend of negotiations aimed at securing the widest consensus possible on the issue. The vote has underlined once again the widespread international opposition to the US move, even among some of its closest allies.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Trump embarks on 13-day foreign trip to Asia – Trending Stuff

President Trump embarked on a 13-day trip Friday, with the first stop in Hawaii, ahead of his visit to five major Asian countries in his longest overseas trip to date amid the escalating North Korea threat.

The president and first lady departed the White House Friday morning, stopping to chat with reporters on their way to Air Force One.

“We are about to begin a long trip,” Trump said, noting that the White House had extended the trip, and added an extra day in the Philippines. “We have a big conference, a second conference. And I think we’re going to have great success.”

Trump said that he would be talking about “trade,” and the threat of North Korea.

“We’ll be enlisting the help of a lot people and countries and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “But I think we’re going to have a very successful trip. There is a lot of good will.”

According to administration officials, the president’s trip will be the longest trip to Asia by a president since 1991, when President George H.W. Bush was in office.

The president’s trip comes amid the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election. 

Trump said again Friday before boarding Air Force One that there was “no collusion.” 

Minutes after take-off, the president tweeted details of his trip. 

“Just took off for ceremony @ Pearl Harbor. Will then be heading to Japan, SKorea, China, Vietnam & the Philippines. Will never let you down!” Trump said. 

The president’s first stop, before heading overseas, is in Hawaii, where he will meet with U.S. Pacific Command, and visit Pearl Harbor and the Pearl Harbor memorial.

By Sunday, the president will be in Japan, where he is slated to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for meetings. As they did at Mar-A-Lago, Trump and Abe will play a round of golf at a country club in Japan—this time, joined by the world’s No. 4 golfer, Hideki Matsuyama.

Trump’s visit in Japan, according to the White House, will include meetings with service members and bilateral meetings.

The president is also expected to meet with families of Japanese citizens abducted by Kim Jong Un’s rogue regime.

Trump and Abe spoke earlier this week, and “affirmed the important of promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” and “maintaining close coordination” between the United States and Japan, and with the international community “to maximize pressure on North Korea.”

The president’s next stop will be South Korea, where he will have a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Trump will meet with service members, and also is slated for a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul.

A senior administration official told reporters during a White House background briefing this week that there was not enough time in the president’s schedule to accommodate a trip to the Demilitarized Zone, which has separated North Korea and South Korea for 64 years.

Instead of the DMZ, Trump will visit military base Camp Humphreys, which is set 40 miles south of Seoul, to highlight the U.S.-South Korean partnership.

The president’s trip to South Korea comes amid escalating tensions and rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea.

Trump said in his United Nations speech in September that he would “totally destroy” the rogue nation, if necessary. He also has continually dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “little Rocket Man.”

Trump’s next stop is China, an important visit that will draw much attention amid the president’s  expected requests for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump is expected to ask Xi, whom he hosted at Mar-A-Lago earlier this year, to impose limits on oil exports and coal imports with North Korea, as well as broader limits on financial transactions with the regime, Reuters reported. China is responsible for more than 90 percent of all trade with North Korea.

“Melania and I look forward to being with President Xi & Madame Peng Liyuan in China in two weeks for what will hopefully be a historic trip!” Trump tweeted last month.

Trump’s next stop is Vietnam, where he will take part in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) events, according to the White House.

Trump will go to the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi for an official visit and bilateral engagements with President Tran Dai Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders.

The final stop for Trump is the Philippines. The president was only slated to be in the Philippines for one day, but on Friday announced an additional day.

Trump is set for a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of human rights abuses, including killing suspected drug dealers. The White House has said that Trump could raise concerns with the program, though Duterte and Trump shared a “warm rapport” during a phone conversation.

While in the Philippines, the president will also attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 50th anniversary dinner. ASEAN consists of ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Trump  will celebrate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations at the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and participate in bilateral meetings with Duterte and other leaders.

“The president’s trip will focus on three goals,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters at the White House press briefing Thursday. “First, strengthening international resolve to denuclearize North Korea. Second, promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Third, advance American prosperity through fair and reciprocal trade and economic practices.”

McMaster added that the president would “reiterate the plain fact” that North Korea is a “threat to the entire world,” also promising that Trump would continue to call on “all responsible nations” to isolate the North Korean regime “economically and politically.”

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Philippine GDP Growth Exceeds 6% for a Ninth Consecutive Quarter – Trending Stuff

The Philippine economy grew more than 6 percent for a ninth consecutive quarter, cementing its position as one of the fastest-expanding in the world.

Big Picture

The Philippines is emerging as one of this decade’s economic stars with the World Bank predicting growth of more than 6 percent until 2019, underpinned by an ambitious infrastructure building program and a young and growing population. President Rodrigo Duterte has secured loans from China and Japan to help finance $180 billion of spending on projects such as the capital’s first subway and a network of railways and highways across the archipelago.

More than $50 billion of remittances and outsourcing revenue a year is helping support consumer spending, and luring retailers such as home furnishing giant Ikea. The central bank has so far kept interest rates at a record low, bolstering spending, but may be persuaded to tighten policy next year as currency weakness adds to pressure on inflation. The peso has dropped to an 11-year low this year and is the worst performing unit in Asia.

Other Details

  • Consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of GDP, gained 4.5 percent from a year earlier
  • Government spending rose 8.3 percent
  • Capital formation investment increased 6.6 percent
Key Points
  • Gross domestic product increased 6.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in Manila Thursday, after expanding a revised 6.7 percent in the previous three months
  • The median estimate of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 6.6 percent

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/