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Tishwash: Senior Chinese diplomat to visit US
A top Chinese diplomat will be visiting the United States this week to become Beijing’s first and highest-level official to visit America since President Donald Trump took office.
China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi is expected to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior officials on Monday and Tuesday to discuss “bilateral ties and issues of common concern,” according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
He will also discuss the arrangements for a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies told official Xinhua news agency.
Earlier in February, Tillerson had met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a G20 foreign ministers meeting in Germany.
Relations between the US and China experienced a brief but serious chill after Trump talked over the phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen soon after his election In November last year. China considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of its territory and subject to its sovereignty. Trump caused even more controversy when he said he would not necessarily uphold the US’s “One China” policy, which has to do with recognizing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.
The call and the subsequent remarks caused great unease in Beijing, and Chinese officials harshly criticized Trump.
Tensions, however, began to ease between the two governments when Trump later told Xi in a telephone call that his administration would continue to honor the so-called One China policy. LINK
GJHHonor: gm to all no update CBI yet
Harambe: Reuters: Mosul caught in 'strange and terrifying' battle as IS foreign soldiers fight to the end http://reut.rs/2lOHMne
Harambe: AP News: 8,000 flee as Iraqi forces fight IS in western Mosul https://apnews.com/2557e3cac5a44c78ba8aba9e88ba4659
Harambe: CNBC: Oil prices dip as rising US output offsets OPEC cuts
Samson: IMF hails Iran’s post-sanctions economic performance
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed Iran’s ability to achieve what it has described as an impressive economic recovery after the removal of multiple-year sanctions against the country. Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:3AM
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed Iran’s ability to achieve what it has described as an impressive economic recovery after the removal of multiple-year sanctions against the country
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed Iran’s ability to achieve what it has described as an impressive economic recovery after the removal of multiple-year sanctions against the country.
The IMF in an annual report on Iran’s economic performance said that higher oil production and exports after the removal of the sanctions in January 2016 were supporting a strong rebound in the country’s economic growth.
It said Iran should be specifically credited for its ability to decrease inflation to as low as 6.8 percent in June 2016, down from a peak of 45 percent in June 2013.
The Fund annual report, known as the Article IV review, acknowledged that Iran’s inflation was hovering in the 9.5 percent range, year-on-year, since mid-2016.
It added that inflation would temporarily rise to 11.9 percent (year-on-year) by next April, stressing that it would return to single digits in what it said was expected to be a result of “prudent fiscal and monetary policies”.
The IMF said it welcomed plans devised by officials in Tehran to reduce Iran’s reliance on oil and develop the private sector.
Nevertheless, it warned that Iran still faced what it described as “considerable challenges” in realizing its full potential.
The IMF emphasized that Iran specifically needed to reform its financial sector to support its economic stability.
It said the removal of sanctions against Iran had spurred growth but “banking system weaknesses, structural bottlenecks, and hesitation by foreign banks to re-establish financial links have held back expansion of non-oil activity.”
It said in its assessment on Iran - that was based on a series of visits to the Islamic Republic and discussions with officials in Tehran – Iran’s risks were to the downside. However, it called on Iranian officials to take note of the renewed external uncertainty that it said could hamper foreign investments in the country.
The IMF praised efforts by Iranian authorities to put in place the elements of an ambitious reform plan to address the challenges that the country’s economy was facing, stressing that the plan was consistent with past advices provided to the Islamic Republic by the Fund.
The Fund further emphasized that it expected Iran’s economic growth to stabilize at 4.5 percent over the medium-term as the country’s economic recovery broadened.
It added that the country’s real growth could reach 6.6 percent by the end of the current Persian calendar year (21 March 2017).
The Fund added that Iran would start to witness an increase in the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) and specifically a gradual improvement in domestic financial conditions within the next two years.
This, it said, would in turn help drive investment and provide a stronger non-oil sector growth.
Something for Post-RV?
SpaceX announces planned private trip around moon in 2018
SpaceX, the space technology and exploration company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, plans to fly a pair of civilians around the moon and back to Earth in 2018, the company announced Monday.
Currency 365 : https://www.youtube.com/embed/w1tVdfqE7sI
Trump's speech to Congress is a chance for a reset
Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:47pm GMT
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump gets a chance to put the rocky start to his presidency behind him on Tuesday night with a speech to the U.S. Congress where he will lay out his plans for the year including a healthcare overhaul and military buildup.
The speech at 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Wednesday) in the chamber of the House of Representatives will be Trump's biggest chance yet as president to command a large prime-time audience and describe his agenda after a first month in office characterized by missteps, internal dramas and acrimonious disputes with the news media.
The address, which Trump has been writing with aide Stephen Miller and others, will include some gestures toward unifying a country polarized by a bitterly fought election and divided in the early days of his presidency.
An average of recent polls by Real Clear Politics put his approval rating at about 44 percent, low for a new president.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the theme of the speech to Congress, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, would be "the renewal of the American spirit" and that it would be grounded in how to solve the problems of everyday Americans.
"He will invite Americans of all backgrounds to come together in the service of a stronger and brighter future for our nation," Spicer told reporters on Monday.
Trump, whose inauguration speech on Jan. 20 painted a dark picture of the United States and referred to “American carnage,” told Reuters last week in an interview that his address would be a speech of optimism.
The president faces a host of questions going into his first speech before a joint session of Congress.
Specifics of his plan to overhaul former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law have not been released. He has yet to describe how to pay for a sharp increase in planned spending on rebuilding U.S. roads and bridges.
His proposals to cut taxes for millions of people and corporations have not been sketched out. His strategy for renegotiating international trade deals remains unclear. He took delivery on Monday of a Pentagon proposal for fighting Islamic State militants and must decide on it in the days ahead.
He seeks a big increase in defense spending but that plan includes a demand that non-defense federal agencies cut funds to offset the cost, painful reductions likely to face opposition in Congress. Some Republicans have said the proposed 10 percent defense spending increase is not enough to meet the military's needs.
Asked in a Fox News interview broadcast on Tuesday how he would pay for the increased spending, Trump said, "I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy."
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