КУПУЙ

Китай представив новий місяцехід, який планують запустити у грудні, щоб зібрати інформацію з раніше невідомих частин з дальньої сторони Місяця.

Китайські державні засоби масової інформації повідомляють, що безпілотний Chang’e 4 стане першим місячним ровером, що зможе здійнити «м’яку посадку» на ділянці Місяця, на яку не потрапляють сонячні промені.

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Раніше у травні Китай запустив супутник Queqiao для збору даних на дальній стороні Місяця.

Перший в Китаї безпілотний місяцехід, Yutu, вилетів на Місяць в грудні 2013 року.

Хоча спочатку він мав очікуваний термін служби три місяці, він продовжував працювати і надсилати дані на землю до кінця липня 2016 року – встановивши таким чином рекорд щодо тривалості роботи.

Світовий банк на прохання уряду України готує гарантійну операцію на 650 мільйонів доларів для підтримки основних реформ для економічного зростання, фіскальної стійкості та поліпшення управління, йдеться в повідомленні банку.

«Після завершення підготовки та затвердження нової операції, Україна отримає гарантію від Міжнародного банку реконструкції та розвитку на суму 650 мільйонів доларів, яка допоможе запозичити близько 800 мільйонів доларів на зовнішніх ринках», – зазначають у Світовому банку.

Для того, щоб нова операція стала можливою, необхідне підтвердження завершення всіх дій щодо розпочатих реформ і сприятлива макроекономічна ситуація. У цьому контексті критичним банк називає набрання чинності законів «Про внесення змін до деяких законодавчих актів України щодо вдосконалення функціонування фінансового сектору в Україні» (№8331-д)

та «Про внесення змін у деякі законодавчі акти України щодо відновлення кредитування» (№6027-д), які були ухвалені Верховною Радою в липні 2018 року.

«Світовий банк закликає уряд України завершити всі необхідні дії з розпочатим реформам і досягти угоди з МВФ щодо четвертого перегляду програми кредитування», – наголошується в релізі фінансової установи.

У МВФ 13 серпня повідомили, що місія фонду працюватиме в Києві в період із 6 до 19 вересня «для обговорення останніх економічних подій і економічної політики».

У Національному банку України вважають, що наступний візит місії МВФ стане свідченням незмінності курсу України на проведення реформ і поліпшення перспектив виділення фінансової допомоги фонду, яка справить позитивний вплив на стан валютного ринку України.

Читайте також: Потрібна підтримка МВФ, бо Україна на межі глибокої економічної кризи – експерти

У МВФ неодноразово заявляли, що Україні для отримання чергового траншу необхідно ухвалити закон про Антикорупційний суд і привести ціни на газ до рівня ринкових.

У березні 2015 року між МВФ і Україною була затверджена чотирирічна програма розширеного фінансування на суму близько 17,5 мільярда доларів США. Наразі МВФ надав Україні за цією програмою близько 8 мільярдів 380 мільйонів доларів.

Міністерство фінансів України очікувало на надходження нового траншу кредиту МВФ на початку 2018 року. У квітні в Нацбанку заявили, що очікують траншу від Міжнародного валютного фонду в третьому кварталі.

Mexico’s economy minister on Wednesday said that Mexico and the United States may not meet an August goal to finish bilateral talks to revamp the NAFTA trade deal, which is beset by disagreements over automobile trade rules and other issues.

Top Mexican officials started their fourth week of talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington over a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

Asked if the August goal was still viable, Guajardo said, “That is why we are here. We are fully engaged. We don’t know if there will be a successful conclusion.”

The U.S.-Mexico talks resumed in July, without Canada, after negotiations involving all three members of the $1.2 trillion trade bloc stalled in June.

Guajardo said on Wednesday that he had spoken with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on the telephone and was “hopeful” Canada could soon hold trilateral NAFTA talks with the United States and Mexico.

Guajardo was joined by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s chief NAFTA negotiator Kenneth Smith, and Jesus Seade, the designated chief trade negotiator of incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Smith said Mexico and the United States were “working well” on the most difficult issues.

Mexico and Washington have been discussing rules for the automotive sector, which has been a major point of contention between the two countries.

The United States has sought tougher rules on what percentage of a vehicle’s components need to be built in the NAFTA region to avoid tariffs, as well as demanding that a certain number of cars and trucks be made in factories paying at least $16 an hour.

New sticking points emerged last week over President Donald Trump’s threat to impose steep automotive tariffs.

Guajardo said the teams had not yet touched the issue of a U.S. proposed sunset clause that would kill NAFTA after five years if it is not renegotiated again. Both Mexico and Canada have said they reject the measure.

Singapore is the setting for new Hollywood movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ – an adaptation of a best-selling novel that explores the insatiable consumerism of new money and old-world opulence in a continent producing more billionaires than anywhere else.

While the low-tax financial hub is often called a playground for the rich, Singapore’s wealthy tend to live a more conservative, low-key life than Hong Kong’s showy socialites or Macau’s high-rollers.

In step with the film’s release in the United States on Wednesday and ahead of its release in the city-state next week, here are five ways to spend your cash in Singapore.

  1. Orchid-shaped supercars

Cars in Singapore are some of the most expensive in the world, owing to huge government taxes aimed at limiting their number in the tiny island-state.

That doesn’t stop the super-rich – Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini are commonly sighted. When a Singaporean character in Kevin Kwan’s book, Goh Peik Lin, moves to America to study she immediately buys a Porsche saying they are “such a bargain.”

For the super-rich patriot, Singapore-based firm Vanda Electrics has designed an electric supercar – Dendrobium. Its roof and doors open in sync to resemble the orchid that is native to Singapore and after which the vehicle is named.

A show car, built by the technology arm of the Williams Formula One team, was unveiled last year. It was originally estimated to cost around 3 million euros ($3.44 million) before tax, although Vanda Electrics advised the final price will likely be lower.

  1. Yachts with submarines

Yachts are an affordable alternative to such supercars.

“Impulse buys of luxury items such as yachts are becoming more common” said Phill Gregory, the Singapore head of yacht dealers Simpson Marine, who sell everything from sports boats to super yachts costing tens of millions of dollars.

Gregory said Singapore-based clients have some of the most sophisticated tastes and an eye for style: sometimes he flies them to Europe to deck out their yacht with luxury furniture from the artisans of Milan or world-famous Carrara marble straight from the quarries in Tuscany.

Others have more unusual requests. These include a bespoke ‘beach club style’ lounge area set underneath a shimmering swimming pool, helipads or even a space to park a small submarine or sea-plane.

  1. 999 roses

The iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel – which resembles a giant surfboard perched on three tall columns – features prominently in the film’s trailer.

The hotel features the invitation-only Chairman’s suite – the largest in Singapore – which has its own gym, hair salon, and karaoke room, and according to some media reports costs over $15,000 a night. There is no publicly available price.

The likes of former British soccer star David Beckham and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan have stayed at the hotel.

George Roe, director of hotel operations at Marina Bay Sands, said he has had some unusual requests from his guests including organizing the delivery of 999 roses to a residential address in Singapore as a surprise.

  1. Rare beef

“You do realize Singapore is the most food obsessed country on the planet?,” Nick Young, the very well-heeled protagonist of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ tells his girlfriend Rachel Chu ahead of their trip to the city-state.

Even hawker stalls hold Michelin stars in Singapore but there’s no shortage of places for the super-rich to get their fix.

The restaurant CUT by Wolfgang Puck is the only one in Singapore to offer Hokkaido snow beef – which is even scarcer than Kobe beef – through an exclusive arrangement with a private reserve in Japan.

Only two cattle are harvested from the reserve every month, with CUT receiving about 20-30 steaks a month – a chunk of which goes to regulars who visit the restaurant every time it comes on the menu, said general manager Paul Joseph. The current price is S$330 ($240) for a modest 170 gram serving.

  1. Gold tea

Forget wearing gold – in Singapore you can drink it. 

Boutique Singaporean tea company TWG Tea claims to sell one of the world’s most expensive teas – a white tea plated with 24-karat gold which retails at S$19,000 ($14,000) a kilo.

The Grand Golden Yin Zhen is described as a “glimpse of the divine in a teacup”, and the gold is said to have anti-oxidant properties that revitalize and rejuvenate the skin.

Toyota is likely to make 120,000 more cars a year in the Chinese port city  of Tianjin as part of a medium-term strategy that’s gathering pace as China-Japan ties improve, said four company insiders with knowledge of the matter.

The Japanese auto maker’s plan to boost annual production capacity by about a quarter in the port city will lay the foundation to increase sales in China to two million vehicles per year, a jump of over 50 percent, the four sources said.

The Tianjin expansion signals Toyota’s willingness to start adding significant manufacturing capacity in China with the possibility of one or two new assembly plants in the world’s biggest auto market, the sources said. Car imports could also increase, they said.

The move comes at a time when China’s trade outlook with the United States appears fraught and uncertain.

Toyota plans to significantly expand its sales networks and focus more on electric car technologies as part of the strategy, the sources said, declining to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

Toyota sold 1.29 million vehicles in China last year and while sales are projected at 1.4 million this year, “capacity constraints” have restricted stronger growth, the sources said.

Over 500,000 vehicles a year

Toyota’s manufacturing hub in Tianjin currently has the capacity to produce 510,000 vehicles a year, while Toyota as a whole, between two joint ventures, has overall capacity to churn out 1.16 million vehicles a year.

Manufacturing capacity numbers provided by automakers are called straight-time capacity without overtime. With overtime, a given assembly plant can produce 20 to 30 percent more than its capacity.

According to two Tianjin government websites last week, Toyota has been given regulatory approval by the municipal government’s Development and Reform Commission to pursue its expansion.

The two websites — including the official website for the Tianjin development district where Toyota’s production hub is based — said the Japanese automaker plans to expand its Tianjin base to be able to manufacture 10,000 all-electric battery cars and 110,000 so-called plug-in electric hybrids annually. It wasn’t immediately clear when Toyota will be able to start producing those additional cars.

A Beijing-based Toyota spokesman declined to comment. The Tianjin facilities, which produces cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Vios cars, are owned and operated by one of Toyota’s joint ventures in China.

The venture with FAW in Tianjin plans to invest 1.76 billion yuan ($257 million) for the expansion, according to the two Tianjin websites.

Historical backlash 

China is sometimes a market difficult to operate for Japanese companies because of historical reasons.

In 2012, cars sold by Toyota and other Japanese automakers were battered when protests erupted across China after diplomatic spats over disputed islets known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Since then, Toyota has emphasised steady growth rather than taking on risky expansion projects.

According to the four sources, Toyota’s attitude towards China began changing markedly after an official visit to Japan by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in May.

During the visit, Li toured Toyota’s facilities on the northern island of Hokkaido, and was escorted by Toyota’s family scion and chief executive Akio Toyoda.

Toyoda has since sought to boost his company’s presence in China, a vision that had culminated in an active effort to identify specific ways to do just that, according to the four sources.

They said aside from boosting capacity, Toyota is also looking at the possibility to significantly expand its distribution networks for the mainstream Toyota and premium Lexus brands.

Timing is perfect for Toyota

It wasn’t immediately clear how significant a distribution network expansion Toyota is planning for both brands. Currently, Toyota has more than 1,300 stores for the Toyota brand and nearly 190 for its Lexus luxury cars.

The timing for the China expansion couldn’t be better. Earlier this year, Toyota was able to finally launch a couple of much anticipated, potentially high-volume subcompact sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) — two China-market versions of the Toyota C-HR crossover SUV which hit showrooms in the United States last year.

The C-HR variants are relatively small crossover SUVs that other manufacturers, most notably Japan’s Honda, have leveraged to grow sales rapidly and sell more cars in China than its much bigger rival Toyota. Honda sold 1.44 million vehicles in China last year.

Benefit for Lexus

Lexus is also deemed likely to benefit from a windfall from growing trade tensions between China and the United States.

In retaliation for U.S. trade actions, China raised tariffs on automobiles imported from the United States in early July to 40 percent, which, among other things, has forced Tesla, BMW, as well as Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz to raise prices on certain U.S. — built vehicles, such as the hot-selling BMW X5 and X6 crossover sport-utility vehicles.

One likely consequence for those brands is a sales fall, a profit squeeze, or both.

By contrast, all Lexus cars Toyota sells in China are brought in from Japan and benefit from a much lower tariff rate of 15 percent levied on non-U.S. produced car imports.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has sent subpoenas to Tesla Inc. regarding Chief Executive Elon Musk’s plans to take the company private and his statement that funding was “secured,” Fox Business Network reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

Subpoenas typically indicate the SEC has opened a formal investigation into a matter. Tesla and the SEC declined to comment.

Musk stunned investors and sent Tesla’s shares soaring 11 percent when he tweeted early last week that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share and that he had secured funding for the potential deal.

The electric carmaker’s shares were last down 1.9 percent at $341.00 on Wednesday. They have erased all their gains following Musk’s tweet last week.

Musk provided no details of his funding until Monday, when he said in a blog on Tesla’s website that he was in discussions with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and other potential backers but that financing was not yet nailed down.

The CEO’s tweet may have violated U.S. securities law if he misled investors. On Monday, lawyers told Reuters Musk’s statement indicated he had good reason to believe he had funding but seemed to have overstated its status by saying it was secured.

The SEC has opened an inquiry into Musk’s tweets, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter. Reuters was not immediately able to ascertain if this had escalated into a full-blown investigation on Wednesday.

This source said Tesla’s independent board members had hired law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to help handle the SEC inquiry and other fiduciary duties with respect to a potential deal.

U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in July as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and clothing, suggesting the economy remained strong early in the third quarter.

Other data on Wednesday showed worker productivity growing at its fastest pace in more than three years in the second quarter, but a drop in labor costs pointed to moderate wage inflation. Strong domestic demand supports expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September for the third time this year.

The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.5 percent last month. But data for June was revised lower to show sales gaining 0.2 percent instead of the previously reported 0.5 percent rise. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales nudging up 0.1 percent in July. Retail sales in July increased 6.4 percent from a year ago.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales advanced 0.5 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.1 percent dip in June. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.

Core retail sales were previously reported to have been unchanged in June. Consumer spending is being supported by a tightening labor market, which is steadily pushing up wages. Tax cuts and higher savings are also underpinning consumption.

July’s increase in core retail sales suggested the economy started the third quarter on solid footing after logging its best performance in nearly four years in the second quarter.

Gross domestic product surged at a 4.1 percent annualized rate in the April-June period, almost double the 2.2 percent pace in the first quarter. While the economy is unlikely to repeat the second quarter’s robust performance, growth in the

July-September period is expected to top a 3.0 percent rate.

The Fed increased borrowing costs in June and forecast two more interest rate hikes by December.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries fell and the U.S. dollar added slightly to gains immediately after the release of the data. U.S. stock index futures were trading lower.

Productivity rises

Last month, auto sales rose 0.2 percent after edging up 0.1 percent in June. Sales at clothing stores rebounded 1.3 percent after declining 1.6 percent in June. Receipts at service stations increased 0.8 percent.

Online and mail-order retail sales increased 0.8 percent, likely boosted by Amazon.com Inc’s “Prime Day” promotion. That followed a 0.7 percent rise in June. Americans

spent more at restaurants and bars, lifting sales 1.3 percent.

But receipts at furniture stores fell 0.5 percent and sales at building material stores were unchanged last month. Spending at hobby, musical instrument and book stores declined further in July, falling 1.7 percent.

In a separate report on Wednesday, the Labor Department said nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, rose at a 2.9 percent annualized rate in the April-June quarter.

That was the strongest rate since the first quarter of 2015.

Data for the first quarter was revised lower to show productivity increasing at a 0.3 percent pace instead of the previously reported 0.4 percent rate. Economists had forecast productivity growing at a 2.3 percent rate in the second increased at a rate of 1.3 percent.

The government also revised data going back to 1947, which did not materially change the picture of lackluster productivity growth, though unit labor costs were stronger than previously estimated in 2017 because of upward revisions to hourly compensation.

The annual rate of productivity growth from 2007 to 2017 was revised up 0.1 percentage point to a rate of 1.3 percent.

Unit labor costs, the price of labor per single unit of output, fell at a 0.9 percent pace in the second quarter. That was the weakest pace since the third quarter of 2014.

First-quarter growth in unit labor costs was revised up to a 3.4 percent rate from the previously reported 2.9 percent pace.

Labor costs increased at a 1.9 percent rate compared to the second quarter of 2017, pointing to moderate wage inflation.

 

One American university is putting electronic voice-controlled assistants in every student housing room on campus.

Saint Louis University recently announced it will equip every student living space with Amazon’s Alexa system. The school in St. Louis, Missouri, will place about 2,300 Echo Dot “smart” devices in all student dorms and other university housing.

Officials said the university will be the first in the world to put the devices in every student living space. The devices and the Alexa service are being provided at no costs to students.

The Amazon Echo is a speaker with the ability to listen and “talk” to users and can perform some operations. The Alexa assistant competes with similar systems made by Google and Apple.

Devices linked to the systems have become increasingly popular in homes in recent years. They can be used for things like looking up information, playing music, ordering food or buying things on the internet. The devices can also complete actions in the home. These include turning lights on and off, and controlling systems for heating and cooling and security.

Amazon calls these different tasks Alexa can perform “skills.”

Amazon said in a website post that Saint Louis University chose the Alexa system after carrying out a test program. The program involved the Echo Dot and a device from a competing company. It said the students had a better reaction to the Alexa system.

The Echo Dots will include a special skill developed especially for Saint Louis University. It will provide information and answer questions about local school activities and campus life.

Next year, the university plans to add more personalized skills, such as providing information about classes and grades.

The university said it did not increase student tuition to pay for the project. Instead, officials said, it was financed through the school’s general fund, as well as partnerships with Amazon and n-Powered.  The company, based in Los Angeles, California, helped develop the parts of the system that are related to Saint Louis University.

David Hakanson is Saint Louis University’s vice president and chief information officer. In announcing the project, he said it will fit well with students who are “highly driven to achieve success in and out of the classroom.”

He added: “Every minute we can save our students from having to search for the information they need online is another minute that they can spend focused on what matters most: their education.”

While the devices are being placed in every university housing space, students do not have to use them. For those wishing not to take part, the school suggests students just remove the devices from their rooms and put them away in a safe place.

Other universities have also experimented with voice-controlled assistants in student living areas.

A year ago, Arizona State University announced a program that provided Echo Dot devices to a special housing area for engineering students. In the program, all engineering students moving into the special housing community were given the choice of receiving an Echo Dot if they wanted one.

As is the case at Saint Louis University, Arizona State students are able to use the system to get the latest information on university programs and events. However, the Arizona students also have the chance to sign up for classes that teach subjects related specifically to creating new uses for Alexa devices.

Octavio Heredia is a director with Arizona State’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. He said he thinks it is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

“Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology – the hardware and the skills – into other projects,” he said.

У Києві почала роботу система громадського велопрокату Bike sharing, повідомляє Київська міська адміністрація на своєму сайті. Планується, що такий прокат буде коштувати 30 грн за півгодини, місячний абонемент – 199 гривень, а на сезон – за 599 гривень.

Щоб узяти велосипед в оренду потрібно скачати мобільний додаток Nextbike, зареєструватися в ньому та зчитати QR-код із велосипеда на парковці.

«Система велопрокату столиці спочатку буде розрахована на 33 велостанції. Їх розміщують у найбільш зручних місцях: біля станцій метро «Лук’янівська», на Оболонському проспекті біля станцій метро «Почайна», «Золоті ворота», «Арсенальна», «Оболонь», «Мінська», «Героїв Дніпра», «Лівобережна», «Харківська», «Позняки», «Осокорки», «Тараса Шевченка», «Контрактова площа» на Верхньому Валу біля Київського велотреку, на Софійській площі, Майдані Незалежності, Михайлівській площі, Контрактовій, Поштовій, вулиці Хрещатик (біля КМДА) та вулиці Архітектора Городецького, в парку імені Тараса Шевченка, на Райдужному масиві, Русанівській набережній та інших», – мовиться у повідомленні на сайті КМДА.

Поки що, зазначають в адміністрації, у проекті задіяно буде тільки 100 велосипедів, але до кінця наступного року за умови інвестицій цю кількість планують збільшити до 2 тисяч.

Також у КМДА обіцяють облаштувати 64 вулиці столиці таким чином, аби велосипедистам було комфортно ними пересуватися, а також створити три магістральних веломаршрути та встановити велопарковки біля комунальних закладів міста.

Як розповідають у КМДА, компанію «Nextbike», із якою міська влада впроваджує пілотний проект велопрокату, було засновано у 2004 році у Лейпцигу. Вона оперує системами громадського прокату велосипедів більше ніж у 150 містах, у 25 країнах світу.

How do you know if a piece of art is real or fake? Ask a scientist. At New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, chemistry, physics and geology are all playing a part in the detective work of determining whether a work of art is original or a forgery. Now teens are learning the tricks of that trade as well. Tina Trinh has more.

Національне агентство з питань запобігання корупції винесло припис міністру культури Євгенові Нищуку щодо генерального директора музею «Національний музей історії України у Другій світовій війні. Меморіальний комплекс» Івана Ковальчука. Про це йдеться у повідомленні на сайті відомства.

«Припис, внесений Євгену Нищуку стосується порушення вимог частини четвертої статті 28 ЗУ «Про запобігання корупції»: Міністерством культури України як органом, до повноважень якого належить звільнення з посади Генерального директора музею Івана Ковальчука, не вжито передбачених законодавством заходів щодо врегулювання потенційного конфлікту інтересів у його службовій діяльності, зумовленого спільною роботою зі своєю дружиною. Встановлено, що дружина Івана Ковальчука обіймає керівні посади з 1995 року та до сьогодні перебуває в прямому підпорядкуванні у свого чоловіка – Генерального директора музею», – зазначають у НАЗК.

Згідно з приписом, НАЗК вимагає усунути виявлені порушення, провести службове розслідування з метою виявлення причин і умов, що сприяли вчиненню правопорушень.

Припис Національного агентства є обов’язковим до виконання, за його невиконання передбачається адміністративна відповідальність.​

Закон зобов’язує державні органи перевіряти факт подання працівниками декларацій та повідомляти Національне агентство про випадки неподання чи несвоєчасного подання таких декларацій.

Згідно з законодавством, серед функцій Національного агентство з питань запобігання корупції є контроль та перевірка декларацій осіб, уповноважених на виконання функцій держави або місцевого самоврядування, зберігання та оприлюднення таких декларацій, проведення моніторингу способу життя цих людей.

 

До 2022 року Індія відправить свою першу пілотовану місію в космос, заявив прем’єр-міністр Нарендра Моді 15 серпня.

За його словами, Індія буде лише четвертою країною – після Росії, Сполучених Штатів та Китаю, – що запустить власну місію.

Посилюючи свою конкуренцію з Китаєм, Індія в останні десятиліття вклала великі кошти в космічну програму.

Планується також відправити безпілотну місію на Місяць в січні 2019 року, про що Індійська організація космічних досліджень оголосила минулого тижня. За її словами, науковці мають намір збирати таким чином дані та зразки з поверхні Місяця.

Індія також запустила в 2013 році апарат до Марса, який вийшов на орбіту 2014-го.

Turkey on Wednesday announced tariff hikes on a range of U.S. goods in the latest back-and-forth move amid a deteriorating relationship between the two countries.

The extra tariffs apply to imports of vehicles, alcohol, coal, rice and cosmetics.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter the increases were being done “within the framework of the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious economic attacks by the United States.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accusing the United States of waging a targeted economic war on his country, and on Tuesday he proposed a boycott of U.S. electronic goods.

“If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere. In our own country we have Vestel,” said Erdogan.

Asked how U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration would react to any such Turkish boycott, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied during Tuesday afternoon’s briefing, “I certainly don’t have a policy announcement on that at this point.” 

Trump administration sources say further sanctions against Turkey are under active consideration. But Sanders declined to say how the U.S. government plans to apply more pressure on Ankara, which repeatedly has ignored calls from Trump and others to free Christian pastor Andrew Brunson. 

Turkey accuses Brunson of espionage and is holding him under house arrest pending his trial. 

The chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Turkey, Jeffrey Hovenier, visited Brunson on Tuesday and called for his case — and those of others detained in Turkey — to be resolved “without delay” and in a “fair and transparent manner.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton met at the White House on Monday with Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic, but the discussion reportedly did not result in any substantive progress.

Trump, who has called Brunson’s detention a “total disgrace,” last Friday doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum exports in order to increase pressure on Erdogan. 

Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Turkey’s ministers of Justice and Interior in response to the continued detention of the pastor, who has lived in the country for 20 years and heads an evangelical congregation of about two dozen people in the port city of Izmir. 

The escalating dispute between the two countries has exacerbated Turkey’s economic crisis, pushing the lira to record lows. The Turkish currency has lost about 40 percent of its value this year against the U.S. dollar.

Erdogan has called on Turks to exchange their dollars for lira in order to shore up the domestic currency.

In a joint statement Tuesday, Turkish business groups called on the government to institute tighter monetary policy in order to combat the currency crisis. They also said Turkey should work to resolve the situation with the United States diplomatically while also improving relations with another major trading partner, the European Union.

The Turkish central bank has pledged to take “all necessary measures” to stabilize the country’s economy to make sure the banks have all the money they need. But world stock traders were dismayed the bank did not raise interest rates, which is what many economists believe is necessary to ease the crisis.

The United States and Turkey also have diverging interests over Syria, which is enmeshed in a protracted civil war. 

The differences are drawing Turkey closer to Russia, they key adversary of NATO but a country supplying more than half of Turkey’s gas.

Turkey has agreed to buy S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia, an unprecedented move by a NATO member, which has raised objections from members of both parties of the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration. 

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, voiced support for Turkey during a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on Tuesday, stating both countries plan to switch from dollars to national currencies for their mutual trade.

“We view the policy of sanctions as unlawful and illegitimate, driven mostly by a desire to dominate everywhere and in everything, dictate policies and call shots in international affairs,” said Lavrov, predicting “such a policy can’t be a basis for normal dialogue and can’t last long.

Lavrov, alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, also declared, “We are at a turning point, without exaggeration, in world history” from dominance by a single power toward a multipolar environment. 

Cuba’s government said it provided free internet to the Communist-run island’s more than 5 million cellphone users on Tuesday, in an eight-hour test before it launches sales of the service.

Cuba is one of the Western Hemisphere’s least connected countries. State-run telecommunications monopoly ETECSA announced the trial, with Tuesday marking the first time internet services were available nationwide.

There are hundreds of WiFi hotspots in Cuba but virtually no home penetration.

Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, considered the country’s social media pioneer, raved that she had directly sent a tweet from her mobile. In another tweet, she called the test a “citizen’s victory.”

On the streets of Havana, mobile users said they were happy about the day of free internet, even as some complained that connectivity was notably slower than usual.

“This is marvelous news because we can talk with family abroad without going to specific WiFi spots, there is more intimacy,” said taxi driver Andres Peraza.

Forty percent of Cubans have relatives living abroad.

Leinier Valdez, one of a group of young people trying to connect, said, “this is great. Its better and more so when you can connect for free.”

Hotspots currently charge about $1 an hour although monthly wages in Cuba average just $30.

The government has not yet said how much most Cubans would pay for mobile internet, or when exactly sales of the service will begin. But ETECSA is already charging companies and embassies $45 a month for four gigabytes.

Analysts have said broader Web access will ultimately weaken government control over what information reaches people in a country where the state has a monopoly on the media.

Whether because of a lack of cash, a long-running U.S. trade embargo or concerns about the flow of information, Cuba has lagged far behind most countries in Web access. Until 2013, internet was largely only available to the public at tourist hotels on the island.

But the government has since made boosting connectivity a priority, introducing cybercafes and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots and slowly starting to hook up homes to the Web.

Long before he took office from Raul Castro in April, 58-year-old President Miguel Diaz-Canel championed the cause.

“We need to be able to put the content of the revolution online,” he told parliament in July, adding that Cubans could thus “counter the avalanche of pseudo-cultural, banal and vulgar content” on the internet.

 

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