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Zelensky wants China at Ukraine peace talks, cites ‘influence on Russia’ | CNN
  • Well said. One thing I'd add is that it wasn't only Putin going all in, but Xi's own strategic impatience. China needed at least another generation to grow into its strengths as a world power, but Xi had, for various reasons, convinced himself that he, not his successors, would be the one to see it all through. By finishing the job Mao had started, Xi would be the one lauded by history as the one inheriting Mao's mantle.

    Xi likes to wax poetic about geostrategic "changes not seen in a century". Ironically, his own ego and hamfistedness has given the West a once in a century opportunity to kneecap China and prevent it from consolidating into a true world power.

  • Zelensky wants China at Ukraine peace talks, cites ‘influence on Russia’ | CNN
  • What's interesting is that before the war, China and Ukraine had excellent relations, to the point where Russia was worried about Chinese influence in Ukraine. There's some remnant of these ties, like how China has never recognised Russia's annexations of Ukrainian territory.

    But the thing is, China's overwhelming interest at this point is for Russia not to lose. A Russian humiliation at the hands of the West -- or worse still a Russian collapse leading to a reduced state that could be dominated by the West -- would leave China geopolitically isolated, and give the US the freedom to squeeze China with no further distractions.

    At the end of the day, Xi Jinping has blundered his way into a strategic cul-de-sac. The Russia-Ukraine war is a geopolitical disaster for China, and Xi's dumb bromance with Putin was a key reason it happened. Strategically, he's the worst Chinese leader in at least a century.

  • France imposes state of emergency in New Caledonia as unrest continues

    Always weird to me how France is so insistent on clinging to its colonial empire, two decades into the 21st century, despite the headaches that causes.

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    Biden's new China tariff wall faces leakage via Mexico, Vietnam | Reuters
  • There are rules concerning how to determine the country of origin, involving how much value is added at each step. Final assembly doesn't make the cut if the amount of work is too trivial. (The rules can be gamed somewhat but I'm sure the Biden administration will be putting this under a microscope.)

    What is more problematic for Biden is that Chinese EV companies are building whole factories and supply chains in Mexico, so the product will be unambiguously Mexican and allowed to enter the US under the USMCA. If the US government feels strongly enough about keeping Chinese firms out simply on the basis of being Chinese, they will probably resort to threatening Mexico to strongarm them into shutting down those factories. The US has a long history of running roughshod over Mexico, so this seems pretty likely to me.

  • China Isn’t Scared Of Biden’s Big Bad EV Tariffs
  • The US closing off its market was totally predictable and has been priced in. You'll notice that no Chinese EV makers made any plans to export directly into the US, even as they were selling around the world.

    The US market is significant, sure, but the US car industry could easily end up where its shipbuilding industry is: hanging around thanks to government protection, catering to the domestic market, but a bit of a joke by global standards.

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • The idea of prices going up and down by the same amount is based on an equilibrium situation. This isn't ruled out; it could very well be that the high profits of grocery companies is transient (or "transitory" as they say). But in the short run, prices don't move in lockstep.

    Aside from market power or collusion, there are other reasons prices could shift more quickly for some sectors than others (even as all prices are going upward). For example, does the industry rely on long term contracts or short term contracts? Is inflation hedging widely available for the goods and services in question? Is the activity more or less sensitive to interest rates?

    But these are questions about relative prices. Instead of playing a game of whack a mole, better not to set off inflation in the first place.

  • Europe eyes car chips as next battleground with China
  • There's irony here. Europe went along with the US push to block Chinese access to semiconductors. China turns to domestic chip manufacturing, and the obvious first step is to get into mature nodes, the segment of the semiconductor industry where European firms have been successful. European Commission: shocked Pikachu face.

  • Biden hikes tariffs on Chinese EVs, solar cells, steel, aluminum
    apnews.com Biden hikes tariffs on Chinese EVs, solar cells, steel, aluminum — and snipes at Trump

    Biden administration is announcing plans to slap new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, advanced batteries, solar cells, steel, aluminum and medical equipment.

    Biden hikes tariffs on Chinese EVs, solar cells, steel, aluminum — and snipes at Trump

    Climate change and inflation are both important, so we're going to make it as expensive as possible to switch away from fossil fuels.

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    Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • When an economy undergoes inflation, not all prices rise by the same amount. That's one of the reasons high inflation can be so disruptive. For example, wages (the price of labor) often rise some time after other prices, to the detriment of some wage earners.

    It's pretty believable that grocery store chains have acquired enough market power that they're able to pass on all their cost increases to customers, and more, thereby increasing their profit rate. But the fact that individual companies and sectors are well placed to cope with inflation doesn't explain the economy-wide and world-wide inflation.

    We can also look at the "companies have market power" explanation using the overall labour share, which measures how much income is going to labor vs capital, economy wide. It doesn't seem to have shifted much during the recent bout of inflation. But again, individual wage earners have seen huge disparities, including some who have been made much worse off by the inflation.

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • No, interest rate hikes significantly postdated the inflation. Fed started hiking in March 2022, and by that time annualized CPI inflation rate had reached 8 percent. Average over 2021 was 4.7 percent. In any case, interest rates increases are to combat inflation, they are not a cause of inflation

    Moreover, wages did go up. US median personal income went from $35.8k in 2020 to $40.5k in 2022. Maybe it didn't go up as much as other prices, but there's nothing that says all prices have to rise by exactly the same amount during an inflationary episode.

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • So companies in all markets in all countries attained this market concentration at the same time, triggering this? And it just happened to coincide with a big expansion in the money supply, but the expansion in money supply had nothing to do with the inflation?

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • So your story is that when all other prices happen to go up, lots of greedy companies conspire to up their prices. But why do the initial prices start going up to kick this off? Cosmic coincidence? Or is it conspiracy embedded in conspiracy?

    In macroeconomics, the motivations of individual firms don't matter, or at least we just assume all firm behave as self-interestedly as they can get away with. This was as true in the 2010s, when inflation was low, as today when inflation is high. What matters are things like fiscal policy, monetary policy, inflation expectations, etc. Not how greedy companies are -- we can assume they always are greedy.

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • Left to their own devices, companies want to raise prices and always have. You need a way to explain why they didn't hike prices in the 2010s, when they were presumably just as greedy as they are now.

    Put another way, inflation is about the loss of value of money itself, not individual prices going up. That's a matter of macroeconomics: government spending, money supply, trade, etc.

  • Russian forces push deeper into northern Ukraine
  • From what I've read, this is mainly a distraction. Russia hasn't committed enough troops for a serious invasion of Kharkiv oblast; their objectives is to tie up Ukraine's reserves and keep them away from the fighting in the east.

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • Inflation is a macroeconomic phenomenon. It's silly to attack grocery stores for an economy-wide rise in the price level. As if Walmart wasn't greedy during the 2010s when inflation was quiescent, and suddenly became greedy now, just because.

    What actually caused inflation was the big spending by both Trump and Biden, not funded by tax increases. The US federal budget deficit is now over 6 percent of GDP, and is projected to keep ramping up. And the Federal Reserve has been slow to raise interest rates to sterilize various federal spending increases, like the Covid spending packages and the Inflation Reduction Act. These are classic ingredients for inflation.

    So, plenty of blame to go around, but it's mostly in Washington, not individual companies here and there.

  • Democrats Ask Biden to Investigate Grocery Store Price-Fixing
  • They don't really want to investigate because much of the blame will boomerang onto them. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act they passed was strongly inflationary. It had a lot of good and important objectives, but the huge spending increases were not matched by an increase in taxation, resulting in inflation.

    So they're left clutching at straws, like complaining about greedy grocery stores (as though Walmart wasn't greedy during the 2010s when inflation was quiescent, and suddenly became greedy now).

  • www.natesilver.net Sonia Sotomayor's retirement is a political IQ test

    Are you into politics to win — or to feel good about yourself?

    Sonia Sotomayor's retirement is a political IQ test
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    Japan sorely needs separate surnames
    eastasiaforum.org Japan sorely needs separate surnames | East Asia Forum

    Japan should implement a legal framework for selective separate surnames as part of an initial stride towards gender equality.

    Japan sorely needs separate surnames | East Asia Forum
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    Almost anything regarding Singapore @lemmy.world cyd @lemmy.world
    RSAF will be conducting airdrops of humanitarian aid into Gaza
    www.channelnewsasia.com Singapore to deliver third tranche of humanitarian aid for Gaza

    An RSAF C-130 transport aircraft will stay on to conduct humanitarian airdrop operations staged out of Jordan.

    Singapore to deliver third tranche of humanitarian aid for Gaza
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    The twilight of US trade leadership
    eastasiaforum.org The twilight of US trade leadership | East Asia Forum

    The continued US retreat from global trade leadership since 2017 is enabling the ascent of China's state-capitalist model.

    The twilight of US trade leadership | East Asia Forum
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    Almost anything regarding Singapore @lemmy.world cyd @lemmy.world
    Foreign interference law invoked for the first time against naturalised Singaporean businessman
    www.straitstimes.com Foreign interference law invoked for the first time against naturalised S’porean businessman

    He is assessed to have shown susceptibility to being influenced by foreign actors. Read more at straitstimes.com.

    Foreign interference law invoked for the first time against naturalised S’porean businessman

    Guess which country is doing the alleged interference...

    "Mr Chan, the managing director of several real estate investment firms, was invited to attend China’s annual Two Sessions parliamentary meetings in March 2023 as an “overseas Chinese representative”."

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    Almost anything regarding Singapore @lemmy.world cyd @lemmy.world
    www.straitstimes.com S’pore congratulates Taiwan’s President-elect Lai Ching-te on his victory

    Singapore will continue to grow its relationship with Taiwan based on the "One China" policy, said the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Read more at straitstimes.com.

    S’pore congratulates Taiwan’s President-elect Lai Ching-te on his victory

    I'm somewhat surprised that Singapore chose to stick its neck out with a statement, since you-know-who won't like this...

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    www.economist.com What the journey of a pair of shoes reveals about capitalism

    And how Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, is changing

    What the journey of a pair of shoes reveals about capitalism

    This is a great article about how online shopping, logistics, and infrastructure are improving lives in Indonesia.

    For those without a sub: https://archive.is/KB9KK

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    China announced new laws to limit microtransactions, affecting major corporations like Tencent.

    These laws will ban rewards for spending money within a game for the first time, ban rewards for buying consecutive microtransactions, and ban rewards for daily log-ins.

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    Harvard President Claudine Gay to Submit 3 Additional Corrections, Corporation Says Improper Citations Fall Short of Research Misconduct
    www.thecrimson.com Harvard President Claudine Gay to Submit 3 Additional Corrections, Corporation Says Improper Citations Fall Short of Research Misconduct | News | The Harvard Crimson

    Harvard President Claudine Gay will request three corrections to her 1997 Ph.D. dissertation in the latest series of updates Gay has submitted amid mounting allegations of plagiarism against the University’s embattled leader.

    Harvard President Claudine Gay to Submit 3 Additional Corrections, Corporation Says Improper Citations Fall Short of Research Misconduct | News | The Harvard Crimson
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    Ancient humans painted scenes in Indonesian caves more than 45,000 years ago, but their art is disappearing rapidly.
    www.nature.com Humanity’s oldest art is flaking away. Can scientists save it?

    Ancient humans painted scenes in Indonesian caves more than 45,000 years ago, but their art is disappearing rapidly. Researchers are trying to discover what’s causing the damage and how to stop it — before the murals are gone forever.

    Humanity’s oldest art is flaking away. Can scientists save it?
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    US thwarted plot to kill Sikh separatist, issued warning to India
    www.aljazeera.com US thwarted plot to kill Sikh separatist, issued warning to India: Report

    Financial Times report comes two months after Canada alleged Indian agents were linked to another separatist’s murder.

    US thwarted plot to kill Sikh separatist, issued warning to India: Report
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    Lore-friendly playstyle/itemization for Shadowheart? (Acts 1 & 2)

    The Shar-worshipping crazy goth chick is a great character concept. Trouble is, the game seems to throw a lot of great light-related cleric spells and equipment at us, and all the alternatives seem to be bad. From an RP point of view, Shadowheart obviously shouldn't be wielding a light-emitting mace, wearing radiance armor, and shooting Faerie Fire and Guiding Bolt all over the place. But I can't find a lore-friendly playstyle that isn't substantially worse in fights.

    Some of the Shar-related equipment, and the Trickery domain subclass perks, seem to point to some sort of melee cleric build exploiting darkness. But the overall effect seems subpar; for starters, clerics can't cast Darkness, so another party member would need to supply that, which is clunky.

    Any suggestions?

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    www.nature.com Nature retracts controversial superconductivity paper by embattled physicist

    This is the third high-profile retraction for Ranga Dias. Researchers worry the controversy is damaging the field’s reputation.

    Nature retracts controversial superconductivity paper by embattled physicist
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    InitialsDiceBearhttps://github.com/dicebear/dicebearhttps://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/„Initials” (https://github.com/dicebear/dicebear) by „DiceBear”, licensed under „CC0 1.0” (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)CY
    cyd @lemmy.world
    Posts 46
    Comments 521