Trump increases tariffs on China

Trump increases tariffs on China, U.S. stocks have a rough week, and the House passes a $19 billion disaster relief bill

President Trump increases tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese exports, U.S. stocks rise after a shaky week, the House passes a $19 billion disaster relief bill despite Trump’s opposition, and much, much more.


Good evening, it’s Friday, May 10th, here’s what you need to know…


1. Trump increases tariffs on China


Trade tensions between the United States and China continue to escalate as President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would increase its tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese exports following unsuccessful trade talks. The tariffs on exports from China increased from 10% to 25% on Friday at midnight and target a range of products such as auto parts, appliances, TVs, cosmetics,  seafood, and various electronics. In response to the tariff hike, Beijing announced that they would retaliate by taking “necessary countermeasures,” which could include imposing their own taxes on American exports. The developments come after the latest round of trade talks in Washington between Chinese negotiators and U.S. officials ended without an agreement. The stalled talks derailed any foreseeable progress in negotiations as both sides have tried to come to an agreement for months. And President Trump has risked achieving a deal by threatening to place tariffs on almost all Chinese imports as American consumers already face the burden of higher prices on goods.



2. A turbulent week for U.S. stocks


The U.S. stock market ended the week in positive territory after a turbulent few days amid investor fears over increasing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The major U.S. stock indexes slumped early in the day on the news that trade negotiators failed to reach an agreement and as President Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products. Upon the news, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq experienced one of their worst weeks since December 2018 as a result of uncertainty over the trade conflict.


3. House passes $19 billion disaster relief bill despite Trump’s opposition


On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a $19 billion disaster aid bill that provides relief to victims in storm damaged areas of the country. The funds will go to farmers, hurricane and flood victims, and go toward the rebuilding of military bases in the southern part of the U.S. The legislation was deadlocked in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats over a dispute about aid to Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The bill passed the House in a 257-150 vote, with most Republicans opposing it because they wanted it to include President Trump’s $4.5 billion request for increased humanitarian aid and law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border. Since the beginning of the year, the bill was in a standstill in the U.S. Senate between Democrats and President Trump over the amount of disaster relief aid that Puerto Rico should receive. The president, along with many Republican senators, disagreed with the Democrats’ proposal for more funding for the island, with Trump arguing that the U.S. territory has already received too much aid. On Thursday, the day before the House vote, Trump urged House Republican lawmakers to “not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT Disaster Supplemental Bill which hurts our States, Farmers & Border Security,” Trump tweeted. The approved bill will now go to the Senate for any necessary revisions before it’s voted on.


4. Uber IPO


Uber made its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday in it’s highly anticipated IPO that was long expected to be one of the biggest ever. The ride-hailing company set its price at $45 per share on Thursday ahead of its IPO on Friday, which valued Uber at $82.4 billion. The price target falls on the low end of the range and values the company lower than initial expectations that were made shortly after Uber announced its IPO. However, on Uber’s first day of trading, the stock disappointed investors as it fell 7.6% below its IPO price by the end of trading on Friday. The lackluster debut is a letdown for what was expected to be Wall Street’s largest IPO of the year and was supposed to provide optimism to other Silicon Valley-based startups pegged to go public this year. Uber ended the day at $41.57 per share as concerns grow about the financial future of the company and impending fears of weak performance on the NYSE. Uber’s IPO came two days after drivers around the world went on strike to protest the billions raked in by the company while driver’s experience decreasing wages.



5. North Korea launches two more rockets


North Korea fired two short-range missiles on Thursday, its second test in less than a week and further complicates relations with the United States and efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The missiles were fired from the northwest section of the country and traveled roughly 260 miles east before landing into the Sea of Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was present to oversee the rocket tests that were intended to test the country’s “rapid reaction” capabilities, including missile accuracy, according to the state-run news agency. A North Korean official said the test was a self-defensive military drill. On Saturday, North Korea launched another missile test, the country’s first such test since 2017 and a sign that the country has become frustrated over derailed nuclear talks with the U.S. in February. 



6. U.S. seizes North Korean cargo ship


The United States has seized a North Korean cargo ship for allegedly violating sanctions imposed on the country, according to the Justice Department on Thursday. The U.S. made the rare seizure of the M/V Wise Honest cargo ship, North Korea’s second largest freighter, for illegally transporting coal from North Korea to other countries, including China, to fund the country’s nuclear weapons and missiles program. The North has been known to take measures to bypass damaging economic sanctions in an effort to generate currency, including efforts to export banned coal to other countries. The ship’s seizure will likely further escalate growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea that have only worsened following the failed nuclear talks between President Trump and leader Kim Jong-un in February. The seizure also comes as North Korea conducted short-range ballistic missile tests and is suspected of restarting production of nuclear weapons.


7. Facebook co-founder calls on the social media giant to be broken up


Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is speaking out against the company he helped start, arguing that it’s time for the social media giant to be broken up. In a piece titled, It’s Time to Break Up Facebook, Hughes called out Facebook’s data mistakes, privacy violations, and slow response to a series of scandals that have plagued the company in recent years. “The Facebook that exists today is not the Facebook that we founded in 2004,” Hughes, who was roommates with CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard, said. “And the one that we have today I think is far too big. It’s far too powerful. And most importantly, its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is not accountable.” Hughes was further critical of his friend Mark Zuckerberg, saying he has “unchecked power” and disapproved of the amount of influence he carries. “Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” he wrote. Hughes also called Facebook a “powerful monopoly” and said that the company should be forced to undo its acquisitions of Instagram and Whatsapp. The Facebook co-founder joins a growing list of entrepreneurs and executives in the technology sector who have called on the government to implement regulation on Facebook and other social media platforms.



8. Massive stockpile of weapons found at a Los Angeles mansion


More than 1,000 guns were seized by federal authorities from a home in an exclusive neighborhood of Los Angeles on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation. ATF agents and Los Angeles police officers, acting on a search warrant, seized the guns as part of an anonymous tip that someone was illegally manufacturing and selling firearms. A spokeswoman for the ATF said there was no indication that the massive firearm stockpile were used in crimes, but said all weapons will be traced to make that determination. Police arrested Girard Saenz, 57, at the home for violating California law regarding assault weapons and machine guns, though no charges have been formally filed. The weapons found at the expensive home include both rifles and pistols which were seized alongside firearm manufacturing equipment and tools. The case remains under investigation.


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