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UN: A Child Dies Every Five Seconds, Most Are Preventable Deaths

An estimated 6.3 million children died before their 15th birthdays in 2017, or one every five seconds, mostly due to a lack of water, sanitation, nutrition and basic healthcare, according to report by United Nations agencies on Tuesday.

The vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occur in the first five years of life, with newborns accounting for around half of the deaths, the report said.

“With simple solutions like medicines, clean water, electricity and vaccines” this toll could be dramatically reduced, said Laurence Chandy, an expert with the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF. But without urgent action, 56 million children under five – half of them newborns – will die between now and 2030.

Globally, in 2017, half of all deaths in children under five were in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was one in 185, according to the report co-led by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

It found that most children under five die due to preventable or treatable causes such as complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal sepsis and malaria. Among older children – aged five to 14 – injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially from drowning and road traffic.

For children everywhere, the most precarious time is the first month of life. In 2017, 2.5 million newborns died in their first month, and a baby born in sub-Saharan Africa or in Southern Asia was nine times more likely to die in the first month than one born in a high-income country.

Despite these problems, the U.N. report found that fewer children are dying each year worldwide. The number of under five deaths fell to 5.4 million in 2017 from 12.6 million in 1990, while the number of deaths in five to 14 year-olds dropped to under a million from 1.7 million in the same period.

 

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UN: A Child Dies Every Five Seconds, Most Are Preventable Deaths

An estimated 6.3 million children died before their 15th birthdays in 2017, or one every five seconds, mostly due to a lack of water, sanitation, nutrition and basic healthcare, according to report by United Nations agencies on Tuesday.

The vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occur in the first five years of life, with newborns accounting for around half of the deaths, the report said.

“With simple solutions like medicines, clean water, electricity and vaccines” this toll could be dramatically reduced, said Laurence Chandy, an expert with the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF. But without urgent action, 56 million children under five – half of them newborns – will die between now and 2030.

Globally, in 2017, half of all deaths in children under five were in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was one in 185, according to the report co-led by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

It found that most children under five die due to preventable or treatable causes such as complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal sepsis and malaria. Among older children – aged five to 14 – injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially from drowning and road traffic.

For children everywhere, the most precarious time is the first month of life. In 2017, 2.5 million newborns died in their first month, and a baby born in sub-Saharan Africa or in Southern Asia was nine times more likely to die in the first month than one born in a high-income country.

Despite these problems, the U.N. report found that fewer children are dying each year worldwide. The number of under five deaths fell to 5.4 million in 2017 from 12.6 million in 1990, while the number of deaths in five to 14 year-olds dropped to under a million from 1.7 million in the same period.

 

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China Prepares Retaliation for $200 Billion in US Tariffs

China says it has no choice but to retaliate to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, risking a further escalation of trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

 

In a brief statement posted online Tuesday, China’s Commerce Ministry said, “To protect its legitimate rights and interests and order in international free trade, China is left with no choice but to retaliate simultaneously.”

 

The statement did not say how China might respond. China has previously said it would respond with a list of tariffs that includes products from liquified natural gas to aircraft.  On Monday, the Communist Party backed Global Times newspaper warned that if Trump went ahead with the tariffs, China would not just play defense.

 

At about the same time the Commerce Ministry statement was released, a research director for North America and the Pacific at the Commerce Ministry also delivered a commentary on China’s state-run CCTV news network.

 

The official said the latest round of tariffs have brought uncertainty to ongoing efforts for representatives from both countries to meet again and hold trade talks.

 

“Under the party’s strong central leadership, China has the resolve and confidence to press ahead and use deeper reforms and deeper opening up as well as the development of our domestic market to counter United States unilateralism,” Li Wei said.

 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing Tuesday in Beijing that talks are the only correct way to resolve the issue and accused the United States of being insincere.  Last week, the United States extended an invitation to China’s top negotiator, Liu He, to resume talks later this month in Washington.

 

“As for what measures China may take in response, that will be announced at an appropriate time,” Geng said.

 

The $200 billion in U.S. tariffs go into effect in less than a week, on September 24, leaving the two sides little time to sit down.

 

On Monday, President Trump warned, in a statement announcing his move, if China retaliates against U.S. farmers or other industries, Washington “will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion in additional imports.”

The additional $267 billion in tariffs is expected to cover all Chinese imports to the United States.

American and European businesses operating in China say that if Washington presses ahead with more and more tariffs, it is likely to only add to the challenges businesses are already facing.

 

According to surveys conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the European Chamber of Commerce, trade tensions are already hitting and hurting supply chains of foreign businesses.  Some companies have begun to move manufacturing away from China and the United States to avoid the impact of growing trade tensions, the European Chamber said.

 

European Chamber President Mats Harborn said engagement on the part of Washington and Beijing is the answer.

 

He said that what the United States is doing now is “economic madness” that risks creating a vicious cycle for business that could have an impact in China and elsewhere.  But the root of the trade dispute is that China’s reform is lagging behind its development, creating a “reform deficit.”

 

“Closing the reform gap will create better private companies in China, foreign companies,” Harborn said.  “And reducing the reform deficit should also help reduce tensions in the ongoing trade war.”

 

In its annual position paper on European business in China, the chamber lists 828 recommendations for Chinese authorities to address that deficit.

 

One of the key hurdles both private Chinese enterprises and foreign companies face is the dominant position state owned enterprises (SOEs) enjoy.  State owned enterprises account for around 30 percent of the economy and yet enjoy nearly 70 percent of all financing, the report said.

 

Unfair trade practices and the way SOEs contribute to an unbalanced playing field in China are key elements of the investigation the Trump administration carried out prior to launching its first round of tariffs.

 

But how far China is willing to go to change is uncertain.  Later this month, a meeting on SOEs will be held that many are expecting will be an indicator of the future course China’s Communist Party leaders plan to chart.

 

“We hear that there is a move to make the SOEs stronger, bigger and better,” Harborn said.  “Such ambitions are hindering the further opening and development of the vibrant private Chinese sector.”

 

If reform of SOEs is not on the agenda at the meeting, that would be seen as a clear provocation, given the current climate, he said. 

 

 

 

 

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China Prepares Retaliation for $200 Billion in US Tariffs

China says it has no choice but to retaliate to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, risking a further escalation of trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

 

In a brief statement posted online Tuesday, China’s Commerce Ministry said, “To protect its legitimate rights and interests and order in international free trade, China is left with no choice but to retaliate simultaneously.”

 

The statement did not say how China might respond. China has previously said it would respond with a list of tariffs that includes products from liquified natural gas to aircraft.  On Monday, the Communist Party backed Global Times newspaper warned that if Trump went ahead with the tariffs, China would not just play defense.

 

At about the same time the Commerce Ministry statement was released, a research director for North America and the Pacific at the Commerce Ministry also delivered a commentary on China’s state-run CCTV news network.

 

The official said the latest round of tariffs have brought uncertainty to ongoing efforts for representatives from both countries to meet again and hold trade talks.

 

“Under the party’s strong central leadership, China has the resolve and confidence to press ahead and use deeper reforms and deeper opening up as well as the development of our domestic market to counter United States unilateralism,” Li Wei said.

 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing Tuesday in Beijing that talks are the only correct way to resolve the issue and accused the United States of being insincere.  Last week, the United States extended an invitation to China’s top negotiator, Liu He, to resume talks later this month in Washington.

 

“As for what measures China may take in response, that will be announced at an appropriate time,” Geng said.

 

The $200 billion in U.S. tariffs go into effect in less than a week, on September 24, leaving the two sides little time to sit down.

 

On Monday, President Trump warned, in a statement announcing his move, if China retaliates against U.S. farmers or other industries, Washington “will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion in additional imports.”

The additional $267 billion in tariffs is expected to cover all Chinese imports to the United States.

American and European businesses operating in China say that if Washington presses ahead with more and more tariffs, it is likely to only add to the challenges businesses are already facing.

 

According to surveys conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the European Chamber of Commerce, trade tensions are already hitting and hurting supply chains of foreign businesses.  Some companies have begun to move manufacturing away from China and the United States to avoid the impact of growing trade tensions, the European Chamber said.

 

European Chamber President Mats Harborn said engagement on the part of Washington and Beijing is the answer.

 

He said that what the United States is doing now is “economic madness” that risks creating a vicious cycle for business that could have an impact in China and elsewhere.  But the root of the trade dispute is that China’s reform is lagging behind its development, creating a “reform deficit.”

 

“Closing the reform gap will create better private companies in China, foreign companies,” Harborn said.  “And reducing the reform deficit should also help reduce tensions in the ongoing trade war.”

 

In its annual position paper on European business in China, the chamber lists 828 recommendations for Chinese authorities to address that deficit.

 

One of the key hurdles both private Chinese enterprises and foreign companies face is the dominant position state owned enterprises (SOEs) enjoy.  State owned enterprises account for around 30 percent of the economy and yet enjoy nearly 70 percent of all financing, the report said.

 

Unfair trade practices and the way SOEs contribute to an unbalanced playing field in China are key elements of the investigation the Trump administration carried out prior to launching its first round of tariffs.

 

But how far China is willing to go to change is uncertain.  Later this month, a meeting on SOEs will be held that many are expecting will be an indicator of the future course China’s Communist Party leaders plan to chart.

 

“We hear that there is a move to make the SOEs stronger, bigger and better,” Harborn said.  “Such ambitions are hindering the further opening and development of the vibrant private Chinese sector.”

 

If reform of SOEs is not on the agenda at the meeting, that would be seen as a clear provocation, given the current climate, he said. 

 

 

 

 

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Remnants of Florence Bringing Flood Threats to Northeastern US

The storm system that struck southeastern states along the U.S. East Coast as Hurricane Florence is now soaking areas in the northeast with heavy rain as forecasters warn of widespread flooding threats.

Flash flood watches and warnings are posted from Virginia into Vermont and New Hampshire through Tuesday.

WATCH: Florence dangers

​Those accompany the flooding in North Carolina, where Florence hit as a Category 1 hurricane last week and dropped up to 90 centimeters of rain as it lingered for several days.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Monday many roads remained impassable in the hardest-hit areas in the eastern part of the state, and he called on people to avoid going out if they do not have to as emergency crews do their work.

“We’ve been preparing for and living through Hurricane Florence for more than a week now, but this remains a significant disaster that affects much of our state. The next few days will be long ones as the flooding continues,” Cooper said.

Florence is now what forecasters call a post-tropical cyclone, with top sustained winds of 35 kilometers per hour. 

Several tornadoes damaged buildings in the Richmond, Virginia, area Monday afternoon, killing at least one person. 

At least 32 deaths are blamed on the storm, the majority in North Carolina.

Hundreds of thousands of homes remained without power on Monday.

President Donald Trump praised the recovery effort, saying the federal government using every relevant resource, including sending nearly 20,000 personnel to help.

“Our administration is in constant contact with local and state authorities and we will not rest until that job is done and done perfectly,” he said.

Trump plans to visit areas hit by Hurricane Florence in the coming days, but the White House says that will only happen after it is determined his arrival will not disrupt the rescue and recovery efforts.

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Remnants of Florence Bringing Flood Threats to Northeastern US

The storm system that struck southeastern states along the U.S. East Coast as Hurricane Florence is now soaking areas in the northeast with heavy rain as forecasters warn of widespread flooding threats.

Flash flood watches and warnings are posted from Virginia into Vermont and New Hampshire through Tuesday.

WATCH: Florence dangers

​Those accompany the flooding in North Carolina, where Florence hit as a Category 1 hurricane last week and dropped up to 90 centimeters of rain as it lingered for several days.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Monday many roads remained impassable in the hardest-hit areas in the eastern part of the state, and he called on people to avoid going out if they do not have to as emergency crews do their work.

“We’ve been preparing for and living through Hurricane Florence for more than a week now, but this remains a significant disaster that affects much of our state. The next few days will be long ones as the flooding continues,” Cooper said.

Florence is now what forecasters call a post-tropical cyclone, with top sustained winds of 35 kilometers per hour. 

Several tornadoes damaged buildings in the Richmond, Virginia, area Monday afternoon, killing at least one person. 

At least 32 deaths are blamed on the storm, the majority in North Carolina.

Hundreds of thousands of homes remained without power on Monday.

President Donald Trump praised the recovery effort, saying the federal government using every relevant resource, including sending nearly 20,000 personnel to help.

“Our administration is in constant contact with local and state authorities and we will not rest until that job is done and done perfectly,” he said.

Trump plans to visit areas hit by Hurricane Florence in the coming days, but the White House says that will only happen after it is determined his arrival will not disrupt the rescue and recovery efforts.

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Trump Adviser Eyes Entitlement Cuts to Plug US Budget Gaps

A top economic adviser to President Donald Trump said on Monday he expects U.S. budget deficits of about 4 to 5 percent of the country’s economic output for the next one to two years, adding that there would likely be an effort in 2019 to cut spending on entitlement programs.

“We have to be tougher on spending,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York, adding that government spending was the reason for the wider budget deficits, not the Republican-led tax cuts activated this year.

Kudlow did not specify where future cuts would be made.

“We’re going to run deficits of about 4 to 5 percent of GDP for the next year or two, OK. I’d rather they were lower but it’s not a catastrophe,” Kudlow said. “Going down the road, of course we’d like to slim that down as much as possible and we’ll work at it.”

He stated that the biggest factor for revenue was economic growth rate. A quicker pace of growth will bring in more revenue, Kudlow said, and Trump’s economic policies were aimed at boosting the U.S. growth rate.

Kudlow also said he did not expect Congress would be able to make the Trump administration’s recent individual tax cuts permanent before the Nov. 6 midterm congressional elections.

“I don’t think it will get through the whole Congress” before the election, he said, but added that making the personal tax cuts permanent “is a good message” and disagreed with forecasts that they would further increase budget deficits.

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US, EU, China Vie for Influence in Eastern Europe

President Donald Trump on Monday reaffirmed Washington’s support for a business summit that aims to boost connectivity in Eastern Europe and improve ties between the region and the U.S. and European Union.

But the West is not the only major player in the region. Shortly before European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry arrived in Bucharest for the two-day Three Seas Initiative Business Forum, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila met a top Chinese official, saying Romania wanted to export more to China and attract more investment from there.

The timing of the visit by Shen Yueyue, a senior official in the National People’s Congress, may raise eyebrows in the light of one of the biggest summits Romania has hosted in recent years. Yet it shows how Romania and its neighbors are using regional leverage to attract the best deal for the less developed part of the bloc. It’s something the EU is watching closely.

Regional analyst Radu Magdin said Central and East European countries are “bold enough to know what they want and self-aware enough to use great power competition to their advantage.” He said Hungary was adept at playing “a multiple game involving the EU, some conservative circles in the U.S. as well as China and Russia.”

Romania has traditionally good relations with China, dating back to the communist era, but has failed to capitalize on Chinese pledges such as building a rail network, Magdin said. As a result, Chinese has done more business with Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine.

Setting the tone for the summit which is headlined “Enhancing European and Trans-Atlantic cooperation,” Trump sent a letter Monday to President Klaus Iohannis saying the 12-member Three Seas Initiative could expand infrastructure, business connections, strengthen energy security and reduce trade barriers.

“The United States remains a proud partner in these efforts …. in this strategically important region,” Trump wrote.

The Bucharest summit comes two months after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met central and eastern European leaders in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, for the seventh “16+1” summit, with countries hoping for state-backed Chinese investment.

Magdin said that “everyone is paying attention to competing (regional) initiatives, but Brussels is the most attentive … as the biggest risk is an EU divide” between Eastern and Western Europe. He added that the EU may introduce legislation that would prohibit major non-EU investments in the future.

Meanwhile in Bucharest, Juncker, Perry, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and other heads of state arrived to discuss about 40 government-approved projects that aim to boost regional connectivity in transportation, energy and the digital fields.

Joining them were officials and bankers from the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the World Bank.

The Thee Seas initiative is a cooperation of European Union members located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas. Austria is the only member that wasn’t formerly communist. The first summit was held in 2016. Trump attended the second summit in 2017 in Warsaw, Poland.

Earlier Monday, Yueyue and Dancila embraced and held hands tightly, and Dancila said Romania wanted to “intensify economic and commercial relations.”

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