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Question of the Day
China, Taiwan to sign landmark trade pact
BEIJING | Longtime rivals China and Taiwan were set to sign a broad trade pact Tuesday to draw their economies closer, which Beijing hopes could lead to a political accommodation six decades after they split amid civil war.
For its part, Taiwan hopes better terms of trade under the pact will keep the island from being economically marginalized as China’s global clout grows. Beijing is granting Taiwanese products quick tariff reductions to show the benefits of closer ties.
The pact will do away with tariffs on hundreds of products traded across the strait and allow Taiwanese firms access to 11 service sectors on the mainland, including banking, accounting, insurance and hospitals. It should boost bilateral trade already totaling about $110 billion a year: some $80 billion in goods flowing to China, and $30 billion to Taiwan.
Iran: No nuke talks for two months
TEHRAN | Iran will not hold talks with the West over its nuclear program until late August to “punish” world powers for imposing tougher sanctions against the country, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday.
He also vowed that Iran will retaliate should its ships be searched over suspicions that the cargo may violate the new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.
“We call this bad behavior,” the president said at a news conference, adding that talks on the issue would be postponed until the end of the Iranian month of Mordad, which would be about Aug. 20. “This is a fine to punish them a bit so that they learn the custom of dialogue with our nation.”
The Iranian leader also set three conditions for an eventual resumption of talks, saying countries should make clear whether they support Israel’s atomic arsenal, the Nonproliferation Treaty and friendship with Iran.
Regime imposes new media controls
SUVA | Fiji’s leading newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has three months to change its ownership structure so 90 percent of its shareholders are Fijian citizens or it will be forced to close, the military-led regime said Monday.
Armed forces chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama launched a media crackdown after seizing power in a December 2006 coup. Foreign reporters and media managers have been expelled, and dozens of local journalists arrested and interrogated. Military censors operate in newsrooms on a daily basis.
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