Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s bluster on “historic tax reform” and $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, his visions still remain short on specifics, while the Congress appears headed to an epic clash over a contentious corporate tax plan.
American stocks surged in euphoria after Trump said Feb. 9 that he would announce something “over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax.” Yet his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, his first, contained nothing but generalities — a far cry from the promised “phenomenal” plan.
During the campaign, Trump called for cutting the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have drawn up a proposal of their own that would introduce a 20% border adjustment tax to fund a corporate tax rate cut to 20%. This plan would impose no taxes on exports but would bar companies from deducting import-related costs from taxable income.
Trump has not taken a clear stand on the border adjustment tax, and Tuesday’s address only alluded to the issue. “When we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes,” he said. “But when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them nothing, or almost nothing.” Read More
With little active US presence in the region (see latest naval map below), on Sunday Iran launched a massive naval drill at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said even as tensions with the United States continue to build after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice”.
Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, quoted by Reuters. Today’s drill marks the last phase of war games that started in 2016, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. The exercise, codenamed ‘Velayat 95’, kicked off in Iran’s south following an order from Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
Apart from the main drills, Iran’s Navy commando units are conducting special operations in the southeastern Makran region. Last June, Sayyari said that Tehran was planning to carry out 20 military drills before March 2017. Iranian officials insist that the war games do not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 signed in January of 2016.
The UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has been found to be in full compliance with the nuclear deal, but the report comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Earlier this month, then-US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said that “Iran had been put formally on notice” after Tehran fired a ballistic missile. Later in February, President Trump tweeted that “Iran is playing with fire,” promising that he won’t be as “kind as [former President] Obama” and warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.
In response, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blasted the US, saying Tehran remains “unmoved” by threats, but will use weapons “only in self-defense.” Last month, a US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian military ships that were allegedly approaching them at high speed near the Strait of Hormuz.
The latest US naval deployment shows that while the South China Sea has been a recent focus of the US navy, the only US ship in the region is the LHD 8 Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, although the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is currently headed for the region.
In the less than two weeks since his inauguration, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a series of controversial actions that have rocked the world.
But he has not yet offered any clue about his real intentions regarding the so-called One China policy, which is a matter of great concern to East Asia.
Trump indicated his willingness to reconsider this long-established principle, which, simply put, means Taiwan cannot become an independent nation.
If the U.S. abandons its commitment to this principle, it would be a historic policy shift that could violently shake East Asia’s security architecture and the structure of economic relations among countries in the region.
On Jan. 23, the online Japanese-language version of South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper carried an intriguing article on the issue written by one of its columnists.
In the article, titled “Trump: ‘How about Three Chinas?'” the author, quoting a source who has contacts within Trump’s inner circle, said Trump, after being elected, asked former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger whether he should maintain the “One China” policy. Kissinger reportedly floated the idea of three Chinas instead of two.
It’s finally over: Donald Trump has secured 304 Electoral Votes following the Texas vote (with 2 faithless electors), officially securing the presidency of the United States. Of course, the now official President-Elect Trump took to twitter to confirm the victory:
We did it! Thank you to all of my great supporters, we just officially won the election (despite all of the distorted and inaccurate media).
Texas’ 36 electoral votes for Trump pushed him over the edge at around 4:30 Central Time, even though two rogue electors’ defections deprived Trump of one of those votes. That gave Trump 304 total electoral votes.
A quick recap of the day’s events from the WSJ:
Members of the Electoral College meeting in state capitals across the country on Monday confirmed President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, ending a last-ditch campaign to deny him the presidency. Mr. Trump amassed at least 270 electoral votes on Monday afternoon—enough to officially become the president-elect over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, according to a tally of votes by the Associated Press.
Typically just a formality, this year’s Electoral College vote attracted an outsize amount of attention after a group of mostly Democratic electors made a late push to block Mr. Trump’s path to the White House. They argued the Electoral College had a constitutional duty to act independently of the will of the voters in extraordinary circumstances. Protesters gathered in several state capitols across the country to encourage electors to reject Mr. Trump.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed lower Friday for a ninth straight day, marking its longest losing streak in 36 years, as uncertainty and angst related to Tuesday’s tough-to-call presidential election overshadowed a government report showing continued steady job growth.
At the close, the index was down 3.48 points, or 0.2%, to 2085.18. The last time it fell nine straight days was in December 1980, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, when Republican Ronald Reagan was celebrating his presidential election win over Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.39 points, or 0.2%, to 17,888.28. The Nasdaq composite declined 12.04 points, 0.2%, to 5046.37.
If stocks fall Monday, it would mark a 10th day of losses for the S&P 500, a streak last seen in the summer of 1975, according to Silverblatt. If election angst drags on beyond Election Day the S&P 500 will be in danger of eclipsing its longest losing streak of all time: a 12-day swoon back in April 1966 — or 50 years ago.
Stocks have been dragged down amid signs the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is narrowing, which is creating major uncertainty and making investors jittery. Wall Street had been pricing in a Clinton win, but as polls have narrowed following Clinton’s lastest email scandal, investors have opted to hedge against the possibility of a Trump surprise win.
Still the market’s nine-day swoon has only added up to a loss of 3.07%, which is modest, notes Silverblatt, noting that the S&PP 500 has lost more than that amount on a single day 298 times.
In a stunningly brazen move, Donald Trump met publicly Sunday night with several women who have accused Bill Clinton of unwanted sexual advances and even rape, shortly before the Republican presidential nominee was stepping on the debate stage with the former president’s wife, Hillary Clinton.
Bill Clinton never faced any criminal charges in relation to the allegations, and a lawsuit over an alleged rape was dismissed. He did settle a lawsuit with one of the women who claimed harassment.
The Trump pre-debate event was the clearest sign yet that he planned to use the former president’s sexual history to try to distract from the swirling controversy over his own predatory remarks about women. Trump is under enormous pressure from the Republican Party after the release of a 2005 video in which the businessman can be heard saying his fame allows him to “do anything” to women.
Jennifer Palmieri, Hillary Clinton’s communications director, said she wasn’t surprised to see Trump “continue his destructive race to the bottom.” She said the Democratic nominee was “prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way” on the debate stage.
Trump refused to answer questions from reporters about his own aggressive sexual remarks about women during the meeting in a hotel conference room with Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey. Kathy Shelton, a fourth woman who appeared with Trump, was a 12-year-old Arkansas sexual assault victim whose alleged assailant was defended by Hillary Clinton.
Brazil’s Supreme Court President Ricardo Lewandowski had held consultations with senators and was ready to schedule the special session for the vote on 11 a.m. local time (14:00 GMT), the Globo news portal reported on Tuesday.
The portal added that if 54 senators voted for the impeachment, Rousseff would be removed from office, otherwise the impeachment would be terminated and she would resume the presidency. In May, the upper house of the Brazilian parliament voted 55-22 to start impeachment proceedings against Rousseff after she was accused of concealing the country’s budget deficit ahead of the 2014 election. Rousseff regards the impeachment proceedings as an illegal coup attempt. Rousseff has been suspended from office for 180 days. Vice President Michel Temer has being fulfilling the functions of the presidency during that period.