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Dow opens down almost 500 points after China hits back with new round of tariffs

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Investors were digesting an announcement from Chinese officials that they intend to increase tariffs by up to 25 percent on a list of 106 American goods, a response to President Donald Trump’s move to punish China for its trade deficit with the U.S.

“The broadening scope of US-China trade tensions is seen as a growing threat to global growth and corporate earnings,” said Alec Young of FTSE Russell.

Earlier on Wednesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross downplayed Beijing’s response, telling CNBC, “I’m frankly a little surprised that Wall Street was so surprised by it. This has been telegraphed for days and weeks.”

Ross also said he considered it likely that the current situation could lead to negotiations between the two economic powerhouses, especially since the tariffs would not be enforced immediately.

“The market is concerned about this thing escalating right now,” James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, told CNBC. “It’s not so bad if we have a few tariffs on a few products, but if it escalates worldwide, then you’re really threatening the recovery globally.”

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TikTok downloads to be blocked in US within days | Science & Tech News

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People in the US will be banned from downloading TikTok from this Sunday.

The US Commerce Department said that starting 20 September, Americans will not be able to get the popular video-sharing app.

The ban will also cover the messaging app WeChat.

President Donald Trump could still withdraw the ban before Sunday evening if a deal is done between TikTok’s Chinese owners ByteDance and US technology giant Oracle.

The two firms are in talks to create a new company, TikTok Global, that aims to address the White House’s concerns about the security of its users’ data.

A statement from the department said: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.

“Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the US by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.”

It went on: “While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories.

“Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP.

“This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”

Bytedance and Oracle have submitted a proposal for a deal in which TikTok would become a separate US company with with an American board.

There would also be a security committee – the head of which would need government security clearance.

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Historic books stolen in Mission: Impossible-style raid found buried underground in Romania | UK News

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Two hundred “culturally significant” books – including works by Sir Isaac Newton and astronomer Galileo – that were stolen in a Mission: Impossible-style raid in west London have been found buried underground in Romania.

The books, worth more than £2.5m, were taken in a “highly sophisticated” burglary at a warehouse in Feltham in January 2017, the Metropolitan Police said.

Thieves broke in by cutting holes in the roof of the warehouse and then abseiled down, avoiding motion sensor alarms.



Nicolaus Copernicus's De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium







February 2017: Abseiling raiders steal rare books

The books – which were due to be flown to a specialist auction in Las Vegas – were stolen in 16 large bags, with the raiders fleeing the warehouse through the roof.

Speaking to Sky News shortly after the raid, book dealer Alessandro Meda Riquier said the stolen works included his 1566 second edition of Nicolaus Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which was reportedly worth around £215,000 and was described as the “jewel” in the haul.

He said he had also lost important books by Galileo and very rare editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

An international police operation was launched to recover the “irreplaceable” items and on Wednesday they were discovered buried underground at a rural property in Neamt, Romania.

Detective Inspector Andy Durham said the recovery was “a perfect end” to a police operation involving officers in London, Romania and Italy.

“These books are extremely valuable, but more importantly they are irreplaceable and are of great importance to international cultural heritage,” he added.

The stolen books are worth more than £2.5m. Pic: Met Police
Image:
The stolen books are worth more than £2.5m. Pic: Met Police

The Met Police said it had identified suspects who were part of a Romanian organised crime group which was responsible for high-value warehouse burglaries across the UK.

The group is linked to several prominent Romanian crime families called the Clamparu, which has a history of complex high-value thefts but has mainly avoided prosecution by offending outside Romania.

Police found evidence of another 11 offences committed in the UK, in which a further £2m worth of property was stolen – with the offenders generally using the same method of entering through the roof.

The books were discovered buried underground at a rural property in Neamt, Romania. Pic: Met Police
Image:
The books were discovered buried underground at a rural property in Neamt, Romania. Pic: Met Police

As part of the investigation, there were coordinated arrests and searches of 45 properties across the UK, Romania and Italy in June 2019.

Thirteen people were charged with conspiring to commit burglaries and acquire criminal property between December 2016 and April 2019.

Twelve people have pleaded guilty and are due to sentenced next week, the Met Police said.

A thirteenth defendant is due to face trial in March.

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Yemen famine: 10 million children facing starvation with suffering ‘only likely to get worse’ | World News

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The war in Yemen is one of the world’s most intractable conflicts and its worst humanitarian crisis.

The UN says more than 10,000 people have died in the past 18 months – 100,000 since 2015 – and 80% of its population of 30 million are dependent on aid.

Warning: This report contains distressing images of seriously malnourished children.

Children walk at a camp for people displaced by fighting in Yemen's northern province of al-Jawf
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Children walk at a camp for people displaced by fighting in Yemen’s northern province of al-Jawf

More than 20 million require urgent humanitarian assistance – almost half of them children – and more than three million people have been displaced.

There is little sign of an end to the conflict because it has drawn in the big powers of the region whose rivalry shows no sign of abating.

The roots of the war go back to the Arab Spring uprising. Huge crowds of protesters forced the ousting of longstanding strongman ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The transition to his successor President Mansur Hadi was plagued with problems. Corruption, political infighting and economic failure all strengthened the Houthis, a Shia movement supported by Iran.

The Houthis took over the capital of Sanaa and ousted the Sunni government. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia looked on in alarm at the rise of a group it sees as proxies for Iran, its longstanding enemy. The Saudis began their military intervention.

What had been an internal civil war was transformed into a regional conflict with devastating consequences.

Many children are suffering from acute malnutrition
Image:
Many children are suffering from acute malnutrition

Yemen has become a proxy conflict. Sunni Saudi Arabia and its great Shia enemy Iran have used the war to play out their longstanding rivalry.

While America tried in the past under the Obama administration to play a more even-handed role in treating Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Trump administration has given Saudis their full blown support and Saudi Iranian enmity has only deepened.

Saudi Arabia has been supported by Arab allies, including the UAE and Egypt, and Britain and America who’ve supplied them with weapons and warplanes and insist they have the right to defend themselves.

They have air superiority, but their offensive from the skies over Yemen has led to enormous numbers of civilian casualties.

Saudis claim the Houthis are armed, trained and supported by Iran. The Iranians are using the conflict to undermine their Sunni rival and neighbour, say their critics.

Their Houthi enemies have been blamed for multiple rocket attacks on targets deep inside Saudi Arabia, including oil refineries and airports, and reaching as far as its capital Riyadh striking military and civilian installations there.

The Saudis have produced plenty of evidence the Houthis are using weaponry that could only have been supplied to them by a more advanced military – drones, guided rockets and unmanned naval weapons.

They insist they have no choice but to defend their borders and to prevent Iran establishing a stronghold on its doorstep.

Unicef says 10 million children are facing famine
Image:
Unicef says 10 million children are facing famine

But the weaponry supplied to them has been used at devastating cost to civilians. Yemen was already one of the poorest nations on Earth.

Coalition air strikes have caused enormous damage to the country’s infrastructure worsening already poor sanitation.

Fighting around the country’s main port Hodeida has made matters worse. The country has been plagued by famines and outbreaks of disease including cholera.

The statistics are bleak. Save the Children says 12.3 million youngsters need humanitarian assistance, with 10 million facing famine, according to says UNICEF. 24 million people rely on aid.

While fighting has recently increased in intensity, the UN is warning that famine is likely once again.

“Unfortunately, those who are in a position to help,” said the UN’s chief humanitarian official Mark Lowcock, “and who have a particular responsibility to do so – are mostly choosing not to”.

Several donors – including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait – who have a particular responsibility – have, unlike recent years, given nothing so far to the $2.41bn UN assistance fund, says the United Nations.

The suffering of the people of Yemen seems only to likely to get worse.

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