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US, China Trade Threats Escalate

Trump threatens China with new $100 billion tariff plan. CNN: “President Donald Trump ratcheted up the trade war rhetoric with China on Thursday evening, saying he was considering another wave of steep tariffs on the country’s exports to the United States. ‘In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the [United States Trade Representative] to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate,’ the president said in a statement. Earlier this week, the United States announced new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, claiming that China is stealing US intellectual property. China responded within hours by announcing $50 billion worth of tariffs on US goods. The moves follow US tariffs that were imposed earlier this year on Chinese steel and aluminum, which also prompted retaliatory measures from China. Trump’s announcement late Thursday that his administration could target another $100 billion of Chinese goods rattled markets and drew criticism from businesses and from within his own party. The Chinese government responded by reiterating that it doesn’t want ‘to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting it.'”

Trade Talk Alienates Allies

How Trump risked a trade war with China and alienated U.S. allies in less than 30 days. WaPo: “Despite warnings from key allies, members of his own party and economic experts, President Trump further escalated his tariffs confrontation with China by ordering ordered his chief trade negotiator to consider imposing tariffs on an additional $100 billion of products. China, in return, said it didn’t want a trade war, but was ready to fight Trump’s policies ‘at any cost.’ While the U.S. move late Thursday may not lead to a full-blown trade war, the tit-for-tat has raised the stakes of a conflict that is worrying Europe, Japan and American business leaders alike. While Trump argues that his tariffs plan was necessary to rein in China’s trade practices, his critics blame the president for risking a trade confrontation that could easily get out of hand.”

Jobs Growth Slows In March

Job growth slows to a six-month low in March. Yahoo: “The March jobs report is out and it’s a miss. In March, the economy added 103,000 jobs while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% for the sixth-straight month, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists had expected the report to show 185,000 jobs were created in March while the unemployment rate was expected to fall to 4%, according to estimates from Bloomberg. March’s report is also a big slowdown from the 313,000 jobs created in February and represented the fewest jobs created in six months. Job growth in January was revised down slightly to show a gain of 176,000 jobs to start the year while February’s data were revised slightly higher, with 326,000 jobs now estimated to have been created in the year’s second month. After Friday’s numbers average jobs gains over the last three months now stand at 202,000.”

Trump Wants Thousands Of Troops At Mexico Border

Trump veers off script on immigration. USA Today: “After making dubious claims about immigration and voter fraud during a tax cut event in West Virginia, President Trump said Thursday he would like to see 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops deployed along the Mexican border for an indefinite length of time. ‘Anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000,’ Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, adding that ‘we’ll probably keep them or a large portion of them’ in place until an anti-migration wall is built on the border. There is no timetable for the wall; Trump spoke a day after he signed a proclamation authorizing his administration to work with border state governors on the details of a National Guard deployment. Critics, pointing out that illegal border crossings are down, called the proposed deployment an unnecessary waste of resources. “Putting National Guard troops on the border has proven to be very costly and only takes them away from other pressing needs,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.”

EPA Officials Who Question Pruitt Sidelined

EPA officials sidelined after questioning Scott Pruitt. NYT: “At least five officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, four of them high-ranking, were reassigned or demoted, or requested new jobs in the past year after they raised concerns about the spending and management of the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt. The concerns included unusually large spending on office furniture and first-class travel, as well as certain demands by Mr. Pruitt for security coverage, such as requests for a bulletproof vehicle and an expanded 20-person protective detail, according to people who worked for or with the E.P.A. and have direct knowledge of the situation. Mr. Pruitt bristled when the officials — four career E.P.A. employees and one Trump administration political appointee — confronted him, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly.”

HUD Neglects, Then Forces Out Illinois Residents

Scramble for housing in southern Illinois has exposed mixed messages and false hope. ProPublica: “For years, residents of public housing complexes here were stuck living in aging and neglected buildings with inoperable heat, leaky ceilings, broken windows, mold, mice, roaches, and frequently clogged toilets and sinks. And for years, federal authorities failed to step in despite regular financial reviews and building inspections that should have flagged problems and prompted corrective action much sooner. But the solution once the Department of Housing and Urban Development finally faced the scope of the decay in Illinois’ most southern city has turned out to be every bit as thorny and painful.”

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