Tag Archives: escalating

Israel-Gaza conflict: Joe Biden calls for ceasefire amid escalating violence

Violence between the two sides has been ongoing for eight days and has led to multiple casualties, including children. The US President told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was working with Egypt and other countries on halting hostilities. However, the US refused to back a UN Council statement calling for an end to the violence.
A White House statement said that Mr Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians”.

It added that the US president “expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end.”

It is estimated that at least 212 people, among them 61 children, have been killed in Gaza.

Israel say that 10 of its citizens, including two children, have lost their lives as a result of rocket attacks.

 

The US refused for a third time to sanction a UN Security Council statement calling on Israel to cease its military offensive.

The White House said it preferred to pursue its own diplomatic efforts.

Mr Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “Our calculation at this point is that having those conversations behind the scenes…is the most constructive approach we can take.”

It comes as Israel continued to target Gaza with air strikes on Monday, killing at least another seven Palestinians.

READ MORE: EU sparked Israeli fury with West Bank funding move

Most have been intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome defence system.

But the attacks have had a profound psychological impact on citizens.

Eitan Singer, a father of three, told the BBC: “It is not easy – seven days in a row when we go to sleep and almost every evening, every night, we get the kids out of bed, run to shelters.

“We have 30 seconds to 60 seconds to find a shelter.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

China accuses Australia of ‘economic coercion’ amid escalating tensions

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

China’s ambassador to Australia has pinned the blame on Canberra for the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries, accusing Australia of escalating the conflict.

In a lengthy statement to the Australia China Business Council on Thursday, ambassador Cheng Jingye said Canberra is “changing its perceptions about China” by now considering Beijing a threat rather than a partner. The diplomat further stressed that claims of Chinese diplomatic and economic coercion are irrelevant and serve as “a cover-up” to shift responsibility.

Also on rt.com Beijing vows to fight back after Australia cancels China’s Belt and Road project in state of Victoria

“If there is any coercion, it must have been done by the Australian side,” Cheng said, adding that Beijing’s actions were meant to “uphold its legitimate rights and interests, prevent bilateral ties from further plunging and move them back onto the right track.”

The ambassador cited economic data as an example of Australia’s wrongdoings. According to Cheng, China’s investment in Australia dropped more than 90% in four years, while Australian exports to China remained high, standing at AU$ 148 billion (US$ 115 billion) in 2020. He also compared the number of trade-related probes launched by each side, noting that Canberra opened 106 anti-dumping investigations into Chinese imports, while Beijing launched just four into Australian goods. 

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China halts Australian hay imports amid escalating trade row

China halts Australian hay imports amid escalating trade row

Other coercive practices cited by Cheng include “discriminatory” restrictions on Chinese investments, as well as the “suppressing” of Chinese high-tech firms, apparently referring to the exclusion of tech giants Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G networks. He also addressed Australia’s recent decision to tear up the Belt and Road initiative between China and the state of Victoria, saying that it was among a long list of “negative moves” that damaged the bilateral relations. 

Tensions between the two countries have been increasing for several years, especially after Canberra banned Chinese vendors from its 5G rollout. The situation worsened last year when Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.

The conflict has had an impact on trade, with many Australian companies facing losses due to decreased shipments and hiked tariffs on exports including wine, barley, meat and coal.

Another downward spiral in China-Australia relations came last week when Canberra announced its decision to abandon the Belt and Road agreement, and the Australian government signaled that it might reverse long-term leases held by Chinese companies at the port in Darwin.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

China halts Australian hay imports amid escalating trade row

Some 28 Australian hay exporters to China have failed to get their expired permits renewed since the end of February, ABC News reported, threatening the nation’s A$ 160 million (US$ 121 million) hay export market to China.

According to the Global Times, citing its industry sources, China consumes about a million tons of hay a year, with 300,000 tons coming from Australia, which is its sole source of hay imports. The rest is provided by Chinese domestic producers.

The report said that Beijing is looking at other options for this feed material, including increasing domestic production and looking at new sources of imports. China is also seeking to cut corn and soymeal content in animal feed by using alternative grains, as a deficit of corn supplies has triggered huge price hikes. 
Also on rt.com Australia’s economy may NEVER return to previous growth due to trade row with China – report
Economic tensions between China and Australia have escalated in recent years, after Australia began cracking down on Chinese investment in the country. Relations deteriorated further after Australia banned Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE from its 5G rollout. Tensions were raised again last year, when Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, prompting accusations from Beijing that Australian lawmakers were acting on orders from Washington.

In response, China has imposed trade tariffs on a variety of Australian goods, including coal, barley, wine, beef, and lobster.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

RT

India to cut Saudi oil imports amid escalating standoff over output & diversification drive

Indian state refiners are planning to cut oil imports from Saudi Arabia by about a quarter in May, Reuters has reported, citing its sources. This comes after calls from India to increase crude production were ignored by OPEC.

The sources said, on condition of anonymity, that Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, as well as Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals, are preparing to lift about 10.8 million barrels in May.

According to people familiar with the discussions, the move is part of the Indian government’s drive to cut dependence on crude from the Middle East. They said that state refiners, which control about 60% of India’s five million barrels per day (bpd) refining capacity, together import an average 14.7-14.8 million barrels of Saudi oil per month.

The refiners could not cut April oil imports from Saudi Arabia as nominations were placed before the OPEC+ decision in early March to extend most cuts, the sources added. They also said that plans for May were preliminary and final May nominations would be known in early April.
Also on rt.com Russia looking to bolster oil supplies to India for decades ahead
India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, importing more than 80% of its oil needs and relying heavily on the Middle East.

The country’s oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan has repeatedly called on OPEC+ to ease supply curbs as India’s economy was being hit hard by growing oil prices. The minister has blamed Saudi’s voluntary cuts for contributing to a spike in global oil prices. However, the Saudi energy minister suggested India dip into strategic reserves filled with cheaper oil bought last year.

Pradhan responded by asking refiners to speed up their diversification of crude sources and reduce reliance on the Middle East.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

RT

Chinese investment in Australia plunges to RECORD LOW amid escalating trade row

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RT.com

New data from the Australian National University (ANU) showed Chinese investment in Australia dropped by more than 61 percent in 2020, to just over a billion Australian dollars (US$ 780 million) – the lowest in the past six years.

According to figures from the Chinese Investment in Australia Database (CHIIA), the drop followed a 47 percent fall in 2019, when Chinese investment totaled US$ 1.57 billion. It was also well short of the peak of US$ 12.7 billion recorded in 2016.

“It reflects the effects of Covid, but also more scrutiny of foreign investment by the Australian government, particularly that from China,” said Shiro Armstrong, Director of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research, where CHIIA is based.

The number of Chinese investments recorded was only 20 – well down from a peak of 111 investment projects in 2016, the ANU said.

According to the research, 45 percent of the Chinese investment last year was in rental, hiring, and real estate services, while 40 percent was in mining and 15 percent in manufacturing. Other sectors, including transport, energy, construction, healthcare, and agriculture, which had seen Chinese investment in previous years, recorded none in 2020.
Also on rt.com China turns away Australian wine amid escalating trade row
The ANU also found that, in 2020, about 86 percent of Chinese investment in Australia originated from Chinese companies already established in the country, which means purchases were made via Australian subsidiaries rather than directly by Chinese companies.

Armstrong told the Xinhua news agency that the investment environment in Australia “has become more uncertain,” adding that the decline of Chinese investment could result in lower asset values in Australia from removal of a large source of capital and a large bidder, as well as the retreat of economic integration between the two nations. “Foreign investment increases trade and can act as a ballast in relations between countries,” he said.

READ MORE: Australia’s economy may NEVER return to previous growth due to trade row with China – report

Economic tensions between China and Australia have escalated in recent years after Australia began cracking down on Chinese investment in the country. Relations deteriorated further after Australia banned Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE from its 5G rollout. Tensions were raised again last year, when Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, prompting accusations from Beijing that Australian lawmakers were acting on orders from Washington.

In response, China has imposed trade tariffs on Australian goods, including barley, wine, beef, and lobster.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section