U.S. can thrive at sea without Jones Act

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Change procurement to ensure steadier work for military contractors, and hold them strictly accountable for defects.Undoing the Jones Act will be disruptive. Those who lose their jobs should be compensated.But U.S. aircraft and automobile manufacturers make better products because of foreign competition, and its railroads and trucking industry have done well since deregulation.The success of U.S. coastal shipping should be measured not by the U.S. vessels and sailors it employs but by its contribution to the overall U.S. economy.On that score, the Jones Act is a failure. It has outlived whatever rationale it once had.Enough is enough.   Many components in “American-built” ships are already imported; some “American” shipbuilders and shipping lines are foreign subsidiaries.Allow foreign-flag ships sailing from and then onward to foreign ports to deliver cargo to more than one U.S. port on a given coast. This would stimulate coastal commerce overall.Make U.S. coastal shipping more efficient with new infrastructure and smarter regulation.Use the bulging Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to defray some of the cost.Update work, safety and crew-size rules to reflect risk-based analysis and international standards.Streamline overlapping federal and state environmental rules. Change tax structures that put U.S.-flag ships and their crews at a disadvantage.Curbing protectionism at home will also make it easier to go after other countries on that score. What about security?Without resorting to maritime protection, the U.S. has plenty of ways to keep North Korean barges from plying the Mississippi, to cite one fantastical scenario.The U.S. already handles thousands of coastal port calls made each year by foreign-flag vessels, including along inland waterways.Maintaining the edge and readiness of the U.S. military is crucial — but isn’t best achieved by relying on a shrinking, uncompetitive oceangoing fleet and shipbuilding industry.Instead, put the costs of national security where they belong — in the defense budget.Rather than trying to build up the Jones Act fleet to ensure crew for strategic sealift contingencies, require the Navy to expand its active and reserve forces.Spend more on the four public shipyards that sorely need attention, and on training shipbuilders. center_img Granted, that’s not so simple, because the act is part of a complex regulatory and legal web.But some straightforward steps could bring immediate benefits.First, grant at least a five-year waiver of the act to Puerto Rico.This would speed the island’s recovery.It would also test how best to regulate foreign-flag carriers, and provide data to show exactly what the act is costing.Next, scrap the act’s “build-in-America” provision, as Senator John McCain and others have proposed.The global glut in container ships makes now a good time to replace the aging Jones Act cargo fleet with cheaper, cleaner vessels. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appears on Bloomberg View:For all the flaws of the Jones Act — the 1920 legislation requiring that all maritime commerce between U.S. ports take place on ships owned, built and crewed by Americans — there’s no faulting its professed goal.The U.S. needs a thriving maritime sector, for both economic and military reasons.  The best way to achieve this is to lift the Jones Act’s protectionist blanket.last_img read more

Retail

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Battle of the brands

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More TMT troubles ahead? Ask the Oracle

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Haslemere investor picks up Chelsfield stake

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Israeli investor set to buy Andersen HQ for £140m in UK drive

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Trump, Taliban political chief speak as Afghan violence rises

first_imgUS President Donald Trump made the surprise announcement Tuesday that he’d had a “very good” talk with the Taliban political chief on the Afghan peace process, despite an eruption of violence marring a brief calm in the country.The insurgents were the first to give news of the highly unusual phone call between Trump and former Taliban fighter Mullah Baradar, which the insurgents said lasted 35 minutes.Trump confirmed the call later to reporters in Washington. But asked if he had held previous, undisclosed talks with Baradar, Trump replied: “I don’t want to say.” “We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today,” Trump said in Washington.”The relationship is very good that I have with the mullah. We had a good long conversation today and you know, they want to cease the violence, they’d like to cease violence also.”However, the call held at around 1440 GMT Tuesday came just a day after the militants ended a partial truce meant to be the first step in a wider peace deal under a US-Taliban agreement signed Saturday.The unrest raised questions over the future of talks between the insurgents and the US-backed Afghan government in Kabul that are set to begin March 10. Topics : Trump has touted the peace agreement as a way to end the bloody, nearly two decades US military presence in Afghanistan — right in time for his November reelection bid.Under the terms of the deal, US and other foreign forces will quit Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to Taliban security guarantees and a pledge by the insurgents to hold talks with the national government in Kabul.The agreement also includes a commitment to exchange 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government in return for 1,000 captives — something the militants have cited as a prerequisite for talks but which President Ashraf Ghani has refused to do before negotiations start.Baradar called on Trump to “not allow anyone to take actions that violate the terms of the agreement thus embroiling you even further in this prolonged war”, according to the Taliban transcript.Trump sounded sympathetic to the Taliban message, saying “they are looking to get this ended, and we’re looking to get it ended, I think we all have a very common interest.”He said the Kabul government may be “reluctant” to pursue the peace deal, saying “they’ve done very well with the United States for many years — far beyond military if you look at all the money that we spent in Afghanistan.”center_img Holding nation ‘hostage?’ Ghani’s government last week sent a delegation to Qatar to open “initial contacts” with the insurgents, but Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen on Tuesday said the militants would not meet Kabul’s representatives except to discuss the release of their captives.Apparent differences between the Doha agreement and a separate joint US-Afghan declaration made in Afghanistan underline the obstacles facing negotiators.The US-Taliban deal committed to the release of prisoners while the Kabul document only required both sides to determine “the feasibility of releasing” captives.In a statement, the UN’s Afghanistan mission called for “continued reduced violence to maintain & enhance an environment conducive to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations”.”After the US-Taliban deal, it is illogical to fight. It is time for peace,” said Naqibullah, a 40-year-old government employee in Kabul, who uses only one name.”The Taliban can’t take the whole nation hostage.” Dozens of attacksFollowing Saturday’s deal signing, the Taliban have been publicly claiming “victory” over the US and on Monday they announced an end to the partial truce, resuming their attacks on Afghan national forces.Since Monday, the Taliban conducted 33 attacks in 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said. “As a result, six civilians were killed and 14 wounded. Eight enemy were also killed, 15 wounded,” he said on Twitter. Two soldiers were killed in one of the attacks in southern Kandahar province, a government statement said. An attack in Logar province near Kabul killed five security forces, the provincial governor’s spokesman Didar Lawang told AFP.The halt to the limited truce, which began on February 22, ended what was a welcome reprieve for ordinary Afghans who have born the brunt of the deadly violence. Kabul-based analyst Ahmad Saeedi told AFP the uptick in attacks reflected the insurgents’ belief that “they have to keep the battlefield hot to be able to win on the negotiating table, as they did with the Americans.” last_img read more

PREMIUMEurope, Middle-East among regions poised to offset decreasing investments from China

first_imgBPS Indonesia BKPM FDI China coronavirus Europe Middle-East Google Forgot Password ? Log in with your social account Facebook The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is setting its sights on alternative sources of foreign direct investments (FDI) because it expects the COVID-19 outbreak is about to cause a sharp decline in the flow of investments from China, Indonesia’s second-largest foreign investor.BKPM head Bahlil Lahadalia said the agency was still calculating the investment realization figures for the first quarter, which would be announced in April. Nevertheless, he named Europe, the Middle East, South Korea, Japan and Singapore as some potential FDI sources to cushion the potential decrease from China.“We shouldn’t be too pessimistic in the midst of the coronavirus. We will find markets in other countries,” Bahlil told reporters after a press conference in Jakarta on March 6.The BKPM wrote in a press statement on Thursday that the coronavirus has caused a decline in … LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Linkedinlast_img read more

Long hard climb: Students clamber over a wall to reach their school in Kupang

first_imgPenkase Oeleta subdistrict head Felipus Mau said the property in dispute between Bobby and another businessmen was Yano Laimonta or Cai Cong. He added the wall was erected due to the dispute.“We undertook a serious mediation meeting between the related parties, including the two businessmen, so the road could be reopened for the public’s interest” Felipus said.Frengky said he wished that Bobby would open the access road again for the school students.The subdistrict head said his office was waiting for the Kupang National land Agency (BPN Kupang) to settle the dispute by, among other efforts, measuring plots of land owned by the two businessmen.Felipus went on to say that Bobby had agreed to open the access road for the students, although the businessman said he would wait for officials from BPN Kupang to complete the measurement.The subdistrict head said a 6-meter-wide road would be opened for the public. (gis)Topics : School teachers were worried that students’ safety would be put under harm because they needed to climb the wall. It also made students to arrive late in school, as the access road is the shortest way to reach the school.An alternative road to the school would add an additional 10 to 20 minutes walking.Read also: East Manggarai to rebuild ‘unfit’ school following media coverageThe access road was blocked by property construction done by a company led by local businessman Bobby Pitoby, who owns the land. A wall was erected surrounding the construction area. A four-meter-tall wall has blocked an access road leading to Petra private Christian elementary school in Alak district, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), forcing students to climb over it on their way to the school.“It has been over a week since the landowner built that wall. It forces children to climb the wall to get to the school,” Petra elementary school principal Frengky Kase told The Jakarta Post on Monday.He added local residents had been using the road for around 20 years. Apart from Petra elementary school, the wall had also hampered students of Petra kindergarten and state vocational school SMKN 7 Kupang from reaching their respective schools.last_img read more

Spain overtakes China with 3,434 virus deaths

first_imgNATO help sought The announcement came a day after Spain’s armed forces asked NATO for humanitarian assistance to secure supplies to help curb the spread of the virus both in the military and in the civilian population. The request specified 450,000 respirators, 500,000 rapid testing kits, 500 ventilators and 1.5 million surgical masks.Despite the national lockdown imposed on March 14, which is to be extended until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad. “We are approaching the peak,” the ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said in announcing the figures.Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 14,597 infections — just under a third of the total — and 1,825 deaths, or 53 percent of the national figure. Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida warned the coming days would be “complicated” “psychologically” for the entire city. Spain’s coronavirus death toll overtook that of China on Wednesday, rising to 3,434 after another 738 people died as Madrid announced a multi-million-euro deal with Beijing for critical supplies.The spike in fatalities means that across the globe, only Italy — with 7,503 deaths — now has a higher death toll than Spain.In China, where the virus emerged late last year, the COVID-19 epidemic has claimed 3,281 lives.  Topics : The latest figures were announced as Spain entered the 11th day of an unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has now infected 47,610 people, the health ministry said.Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, who has been in hospital since Monday, has tested positive for the virus and is improving, the government said.Two other ministers in Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government are infected.The surge in numbers has brought the medical system to the brink of collapse, with Spain struggling with a lack of medical supplies for testing, treatment and the protection of frontline workers, and a growing number of cases among healthcare personnel with more than 5,400 infected. center_img To address the shortages, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the government had inked a major deal with China. Worth some 432 million euros ($467 million), the deal will cover 550 million masks, 5.5 million rapid test kits, 950 respirators and 11 million pairs of gloves, he told a televised news conference.”We have secured entire production chains [in China] which will be working solely for the Spanish government,” he said. The supplies will be delivered “on a staggered basis, every week, with the first — a major delivery — arriving at the end of this week,” he said. He also said Spain would continue producing its own materials on a national level.  Airbus resumes productionWith hospitals on the brink of collapse, troops have set up a massive field hospital in Madrid’s vast IFEMA exhibition center which currently has 1,500 beds but which could be expanded to take in up to 5,500 people — making it the largest hospital in Spain.And with the city’s funeral services overwhelmed, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue. In a separate development, unions have been up in arms over a decision by Airbus to resume production in Spain, despite the outbreak, saying it endangered workers’ lives. So far, a total of 138 employees have tested positive for the virus with hundreds more in quarantine, but the European plane-maker resumed production on Monday, prompting unions to call an indefinite strike.last_img read more