China

It may seem counter-intuitive and head-scratchingly odd, but Congress nearly always approves defense spending bills before the armed services committees — which actually oversee the Pentagon — vote on how the money will be spent.

Not this year.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

Chinese authorities are razing one of the Beijing studios of dissident artist Ai Weiwei. He said that demolition crews showed up without advance warning, and have begun the process of tearing down the studio.

Ai has been a longtime critic of the government, and on Saturday, he began posting videos to his Instagram feed of the studio's destruction. "Farewell," Ai wrote. "They started to demolish my studio 'Zuoyuo' in Beijing with no precaution."

Several months into the Trump administration's aggressive rollout of tariffs on imported products, the results are piling up across the American business landscape. And not all of them are negative.

In Hillsboro, Ore., a solar plant got a second chance at life after tariffs on imported solar panels went into effect in January.

Updated at 8:15 a.m. ET

As the day dawned across the U.S. on Friday, a new economic reality dawned with it: The tariffs long threatened against billions of dollars in Chinese goods took effect just at midnight ET while many Americans were sleeping — but Beijing was ready immediately with a wake-up call of its own.

Updated at 3:57 a.m. ET Saturday

President Trump is enacting a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods "that contain industrially significant technologies," after months of exchanging threats amid concerns over a potential trade war.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin to collect tariffs on the first $34 billion worth of Chinese imports on July 6. A second set of imports subject to tariffs is still under review.

The U.S. State Department has sent "a number of individuals" from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, back to the U.S. after screenings showed they may have been affected by mysterious health problems similar to what diplomats experienced in Cuba.

Grains are the bedrock of civilization. They led humans from hunting and gathering to city-building. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the fruits of three grasses provide the world with 60 percent of its total food: corn, wheat and rice. Aside from energy-rich carbohydrates, grains feed us protein, zinc, iron and essential B vitamins.

But rice as we know it is at risk.

The State Department said that a U.S. government employee assigned to Guangzhou, China, has reported experiencing "vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that "the medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent" with the symptoms reported by Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. "We have medical teams that are moving to be on the ground there. We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana, and now in China, as well."

A Sichuan Airlines flight made an emergency landing on Monday after the cockpit windshield abruptly broke, pulling the co-pilot partially out of the Airbus A-319.

The co-pilot suffered minor injuries, as did another member of the crew, but no passengers were injured. The pilot brought the plane down safely, landing in the city of Chengdu.

The flight had originally been traveling from Chongqing to Lhasa, Tibet.

The pilot, Liu Chuanjian, has been called a hero for the dramatic landing. He described the accident in a news briefing on Monday.

Updated at 4:21 p.m. ET

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he will explore other ways to punish a Chinese cellphone manufacturer, after a surprising tweet from President Trump that said the original penalty was too harsh.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that smartphone giant ZTE was losing "too many jobs in China" as a result of U.S. sanctions. He said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a solution.

Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo has reversed its ban on publishing homosexual content, days after announcing the policy. The service, which has nearly 400 million users, drew outrage for lumping gay-themed content in with violent and pornographic material.

"There followed a storm of online criticism of the site," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

Tom Hudson

It seems appropriate that the first item on the list of Chinese goods facing the threat of a U.S. tariff in the gathering storm over trade -- Thorium -- is named for the Norse God of Thunder.

 

The last item on America’s $50 billion, 1,300-item list is parts of seats made of bamboo. The U.S. imported about $1 million worth of it from China last year.

 

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

China is retaliating against the Trump administration's tariffs on Chinese goods, imposing charges of its own Monday on a list of 128 imports from the United States, including agricultural products ranging from fruit to wine to frozen pork.

China's tariffs add fuel to what many economists fear is a burgeoning trade war between the two economic superpowers.

Luis Hidalgo / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Last week, on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s 7-day tour of Latin America, I all but wrote that I felt sorry for the man.

Here was Tillerson embarking on a mission to drum up more regional support for U.S. foreign policy goals like the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Yet he had the ball-and-chain of President Trump’s anti-Latin American jabs –  calling Mexicans “rapists,” Haiti a “shithole” – hanging from his foot.

After you collect your cans, bottles and paper, then put them out by the curb, do you ever think about where everything goes after the truck picks things up? Largely, it goes to China.

Every day, nearly 4,000 shipping containers full of recyclables leave US ports bound for China. China sends the US toys, clothes and electronics; in return, some of America’s largest exports back are paper, plastic and aluminum.

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