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China warns US to stop wrong trade actions or face consequences

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China said on Saturday it strongly opposes Washington’s decision to levy additional tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods and warned the United States of consequences if it does not end its “wrong actions”.

The comments made by China’s Ministry of Commerce came after the U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Washington will impose an additional 5% duty the Chinese goods, hours after Beijing announced its latest retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, in the latest tit-for-tat moves in their bilateral trade dispute.

“Such unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and maximum pressure violates the consensus reached by head of China and United States, violates the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit, and seriously damages the multilateral trade system and the normal international trade order,” China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“China strongly urges the United States not to misjudge the situation or underestimate determination of the Chinese people,” it added.

Trump’s latest tariff move, announced on Twitter, said the United States would raise its existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to 30% from the current 25% beginning on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist People’s Republic of China.

At the same time, Trump announced an increase in planned tariffs on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to 15% from 10%. The United States will begin imposing those tariffs on some products starting Sept. 1, but tariffs on about half of those goods have been delayed until Dec. 15.

Trump was responding to Beijing’s decision on Friday night that it was planning to impose retaliatory tariff on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports ranging from soybean to ethanol. China will also reinstitute tariffs of 25% on cars and 5% on auto parts suspended last December.

The White House economic adviser said earlier in the week the Trump administration was planning in-person talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in September. It is unclear if the bilateral meeting would still take place.

The year-long trade war between the world’s two largest economies has roiled financial markets and shaken the global economy.

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Protesters march near Biarritz demanding action from G-7 leaders

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French activist Jean-Baptiste Redde, aka Voltuan (R) holds a placard reading ‘stop climate crime’ next to a demonstrator dressed as a traditional Basque shepherd, during a march in Hendaye, south-west France on August 24, 2019, to protest against the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

GEORGES GOBET | AFP | Getty Images

Thousands of anti-globalisation and environmental activists joined yellow vest protesters and Basque separatists on Saturday near the French coastal resort of Biarritz to demand action from G7 and other world leaders set to meet there.

Protesters converged on the nearby town of Hendaye on the French border with Spain to protest against economic and climate policies pursued by the world’s leading industrial nations and to promote alternatives.

“The top capitalist leaders are here and we have to show them that the fight continues,” said Alain Missana, 48, an electrician wearing a yellow vest — symbol of the anti-government demonstrations that have been held in France for months.

“It’s more money for the rich and nothing for the poor. We see the Amazonian forests burning and the arctic melting. The leaders will hear us,” he said.

Fires are devastating large swathes of the forest which is considered a vital bulwark against climate change.

Protesters waved banners for causes ranging from gay rights to Palestine, but their messages were aimed firmly at the leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Japan and Italy who are set to begin three days of talks on Saturday.

“No to the G7. For another world,” one banner read. “Heads of state the Amazon is burning. Act now,” said another.

The protesters marched under bright-blue summer skies from Hendaye to the town of Irun, Spain, some 30 km (18 miles) south of the G7 venue Biarritz.

More than 13,000 police officers, backed by soldiers, are guarding the Biarritz summit site and police had feared that anarchist groups might have tried to derail Saturday’s protest, which has been billed as a peaceful, family event.

Four police officers were lightly wounded on Friday after protesters fired a homemade mortar near the anti-G7 counter summit in Hendaye. Police arrested 17 people for hiding their faces.

There was no immediate sign of any radical groups on Saturday and the police presence was light.

Protesters came from all parts of France and beyond including from across the border, where Basque separatists were also keen to show their solidarity.

“The counter-G7 demonstration is in this Basque region and we want people to see we are part of it,” said Alfredo Akuna, a 46-year-old engineer from San Sebastián who wore traditional Basque clothing.

“We’re involved in many movements including anti-capitalism and anti-fascism so it’s important to be here to show that.”

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Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

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An Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the U.S. amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey early Saturday after Greece said it wouldn’t risk its relations with America by aiding it.

The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, Turkey, a port city in the country’s south and home to an oil terminal.

However, mariners can input any destination into the AIS, so Turkey may not be its true destination. Mersin is some 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of a refinery in Baniyas, Syria, where authorities alleged the Adrian Darya had been heading before being seized off Gibraltar in early July.

Iranian state media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the new reported destination of the Adrian Darya, which carries 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil worth some $130 million. Nor was there any immediate reaction from Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deals directly with Tehran and Russia over Syria’s long war.

The ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com showed the Adrian Darya’s position as just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. At current speeds, it estimated the Adrian Darya would reach Mersin in about a week.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, said Saturday it had successfully test-fired a “new missile” a day earlier, but did not elaborate on the type of weapon, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday debuted an Iran-made air-defense missile system, the Bavar-373. In June, Iran shot down an American surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz. President Donald Trump came close to retaliating but called off an airstrike at the last moment.

The Adrian Darya’s detention and later release by Gibraltar have added fuel to the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran, after Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago over concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional influence. In the time since, Iran lost billions of dollars in business deals allowed by the deal, as the U.S. re-imposed and created sanctions largely blocking Tehran from selling crude oil aboard, a crucial source of hard currency for the Islamic Republic.

In U.S. federal court documents, authorities allege the Adrian Grace’s true owner is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The U.S. declared the Guard a foreign terror organization in April, the first time America named a military force of a nation as such, giving it the legal power to issue a warrant for the vessel’s seizure. However, that would require another nation to acknowledge the writ.

The Adrian Darya had put its intended destination as Kalamata, Greece, even though the port did not have the infrastructure to offload oil from the tanker. The State Department then pressured Greece not to aid the vessel.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to hold the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which it seized in a commando-style raid July 19 after the taking of the Adrian Darya. Analysts suggested the release of the Adrian Darya would see the Stena Impero let go, but that has yet to happen.

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