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U.S. President Donald Trump’s intention to further hike U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods has alarmed American lawmakers of both parties who fear dire economic consequences from escalating tensions between the United States and its trading partners.
“I’m anxious for the tariff war to come to an end,” Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of agriculturally rich Kansas told VOA on Tuesday. “Exports are very important to the economy of my state. I would encourage the rapid resolution between the United States and China, because it has an immediate and consequential effect on the livelihoods of lots of people.”
“The [president’s] whole tariff policy has been dangerous folly,” New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez said. “I hear it from New Jersey companies that recently, just this past week, told me about tariffs they have to pay on particular products that they can’t get anywhere else [but foreign suppliers].”
On Sunday, Trump announced that tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods would rise from 10% to 25% as of Friday. He tweeted that “China has been paying” U.S. tariffs and that China’s “payments are partially responsible for our great economic results.”
Such assertions are disputed by many lawmakers, including Republicans who, on other matters, often come to the president’s defense.
“Currently, U.S. importers have paid the U.S. government over $16 billion in tariffs on imports from China,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford said via Twitter. “This tax is not paid for by Chinese exporters, this is all paid by U.S. importers.”
Trade talks to continue
Despite Trump’s tariff threat, Chinese officials have signaled they intend to continue trade discussions with Washington, prompting some lawmakers to applaud what they see as the White House’s hardball negotiating stance toward Beijing.
“The only reason that China is at the [negotiating] table is because of these tariffs, let’s not kid ourselves,” Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said. “China has been cheating … and it’s got to stop. And President Trump has been the first president to call their hand.”
Some Democrats, meanwhile, credit Trump for confronting China over its trade practices but fault the strategy and tactics the president has employed.
“I commend President Trump for saying the status quo with China is not working,” Virginia Democratic Sen. John Warner said. “China is not playing by the rules, and my fear is the president may end up with a deal where the president sells an extra $100 billion of [American] soybeans, but these broader issues around technology … and [China’s] ongoing theft of intellectual property go unaddressed.”
“Tariff policy by tweet does not work,” said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is seeking next year’s Democratic presidential nomination. “We’ve had two years of experience now [with Trump], and it just seems to be getting worse and worse.”
Tariff concerns on Capitol Hill extend beyond China. A group of Republican lawmakers has urged Trump to halt tariffs targeting Canadian and Mexican goods, warning the measures could torpedo Congress’s consideration of a newly negotiated free trade pact between the United States and both nations.
Regarding the president’s new tariff threat on Chinese exports, some Republicans are willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt — for now.
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“Perhaps the president is espousing additional tariffs for purposes of getting China’s attention and to negotiate an agreement. That would be a wonderful outcome,” Moran said. “The challenge is: it’s not just one country that can impose tariffs. So, when the United States [previously] imposed tariffs, China retaliated on products from the United States. And that is very damaging to the ability to earn a living.” (VOA)
By- Tejas Maheta
Free VPNs tend to get a bad rap (and often for good reasons, which we'll discuss in a second). Still, there are some safe and free VPN services recommended by expats - just click the link for some solid options. Next, scroll on to see how you can put them to good use while you're abroad.
Privacy and Security (to a Certain Degree)
One of the main purposes of a VPN is to encrypt your network traffic – garble it, basically – to keep it safe from:
- ISPs that want to sell your browsing and location data for a profit
- Hackers and script kiddies lurking at every corner public hotspot
- Government surveillance agencies spying on their own citizens
Even free VPNs can do as much, as long as you go with a trustworthy provider such as those linked at the start.
On top of that, VPNs hide your real life location by masking your IP address and assigning a new one based on the server you connect to. Useful in case some cyberstalkers or trolls lure you into clicking on IP-grabbing links or scripts to determine your location. Unfortunately, it's not as effective against GPS tracking (though there are some paid VPNs out there that can spoof GPS).
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Unblock Some Websites While Abroad
While not as versatile as a subscription-based VPN, free VPNs still have some unblocking ability that can be useful to an expat. For instance, you can access your home banking or investment accounts, which in most cases block foreign traffic. Understandably so, since a lot of cyber attacks tend to be linked to international hacker networks.
Using a VPN also allows you to access small news sites from back home, who simply don't find it worth it to comply with GDPR regulations in the EU. Alternatively, you can set your virtual location outside the EU to get around all those annoying cookie consent pop-ups. Funny little side effect, but it can definitely save you some grey hairs while browsing.
Finally, free VPNs can unblock some content such as region-locked music videos, or age-restricted YouTube videos in the EU without having to give up your ID or credit card information to Google. You won't have much luck using free VPNs on content platforms like Netflix, though. Those of you looking to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming sites are better off using a sub-based VPN.
One of the main purposes of a VPN is to encrypt your network traffic.Wikipedia
Bypass Firewalls and Censorship
VPNs sure seem like a master thief's skeleton key, don't they? So many Internet barriers out there, all of them nullified with the help of a single tool. And yes, they can easily get around firewalls as well.
For the most part, you'll be using a VPN to unblock social media and other "distractions" at work or at school. Believe it or not, airport and hotel Wi-Fi can be pretty restrictive too. Thankfully, VPNs make short work of their firewall rules.
And while not as effective as a paid option, free VPNs can also help during Internet blackouts caused by government censorship. Look no further than the recent Hong Kong protests, the frequent social media shutdowns in Turkey, and similar cases worldwide. All of these have one thing in common: free VPN usage shot up immensely as people sought ways to contact their loved ones or post their outrage online.
Why the Negative View of Free VPNs?
You've seen all the great things you can accomplish with a free VPN. So why all the bad press about them? Well, here are some fairly valid concerns that apply to a decent chunk of free providers:
- They sell user data – after all, they need to pay for operational costs somehow. It just so happens that advertisers find your browsing habits highly valuable.
- Several free VPNs based in Hong Kong breached their "no-logs" policies and ended up leaking 1.2 TB of user data online. This isn't an uncommon occurrence, considering the data harvesting practices of most free VPNs.
- They can infect your device with malware that can extract sensitive info or otherwise cause damage. In one major case, user devices were hijacked into a botnet and used in a large scale denial-of-service attack.
Other criticisms are directed at their data caps, slow performance, the small number of overcrowded servers, and the bandwidth throttling. Add to that the fact that they don't unblock region-specific Netflix libraries or other streaming sites, and you can see why people aren't too thrilled about them.
Still, if you're not looking for anything fancy, a free VPN should tide you over until you can fit an actual subscription into your budget. Just stick to the trusty VPNs we've linked to in the beginning.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
The Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has started rolling out iOS 12.5.5 to older models of the iPhone and iPad. "This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users," Apple said in the release notes for iOS 12.5.5.
The update is available for the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3, as well as the 6th gen iPod touch, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. All of these devices were dropped from support with iOS 13. The iOS 12.5.5 update addresses issues related to maliciously crafted PDFs, web content, and apps.
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Apple had previously rolled out iOS 12.5.4 in June with security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities and other issues. Apple has also started seeded the first betas of iOS 15.1 as well as iPadOS 15.1. After removing SharePlay in iOS 15 beta 2, Apple has re-enabled the feature in the iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, and tvOS 15.1 betas. Apple decided to pull SharePlay from the iOS 15 launch because it was not properly functioning and was still riddled with issues.
It adds features to the Health app like support for storing health-related data for Covid-19 immunisations and test results. With the latest iOS 15.1 Beta, one can now add vaccination cards to the Apple Wallet application. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Apple, iPhone, iPad, iOS, update
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Lakme Fashion Week, announced a collaboration to celebrate "NBA 75" the leagues landmark 75th Anniversary Season in 2021-22. As part of the collaboration, the NBA and Lakme Fashion Week will offer fashion designers from across India the opportunity to submit designs for an "NBA 75" collection. Select designs will be evaluated by a panel comprised of fashion designers, industry experts and local influencers, with the winning designer announced at the upcoming October edition of Lakme Fashion Week.
The winner will then be mentored by a leading fashion expert and will work alongside the NBA on a capsule collection to commemorate NBA 75. The NBA 75 range, which will include jerseys, t-shirts, headwear, sweatpants, hoodies, jackets and other apparel, will be unveiled at Lakme Fashion Week in March 2022.
"We are excited to collaborate with Lakme Fashion Week and offer Indian designers the chance to express their vision in celebration of NBA 75," said NBA Asia Executive Vice President & Managing Director Scott Levy. "The NBA and its players are synonymous with fashion and culture, and this friendly competition will showcase the talent and passion that Indian designers have for basketball and the NBA during our landmark 75th Anniversary Season." The collection will be available for purchase after the event on the NBAStore.in and at select retail destinations. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: NBA, Lakme, beauty, basketball, Lakme fashion week