US China trade deal signing in week

White House’s trade adviser on Monday said the US-China Phase 1 trade deal would likely be signed in the next week, but said confirmation would come from President Donald Trump or the US Trade Representative.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, in an interview on Fox News, cited a report that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would visit this week to sign the deal, but did not confirm it.

“Washington has sent an invitation and Beijing has accepted it,” the South China Morning Post on Monday quoted a source as saying.

Representatives for the Office of the US Trade Representative and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report, which said the Chinese delegation was likely to stay in the United States until the middle of next week.

“Never believe reports on anonymous sources. Get it from President Trump or … US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer,” Navarro told Fox.

“We’ll probably have a signing on that within the next week or so — we’re just waiting for the translation,” he added.

Hopes for a US-China trade deal helped keep world stocks positive on Monday, although neither side has released many specific details of the agreement, and no text has been released yet.

Navarro said the deal would be made public “as quickly as possible,” and that he did no expect any snags to hold it up. “Basically you need to get it translated into the Chinese and double-checked so both versions match,” he added.

The 86-page agreement includes details on intellectual property, “a good start” on forced technology transfers and “some good language on currency manipulation,” Navarro said.

Trump first announced plans for the initial trade pact in October, and US and Chinese negotiators have spent weeks finalizing the so-called Phase 1 deal, which comes in lieu of the massive trade agreement that the world’s two largest economies had initially sought.

Lighthizer this month said representatives from both countries would sign the pact during the first week of January.

Last week, Trump told reporters he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would eventually have a signing ceremony for the agreement. Trump gave no further details, but said the deal was done and being translated.

Days earlier, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the deal was finished but was undergoing a technical review.


Iraqi protesters attacked the US embassy in Baghdad

Hundreds of Iraqis are attempting to storm the US Embassy in Baghdad following deadly airstrikes on Shia militia in Iraq.

Pentagon said it had targeted three locations of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia group in Iraq and two in Syria. The locations included weapons storage facilities and command and control locations the group had used to plan and execute attacks on coalition forces, it said.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the strikes were carried out by F-15 fighter jets.

Iraqi protesters have attacked the US embassy in Baghdad and tried to storm it

Hundreds of Iraqi mourners are trying to storm the US Embassy in Baghdad following deadly US airstrikes this week that killed 25 fighters from an Iran-backed Shia militia in Iraq.

The mourners held funerals for the killed in a Baghdad neighborhood, after which they marched on to the heavily fortified Green Zone on Tuesday and kept walking till they reached the sprawling US Embassy there.

AP journalists saw the crowd try to storm the embassy, shouting “Down, down USA!”

US military carried out air strikes on Sunday in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah militia group in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.

Iraqi security and militia sources said at least 25 militia fighters were killed and at least 55 wounded following three US air strikes.

At least four local Kataib Hezbollah commanders were among the dead, the sources said, adding that one of the strikes had targeted the militia group’s headquarters near the western Qaim district on the border with Syria.

 Iraq’s government warned on Monday that its relations with the United States were at risk after deadly American air strikes against a pro-Iran group sparked anger on the streets, with protesters torching US flags.

Baghdad said it would summon the US ambassador while Washington responded by accusing Iraqi authorities of having failed to “protect” US interests.

At least 25 fighters were killed in Sunday night’s attacks, which saw US planes hit several bases belonging to the Hezbollah Brigades, one of the most radical factions of Hashed al-Shaabi, a Tehran-backed Iraqi paramilitary coalition.

Media agencies


Hong Kong New Year’s Day March

Hong Kong protesters are to hold a mass demonstration to mark the first day of January.

Hong Kong Police to deploy thousands of officers ahead of mass New Year’s protests.

Hong Kong Police today accused activists in the pro-democracy movement of inciting minors to commit crimes. The claim comes two days before a planned New Year’s Day March that is expected to attract tens of thousands of participants.

Chief Police Spokesman Kwok Ka-chuen told reporters that the force was in close contact with the organizers of the 1st January event but would not tolerate threats to public safety.

He also said, young people had been motivated to commit criminal acts during the protests, including dropping objects from the upper stories of apartment buildings.

Children as young as 12 year-olds have been among the nearly 7,000 people arrested during the protests


Year 2019 was hottest in Russia

Year 2019 was hottest ever registered in Russia

@brusselstimesYear 2019 was the hottest ever registered in Russia, as climate change pushes global temperatures to record highs. Moscow’s average temperature for 2019 had hit 7.6 to 7.7 degrees Celsius, beating the previous record by 0.3 degrees.

Weather records have been kept since 1879 in Moscow and since 1891 in Russia as a whole. Global warming has sent temperatures rising around the world with the United Nations saying earlier this month that 2019 was on course to be one of the three hottest years on record.

Known for its notoriously harsh winters, Moscow has seen its warmest December in a century this year. The Russian capital, normally covered with a blanket of snow by mid-December, saw a largely snow-less and cloudy last month of the year. The city’s ski resorts were closed and spring buds were beginning to show on trees three or more months too early.


Russia, Ukraine finalize deal on gas

Russia and Ukraine have signed a five-year, $7 billion deal on the transit of Russian natural gas to Europe following intense negotiations ahead of a year-end deadline”

Moscow and Kiev yesterday signed a five-year agreement on the transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine. The deal finalized after months of difficult talks but just ahead of a looming New Year deadline. The current gas transit deal between the two ex-Soviet countries expires today. The ties between them have been shredded since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and supported a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Some 18 per cent of the European Union’s annual natural gas consumption comes from Russia via Ukraine. The current contract between Russia and Ukraine was signed following the last gas crisis which ended up disrupting European supplies in 2010.


Sydney prepare for NYE fireworks

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said city’s famous firework display is on and shall be as usual.

Cr Moore said the fireworks contribute $130 million towards the Australian economy

He added Million people are expected to line the harbour foreshore to ring in 2020.


Coldest day in more than a century

With days enlarging from 22 December more sunshine are likely to give relief from biting chilling cold in days with Lohri festival favorable weather sighted.

Cold wave further intensifies in North India

Cold wave has further intensified in North India.

BBC reports: Thick fog blanketed the city on Monday as the maximum day temperature dropped to 9.4C and pollution levels peaked.

Delhi started tracking temperatures in 1901 and the earlier record was set at 9.8C on 2 January 2013, according to the meteorological department.

Maximum day temperatures in large parts of the north dipped 10C below normal.

Delhi’s nearly 200 night shelters have been filling up as the city’s homeless seek refuge from the biting cold – the minimum temperature has remained between 1C and 3C over the past few days.BBC

In the National capital, maximum temperature dipped to 9.4 degrees Celsius yesterday making it the city’s coldest recorded December day since 1901. A thick blanket of fog enveloped the Delhi-NCR region, disrupting rail, road and air traffic in the region.

Thousands of people were stranded as flights and trains were delayed, diverted or cancelled with visibility dropping to zero metres in some places in the morning. Dense fog across the Gangetic belt, which hinders sun rays from reaching the ground and the continuous flow of icy northerly winds aggravated cold wave across the plains of north India.

Biting cold wave is sweeping Bihar for almost a week now. Official media reports that Gaya is the coldest place in the state where 2.4 degree celsius  temperature has been recorded .Severe cold day conditions have been witnessed at several places including Patna , Muzaffarpur ,Darbhanga and Purnea. Met department has issued an orange for next two days in view of intense cold. 21people have so far died in different parts of the state due to severe cold during last 24 hours. Several trains including Rajdhani, Sampoorn Kranti and Poorva Express are running five to ten hours late. Four Delhi bound flights were cancelled and several others got delayed due to bad weather.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar recorded at a minimum of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius making Dal Lake to freeze. Jammu recorded its coldest night in a decade with 2.4 degrees Celsius.

Churk in Sonbhadra district was the coldest place in In Uttar Pradesh with 0.8 degree Celsius.

In Rajasthan, Sikar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 0.5 degree Celsius.


Manoj Mukund, 28th Chief of Army Staff

General Manoj Mukund Naravane takes charge as 28th Chief of Army Staff

General Manoj Mukund Naravane took charge as the 28th Chief of Army Staff today succeeding General Bipin Rawat. General Naravane served as Vice Chief of the Army before taking charge of the 1.3 million-strong Army.

In his 37 years of service, General Naravane served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. Before being appointed as Vice Chief of the Army, General Naravane was heading the Army’s Eastern Command that takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km border with China.

He was also part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and had served as India’s Defence Attache at the Indian Embassy in Myanmar for three years. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy.

The General is a decorated officer who has been awarded the Sena Medal (Distinguished) for effectively commanding his battalion in Jammu and Kashmir. He is also a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal for his services as the Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) in Nagaland and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for commanding of a prestigious strike corps.


Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains

Development Seminar| World Development Report 2020:

Wednesday, January 8th, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Brookings India, No. 6, Second Floor, Dr. Jose P. Rizal Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

Dear Mr. Singh,

I am delighted to invite you to attend a discussion on the World Development Report 2020 on “Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains”. The report examines whether there is still a path to development through global value chains and trade.


Global value chains (GVCs) powered the surge of international trade after 1990 and now account for almost half of all trade. This shift enabled an unprecedented economic convergence: poor countries grew   of trade-led growth. New technologies could draw production closer to the consumer and reduce the demand for labour. Further, conflicts among large countries could lead to a retrenchment or a segmentation of GVCs. The World Development Report concludes that GVCs can continue to boost growth, create better jobs, and reduce poverty provided that developing countries implement deeper reforms to promote GVC participation, industrial countries pursue open, predictable policies, and all countries revive multilateral cooperation. 


Dr. Aaditya Mattoo is Chief Economist of the East Asia and Pacific Region of the World Bank.  He specializes in development, trade and international cooperation, and provides policy advice to governments. Previously, Mr. Mattoo was an Economic Counsellor at the World Trade Organization.


Dr. Harsha Vardhana Singh, a Senior Fellow, Council on Emerging Market Enterprises at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, is an expert on international trade policy, development, infrastructure regulation and global governance. He has also served as the Deputy Director-General at World Trade Organization.

Dr. Amita Batra is a Professor of Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Previously, she worked as a Senior Fellow at ICRIER as well as with the Hindu College, World Bank and IIM-A. Her areas of interest are International Trade and Finance and Regional Economic Integration with a special focus on South Asia.

Please RSVP and contact for media inquiries.

My Best,


How Urban and Messy is India’s Urbanisation?

CPR and CSH are pleased to invite you to a workshop on 
Unthinking Urbanisation: How Urban and Messy is India’s Urbanisation?
Speaker: Partha Mukhopadhyay
Tuesday, 31 December 2019, 3:45 p.m. Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research