President Biden has still to grasp that Taiwan is far more important than Ukraine to the future of American power in the world. Yet the likelihood is growing that, on Biden’s watch, Chinese President Xi Jinping will move on Taiwan, just as Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

In a forewarning of that, China has recently started claiming that it owns the critical international waterway, the Taiwan Strait. Just as it did earlier in the South China Sea – the strategic corridor between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, through which one-third of global maritime trade passes – Xi’s regime is seeking to advance its expansionism by laying an expansive claim to the Taiwan Strait, which, by connecting the South and East China Seas, serves as an important passage for commercial shipping as well as foreign naval vessels.

The defense of Taiwan has assumed greater significance for international security because three successive U.S. administrations have failed to credibly push back against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, relying instead on rhetoric or symbolic actions.

Take It To The Limit— DeSantis’ name is showing up in television ads, and mailers and name-checked at every opportunity. Former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, who resigned from her post and then mounted a campaign for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, had pictures of her with the governor in her first television ad. The ad starts out by saying “for Congress, there’s just one candidate trusted by Gov. DeSantis to secure our elections: Laurel Lee.”

Peaceful Easy Feeling— When asked about it, Lee said “it’s part of everyone’s pitch to voters, but in my case it isn’t fiction.”

Take It Easy — Here’s your reminder, however, that DeSantis — who has endorsed 29 school board candidates across the state and made his opinion clear in many key legislative races — has not yet endorsed any Republicans running in several newly created and open congressional seats. He obviously has a keen interest in the outcome since it was DeSantis who pushed for the party to hold congressional debates and even helped with the questions in a couple of them.

 

The Long Run— So far, only one campaign has gotten called out. The governor’s reelection campaign sent a letter to the head of a political committee supporting a Miami-Dade School Board member and complained that a “false representation” had been created in a mailer that DeSantis had endorsed Marta Perez. The governor had already endorsed Perez’s opponent. The DeSantis campaign, in response to several questions from POLITICO, said that “voters shouldn’t be subjected to deceitful tactics that create a faux appearance of an endorsement.” Meanwhile, GOP voters may need to read the fine print ahead of the primary.

Biden, rather than working to deter and thwart a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan, is seeking to shield his tentative rapprochement with China, which has been forged through a series of virtual meetings with Xi and by offering Beijing important concessions. This explains why Biden publicly pushed back against a Taiwan visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

It is important to remember that, much before Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden had begun to ease pressure on China. He effectively let Xi’s regime off the hook for both covering up COVID-19’s origins and failing to meet its commitments under the 2020 “phase one” trade deal with Washington. Biden also dropped fraud charges against the daughter of the founder of the military-linked Chinese tech giant Huawei. U.S. sanctions over China’s Muslim gulag remain essentially symbolic.

And now Biden is planning to roll back tariffs on Chinese goods, which will further fuel China’s spiraling trade surplus with America. After swelling by more than 25 percent last year to $396.6 billion, the trade surplus with the U.S. now makes up almost three-quarters of China’s total global surplus. 

The McKinney Fire, which started in the northern Siskiyou county on Friday, has already burnt 21,000 hectares (52,500 acres), the state’s fire service said.

At least 2,000 residents as well as trekkers on the Pacific Crest hiking trail have left the area. An unknown number of homes have been destroyed.

It was still 0% contained on Monday morning, the fire service reported.

McKinney Fire is burning in the Klamath National Forest, near the border with Oregon. Some 650 firefighters are battling the flames in punishing heat, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A red flag warning indicating the threat of dangerous fire conditions is in place, as California suffers from persistent drought conditions.

A state of emergency was declared in Siskiyou county on Saturday, after homes were destroyed and infrastructure was threatened, state governor Gavin Newsom said.

The fire was “intensified and spread by dry fuels, extreme drought conditions, high temperatures, winds and lightning storms”, he added.

Several communities are being threatened, including Yreka and Fort Jones, the US Forest Service said.

‘I just saw it explode’

Artist, Harlene Althea Schwander had only moved into her new home near the fire’s starting point a month ago, and had not yet unpacked everything. It’s now all gone, she told Reuters news agency.

“Three generations of beautiful things, all of my paintings… they’re all gone, and I’m very sad,” she said.

“When I saw it coming over from the community centre, and I just saw it explode in the dark. I knew the house was gone because I knew right where it was. And the fire department came and told me, ‘just leave now,'” she said.

Nikola, a maker of battery- and hydrogen-powered trucks, is acquiring battery supplier Romeo Power in an all-stock deal worth $144 million that it says will ensure stable access to lithium-ion packs as it ramps up electric semi production.

There was one piece of good news however – Ms Schwander’s daughter-in-law had grabbed her jewellery before they fled.

when, in a bold challenge to industry orthodoxy, one of the world’s biggest food delivery apps announced it didn’t need to rely on gig workers—people who are paid per job and typically receive no benefits like pensions or sick pay—to make its business work. European executives at Grubhub parent company Just Eat Takeaway reveled in being the first major delivery platforms to use employees as couriers. “This is our key point of differentiation,” said Méleyne Rabot, the managing director of Just Eat France. “We are just focused on doing what we believe is right as an organization,” said her UK counterpart, Andrew Kenny. “For us, that is providing couriers with as many benefits and protections as we can.” When Just Eat CEO Jitse Groen got into a Twitter spat with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, he delivered the retort: Pay your workers minimum wage.

Last week, the second quarter earnings season had its busiest week, with 173 S&P 500 companies reporting. The S&P 500 rose almost 4.3% for the week, with earnings supporting stocks. The rapid pace of the second-quarter earnings reports continues this week, with 155 S&P 500 scheduled to release earnings. 56% of S&P 500 companies have reported results so far, with the percentage of companies exceeding consensus earnings and sales estimates improving to 73% and 66%, respectively.

Despite that, Just Eat is now attempting to U-turn on previous promises. Just Eat couriers based across France received an email on July 18 outlining a coming company restructure, which would mean that riders’ status as employees would change. “Just Eat Takeaway has been a major advocate of the salaried delivery model in continental Europe and France. However, we cannot continue to do it alone,” the email read, blaming regulators for not forcing its competitors to stop using gig workers. Riders in Paris can still expect to be paid per hour, but local unions say around 350 couriers working in 26 other French cities, from Lyon to Nantes and Marseille, risk losing their jobs.

The self-propelled feeding systems are advanced and flexible solutions for the automatic feeding of livestock animals. The growing popularity of self-propelled feeding systems in Asia Pacific, mainly in countries such as Japan, China, Australia, and India, is expected to propel the growth of these systems during the forecast period.

For almost two decades, Bout became the world’s most notorious arms dealer, selling weaponry to rogue states, rebel groups and murderous warlords in Africa, Asia and South America.

His notoriety was such that his life helped inspire a Hollywood film, 2005’s Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage as Yuri Orlov, an arms dealer loosely based on Bout.

Even so, Bout’s origins remained shrouded in mystery. Biographies generally agree that he was born in 1967 in Dushanbe, then the capital of Soviet Tajikistan, close to the border with Afghanistan.

Poultry to witness a greater demand for feeding systems in the coming years

The poultry industry witnesses the largest and the fastest growth in terms of animal production. According to an article by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) 2021, globally, poultry meat is expected to represent 41% of all the protein from meat sources in 2030, which is expected to drive the global consumption of poultry products. Poultry meat production is one of the primary drivers of the feeding systems market. Manufacturers are increasingly directing their investments toward the development of innovative feeding system technologies for the production of various forms of high-quality poultry feed. The various types of systems that are now being used for poultry farms include automatic pan feeders, chain feeders, and round & hanging tube feeders.

French unions say this is an existential moment for the global gig economy, and for the future of platform workers everywhere. If Just Eat is able to backtrack on its commitments in France, they say, it would send a message to other delivery platforms that employing people and giving them benefits doesn’t make financial sense. “That’s one of the reasons we can’t just let Just Eat fire us like this,” says Ludo Rioux, a Just Eat courier in Lyon and a representative for the French union the General Confederation of Labor (CGT).

oards of Phoenix-based Nikola and Romeo agreed to an offer of $0.74 per share, a 34% premium to Romeo’s July 29 closing price, Nikola CEO Mark Russell tells Forbes. Nikola will also provide Romeo with $35 million of funding to stabilize its operations until the deal closes —$15 million in senior secured notes and a battery pack delivery bonus worth up to $20 million. The deal still needs approval from shareholders and is expected to close later this year.

Nikola is Romeo’s main customer so “part of this is defensive, to make sure nothing disruptive happens here,” Russell said. “But the real motivation is strategic: we’re taking control of our battery destiny and bringing this in-house.”

Battery supplies are a priority for truck- and automakers pivoting from environmentally unfriendly fuels to electric propulsion amid a worsening climate crisis. The Biden Administration has already announced loan and grant programs intended to spur domestic battery production. Meanwhile, new energy legislation making its way through the Senate could provide significantly more federal funds to aid production of electric and hydrogen vehicles and incentives for consumers and commercial fleet operators to buy them.

“This will have a big impact, and we think that other delivery platforms [such as Gorillas and Getir] will follow Just Eat and turn to self-employed workers,” says Jérémy Graça, a Just Eat courier in Paris and representative of the union Workers’ Force. As the economy slides towards a recession, these unions are fighting to prevent a gig workers’ rights rollback.

Kosovo’s government on Monday began issuing extra documents to Serbian citizens crossing into its territory, as Serbs living in the north of the country who oppose the decision blockaded roads leading to two border crossings.

Fourteen years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, some 50,000 Serbs in the north still use license plates and documents issued by Serbian authorities, refusing to recognize the Pristina government and its institutions.
Following tensions on Sunday and consultations with US and EU ambassadors, the government said it would postpone until September 1 a decision giving local Serbs 60 days to switch to Kosovo license plates and requiring extra documents to be issued at the border to Serbian citizens, including those living in Kosovo without local documents.

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