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Markets uncertain ahead of US-China trade talks

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Stocks falter on Brexit US-China tensions

LONDON: Global markets parted ways Wednesday as investors were more cautious about the chances of success in China-US trade talks, and looked for direction from the ECB.
The overall mood remained wary, with a rally that has characterized the start of the year stuttering due to slower Chinese economic activity, a softer global outlook, Brexit issues and the US government shutdown, which shows no sign of ending soon. “The markets appear to be trading a bit cautious ahead of tomorrow’s monetary policy decision from the European Central Bank (ECB) and as US/China trade worries are flaring up,” the Charles Schwab brokerage said.
US investors sold shares Tuesday after the Financial Times and CNBC said Washington had rejected Beijing’s offer of preparatory discussions ahead of the next round of high-level negotiations. Wednesday saw a sliver of respite as Wall Street opened just in the black, the Dow Jones adding 1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.6 percent.  “We are continuing to see caution in the markets on Wednesday, with reports a day earlier regarding trade talks between the US and China only aiding that,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.
“Reports that preparatory talks between the US and China ahead of a meeting at the end of the month had been canceled put a slight dampener on the mood … at a time when we’re already seeing some profit taking.” Although the White House denied the reports, observers said they highlighted how fragile the negotiations were. The reports also came a day after Bloomberg News said the two sides were struggling to reach agreement on the crucial matter of intellectual property, a key source of US anger. Hopes that China and the US were on the right track have helped rally global markets in January following a torrid performance in 2018.
But data showing China’s economy grew at its weakest pace in three decades added to fears it is heading for a hard landing, while Xi Jinping also showed signs of worrying about the effects of a slowdown in a speech to top provincial leaders this week. “Investors obviously are still a little bit edgy and therefore we would expect periods of volatility to continue,” said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide Funds Group. “As the headlines continue to get more nerve-wracking with regards to a global slowdown and trade wars and government shutdowns, it’s easy to spook investors, but we think those are temporary versus permanent.”
Adding to concerns was confirmation that the US plans to seek the extradition from Canada of a top executive with Chinese telecom giant Huawei before the end of January. Despite the pervading uncertainty, Frankfurt and Paris joined Wall Street in posting small gains in intraday trades, but London was down 0.5 percent with little immediate sign of Brexit-related gloom lifting. Hong Kong ended flat having swung back and forth through the day, while Shanghai closed 0.1 percent higher and Tokyo ended slightly down. Oil prices advanced after taking a hit Tuesday on lingering worries about the effect of a slowdown in the global economy, and particularly China, on demand.

 

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Countering Indian hybrid warfare techniques

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Nation united against Indian designs

KARACHI: Security analysts Friday warned people to be wary of the content on social media, as the Indian hybrid war against Pakistan was trying to cause discontent and confusion among the masses.

Addressing a seminar “Post Pulwama-Threat of Hybrid Warfare and What Next,” organized by Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) speakers including former Ambassador Najmuddin A. Shaikh, former Foreign Secretary, Dr. Asif Mahmood, Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Dean at IBA and senior defence analyst Ikram Sehgal were unanimous in their opinion that India has been seen piling up and imposing instruments of hybrid warfare on Pakistan. The situation demanded that the nation must be cautious in expressing their views on social media that may not only counter the national cause but also lead to manipulation of a national perspective.

Mentioning that hybrid warfare is a blend of conventional and irregular warfighting techniques that may also employ other non-kinetic means to undermine an enemy’s strength, speakers said Pulwama incident was a manifestation of their very technique. Modi Government was said to have taken advantage of it by blaming Pakistan for the terrorist act hence not only attempting to gain world sympathy but also affecting issues involving the two neighbors and taking up the issue at international level.

Hybrid Warfare, the elaborated was more catastrophic in essence as it pervades into multifaceted frontiers of the enemy’s territory; psychologically undermining its decision-making capabilities. I also have ability to systematically crippling its financial and information networks using cyber technology, economic strangulation via coercive economic diplomacy and leveraging its influence over international actors and institutions meanwhile, developing and maintaining a robust defense posture.

It was emphasized that Pakistan needed to get around the world and show the Indian intelligence agency’s vile face and its role in getting innocent human beings, getting killed in and outside India. Mumbai carnage, attack on Indian Parliament, attack on Pathankot Brigade Headquarters were cited to have been already proven as False Flag Operations conducted by RAW and other covert agencies of India to promote and protect their interests.

The speakers were firm in their suggestion that Pakistan must continue its support, morally and politically so that Kashmiris were essentially allowed to exercise their right to a plebiscite as narrated in UNSC Resolutions. On the occasion 12 of the UN Security Council resolutions starting in April 1948 were extensively discussed explaining as how much important it was to get Kashmir issue resolved in a democratic manner through a free and impartial plebiscite.

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China issues heart-shaped commemorative coins

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BEIJING: Two heart-shaped commemorative coins, one gold, and one silver have been issued by China’s central bank.
Chinese characters Jixiang, meaning auspiciousness, dominates the obverse of the two coins, while the reverse sides are decorated with traditional patterns such as a dragon, phoenix, lotus, jade and pearls, all symbols of auspiciousness and fortune.
Weighing three grams and 30 grams respectively, the gold and silver coins have a face value of 50 yuan (about 7.46 U.S. dollars) and 10 yuan separately.
Apart from the pair, the new set of commemorative coins featuring China’s auspicious culture also includes five round coins.
One silver coin, with a face value of 20 yuan and decorated with the patterns of pomegranates and chubby kids, symbolizes a big and prosperous family.
Another pair bearing the patterns of a cat, a butterfly, stones and auspicious flowers indicates longevity, while the other pair decorated with the images of magpies and plum flowers, symbolizes a joyful life.
The maximum circulation of the coins range from 5,000 to 20,000, and the set is available for sale since Thursday, according to a central bank statement.

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Trump to be first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new emperor

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will be the first foreign state guests to visit Japan and meet with Crown Prince Naruhito after his elevation to the emperor
Trump will travel to Japan from May 25 to 28 “as the country’s first state guests following the enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito on May 1, 2019,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. Trump will also hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in addition to a visit by Abe to Washington on April 26-27, Sanders said.
“The meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will reaffirm the United States-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world,” Sanders said. Trump is expected to return to Japan in June for the G20 summit being held in Osaka.

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