Friday 16th of April 2021

tourism, when the virus is defeated, will look very different from before...

brexit in spanish...
The lies and misrepresentations spun by Brexiters (and the UK government) ever since the 2016 Referendum are coming home to roost. While niggles and irritations were expected, they were seen as transitional. But major consequences for the British economy are heaping up.

Brexit still not done and dusted?

By ANDREW FARRAN | On 28 January 2021


When it comes to the day-to-day implementation of Brexit, delays in cross-border travel and low-level friction were expected on both sides. However, the misjudgments and the poor preparation in finalising the deal are resulting in serious consequences for the British economy.


The adjustments required following the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) concluded on the last day of 2020 are being hampered by the pandemic in the UK, which is worsening each day.

That would seem bad enough. But the lack of trust and goodwill is also having an effect. On the British side traders and others are increasingly disappointed about Brexit itself and in the IT systems the government was supposed to put in place to facilitate cross-border traffic. This included for traffic passing from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland – which is now part of the EU internal market for goods and agriculture, subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol pursuant to the earlier Withdrawal Agreement.

For the EU, particularly galling has been the absence of any remorse on the part of the UK in enacting a law to allow it to cancel a key part of the Northern Ireland Protocol (a treaty commitment) should it not suit – a breach of international law in anyone’s language.

The absence of tariffs and quotas was, superficially, attractive to the British people and sold as such, but these benefits are only available if goods and products satisfied the ‘rules of origin test’. This hides a multitude of non-tariff barriers that can negate a trade benefit in the first place.

A product that is the compound of inputs of both home and foreign origin may be assessed as being largely foreign and therefore not eligible for tariff or quota free treatment. The calculation can be complex and a cause of friction for both parties.

Underlying the EU’s lack of trust are assertions that the UK is planning to create ‘a Singapore on the Thames’. That would turn the whole of Britain into a free port without tariffs or quotas, without inconvenient ‘rules of origin’ in the formation of goods, and without constraints on the deregulation of product and labour standards and allow subsidies for some sector. This would give the UK an incompatible competitive advantage over the rest of Europe, a situation that could create enormous divisive pressures within the EU.

Meanwhile, both sides are causing friction at the borders by insisting on compliance with new documentary and health requirements that many long-haul truck drivers either do not understand or cannot handle. Some are therefore refusing to carry goods one way or the other if it means they might find themselves stranded on the wrong side or left with empty or half-filled containers for the return journey.

This particularly affects deliveries of perishable food (especially seafood), checks on chilled meats, household materials, and industrial parts and components integral to supply lines. Cross-border service industries, apart from those that can be accommodated within the digital world, are falling apart.

And tourism, when the virus is defeated, will look very different from before. Any sense of entitlement that Britons may have cause to feel in Europe will have evaporated.

It appears that some economies are becoming less inclined to engage in trade and are withdrawing into their own systems and cultural patterns – a familiar picture to that of the 18th century. A UK ‘Changing Europe’ Report has estimated that in a 10-year period, UK exports to the EU will fall by 36% and imports by 30% compared with the figures before Brexit.

Where and how might these reductions be made up? By the US? By Australia? We might in time be dealing with a different world if the US sought to re-enter the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on terms acceptable to the existing parties (still a long shot even with President Biden) or if the UK were to seek admission (which might be more likely if it had successfully negotiated an FTA with Australia).

Brexiters are still reluctant to take blame for the negative consequences of Brexit, either blaming the EU for acting unreasonably at every opportunity or blaming Brexit ‘Remainers’ for continuing to sow discord and exaggerating the visible consequences.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is aware of the suffering of the fisheries and music industries and is offering compensation for both. However. the more that Brexiters call for compensation for adverse consequences, the more they undermine their original argument. How ironic.

The Brexit Agreement (the TCA) is also yet to be ratified by the European Parliament, due by late February but now extended to April, ostensibly to enable it to be translated into all the languages of the EU – distrust could further deepen in this time. The TCA is being applied provisionally with the agreement of the European Council of Ministers.

Further evidence of diminishing goodwill is the graceless refusal of the UK government to grant full diplomatic status to the EU’s First Ambassador to the UK – even when there is still much to negotiate.

As pointed out by Professor Chris Grey in his authoritative blog, now titled “Brexit and Beyond”, the government’s justification was that the EU is not a ‘nation state’ but ‘an international organisation’.

“Yet for years the Brexiters’ core complaint was that the EU had become a super-state, making the UK’s membership sovereignty-sapping in a way that was quite different to its membership of other international organizations. So as the costs of Brexit rip through our country, revealing all the lies told of there being no costs, it is tacitly admitted that this was another lie. Indeed, it was the foundational lie.


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Cartoon at top by Giles, mischieved by Gus...

and china...


A year after the novel coronavirus pandemic broke out, efforts to control the spread of the virus have yielded uneven results around the world. China, however, has largely contained the epidemic, creating a relatively safe environment. And although sporadic coronavirus clusters have been reported in some parts of the country, the authorities have worked out ways to prevent large-scale outbreaks.

China's fight against the pandemic has not come without a cost. The country's economy contracted by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 due to lockdowns and other strict measures to check the spread after the virus was first detected in Wuhan, with the city and its parental province of Hubei being the most affected. But with the government taking rigorous measures in the initial stages, both Wuhan and Hubei started retuning to normal after a couple of months. And with production and other economic activities resuming throughout the country in second half of last year, China, against all odds, achieved 2.3 percent growth for the year 2020.

Compared with the performance of the rest of the world, China, despite facing a devastating pandemic, has contained the virus as well as safeguarded the lives and livelihoods of the people thanks to the government's competence and efficiency.

Many experts thought the industrialized economies were better equipped to contain the pandemic, because of their advanced healthcare systems and medical resources. To the surprise of the world, that was not the case. Almost all major Western countries are still struggling to contain the pandemic, with the United States being the worst hit. By now across the world the pandemic has claimed more than 2 million lives. In the US alone, there are about 25 million cases and more than 430,000 deaths. In the United Kingdom, there are about 2.5 million cases, with over 87,000 deaths.

A 13-member team of World Health Organization experts, after completing a two-week quarantine on Thursday in Wuhan, began their scientific study of the source of the virus origin. Part of their study involves abandoning all preconceived notions about how the virus evolved and spread, and to look at what the evidence says, and proceed from there.

As early as Jan 3, 2020 Chinese officials provided information to WHO on the cluster of cases of "viral pneumonia of unknown cause" identified in Wuhan. It was on Jan 20, 2020, that China announced the novel coronavirus is contagious. In February 2020, a report by an earlier WHO team in China had said that "key knowledge gaps remain" about the virus.

This is a very important development in the world of medical science, and through such cooperation with, especially with UN bodies and other countries, China has been shouldering its responsibility as a major country. Not to mention it shared the results of the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the WHO and other countries, so as to help the world check the spread of the virus.

And lest we forget China sent 30 updates to the US administration on the outbreak situation between Jan 3 and Feb 3 last year. The new US administration should take note of China's regular briefings last year — and American journalists can use the US' Freedom of Information Act to get access to this set of crucial information and go through it before blaming China for "mishandling" the outbreak in the initial stage.

Despite such positive developments, however, some Western media outlets have been arguing again that China initially covered up the epidemic's details last year. But now that the WHO team has started its study it would be prudent to wait for the outcome.

The WHO team's mission is to conduct a joint research on the origin of the virus; it doesn't have the mandate to ascertain who is guilty. Nevertheless, this inquiry is an opportunity to understand in depth how the local authorities responded to the public health crisis. Such information will help understand the details of the outbreak and scientifically trace the origin and host of the virus.

It is, however, necessary to emphasize that the novel coronavirus is also suspected of have emerged in some other places in the world, and it is the WHO's job to identify such places and send its expert teams, possibly including Chinese scientists, to conduct similar studies to trace the origin and path of the spread of the virus.

New US President Joe Biden, in line with WHO rules, has vowed to not stigmatize any country or region as the place of origin of the virus, and hopefully, the US federal government will not use offensive terms to refer to the novel coronavirus. China welcomes the new US administration's move to correct its predecessor's mistakes, and asks the Western media to think before speaking, and stop branding a country for the spread of the virus to cover up the mistakes of some Western governments.

The author is a professor at and former executive dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.


And contrarily to our idiot — our "we will never introduce a carbon tax" Prime Miniscule in Kanbra — China might beat us to the carbon neutral goal:


Beijing has officially rolled out its repeatedly delayed Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), aimed at reducing its greenhouse gas output. Beijing is expecting its emissions to peak before 2030 and become “carbon neutral” by 2060.

The scheme officially entered into force on Monday, covering some 2,260 power plants across the nation. Said plants contributed to around 40 percent of all the carbon dioxide emissions China produced last year.

At later stages, the ETS will also include other enterprises that produce a minimum of 24,000 tons of carbon equivalent a year.

The ETS scheme is founded on a market-based approach to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. The idea of carbon trading was first conceptualized under the Kyoto Protocol back in 1997. Such schemes involve the introduction – through allocation or selling – of a limited number of permits, allowing enterprises to produce a set amount of gases over a specific time period. If a company breaches its emission limit, it has to buy additional permits, and if it emits less than its limit allows it can sell off the excess permits for profit.

In China, distribution of emissions permits under the ETS will be supervised by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE). Unveiling the pilot variant of the ETS scheme earlier this month, the ministry said it was an important step towards meeting the climate goals envisioned by the Chinese government.

“For the first time, the responsibility for controlling greenhouse gas emissions at the national level is consolidated to the enterprise,” MEE said in a statement.

China’s ambitious climate goals were outlined by President Xi Jinping back in September last year. The country plans to reach its peak emissions before 2030 and gradually reach “carbon neutrality” by 2060.

The rollout of the ETS comes days after the US criticized China’s achievements in the climate change field, with President Joe Biden’s special climate envoy, John Kerry, branding Beijing’s promises “not good enough.”


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We, of course, are expecting that the USA are going to lead the world on this issue, while not being "exceptionally" Americanly annoying to the rest of the world. Looks like Kerry is already at it, while "leading from way behind"...



and al qaeda...

The president of the Islamic Conference of Spain, Ayman Adlbi (photo), and the treasurer of Madrid’s Central Mosque, Mohamed Hatem Rohaibani, have been arrested over terrorrism financing.

The Islamic Conference of Spain is the only legally recognized representative organ of Islam and Muslims in Spain [1].

The two men were running an allegedly humanitarian fundraising system, which served to funnel funds exclusively to Al-Qaeda in Syria. Their organization had already transferred 144,710 euros.

The monthly donations of some 30 euros were allocated to "orphans", a euphemism for jihadists. The police recorded encoded telephone conversations which left no doubt as to the set up of this racket [2].

Ayman Adlbi was elected president of the Islamic Commission of Spain in 2020. He is said to be a member of the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. He allegedly fled from Syria and settled in Spain after the failed 1978 coup attempt organized by his secret society (the "Hama Uprising"), with the help of the United States. He is reported to have obtained Spanish nationality during the Cold War.


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