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More blackface images of Trudeau appear

More blackface images of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appeared which have contributed to shattering the leaders progressive profile a month ahead of the countrys federal election.

On Wednesday, TIME magazine published a 2001 photograph in which a 29-year-old Trudeau, then a teacher at a prestigious private school in Vancouver, appeared wearing dark makeup dressed as Aladdin for an Arabian Nights-themed gala, reports Efe news.

“I shouldn”t have done it. I should have known better,” Trudeau told reporters later Wednesday.

“It was something that I didn”t think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do, and I am deeply sorry,” he added.

He then also admitted to wearing make-up while in high school to sing Harry Belafonte”s “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O).”

On Thursday, a Canadian media outlet produced a third occasion that Trudeau had worn the makeup.

Global News published a video showing the now-Liberal leader in blackface raising his hands in the air while laughing and sticking his tongue out. It is unclear where or when it was shot.

The outlet said it obtained the video from a source within Trudeau”s rival Conservative Party of Canada and independently verified it with Liberal party officials.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer confirmed on Thursday during a press conference that the video had been passed on from his team to the Canadian media outlet for verification.

After the new revelations, Trudeau appeared again before reporters on Thursday and was unable to guarantee that the three occasions now known are the only ones in which he dressed up as a person of colour.

Asked how he could not remember the occasions when he wore blackface, Trudeau said that “the fact is I didn”t understand how hurtful this is for people who live with discrimination every single day”.

“What I did hurt people who shouldn”t have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something that I deeply, deeply regret,” he said.

“Darkening your face, regardless of the context or the circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface. I should”ve understood that then and I never should have done it,” he added.

The emergence of the images has plunged Trudeau”s campaign ahead of the October 21 federal elections into chaos.

The campaign had already begun with the Liberals” publication of videos denouncing Scheer and several conservative candidates as intolerant politicians opposed to the rights of gay people and racial minorities.

In July 2018, an opinion article from 2000 came to light in which a journalist reported that Trudeau, then a 28-year-old teacher, had touched her inappropriately.

After the reappearance of the article, Trudeau said that he had not acted inappropriately, but that he had apologized to the journalist anyway.

Perhaps what had so far most damaged the image of Trudeau, who positioned himself as a feminist and champion of a diverse and inclusive society, was the scandal surrounding his former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould, a woman of indigenous origin, was replaced after she refused to grant favorable treatment to the country”s largest construction company, SNC-Lavalin, as Trudeau reportedly wanted.

Canada”s ethics commissioner later found Trudeau had violated the Conflict of Interest Act by trying to influence Wilson-Raybould.

Top 10 Best Universities in the World

The US and the UK continue to dominate the global higher education landscape. So, I wasn’t surprised one bit when I read the results of the Times Higher Education‘s World University Rankings 2020. Seven of the world’s top 10 best universities are in the United States, while the UK is home to the remaining three.

According to the 2020 World University Rankings, the UK witnessed a decline in the number of universities. Back in 2016, it had 34 institutions among the top 200, but the number has declined to only 26 in the latest ranking. The rankings of many British universities have also been falling.

On the other hand, China, Japan, and Germany have been investing heavily in higher education. China now has seven universities in the top 200. Germany managed to boost the number of universities among the top 200 from 20 in 2016 to 23 in the latest report. The United States has 60 out of the top 200.

The Times Higher Education ranked 1,300 universities from 92 countries based on teaching quality, international outlook, knowledge transfer, the volume and reputation of research, citations of research, and other factors. These are the ten best universities, according to the latest ranking.

10- Imperial College London

The Imperial College London has close to 17,000 students, more than 56% of whom are international students. It received a total score of 89.8. The Imperial College London scored highly in terms of international outlook and research citations. It has been ranked among the world’s most innovative universities by Reuters. The Imperial College London was established in 1907.

9- University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is a private research university with more than 13,000 students. It received an overall score of 90.2, performing particularly well in research citations and the volume of research. The university is known for its professional schools such as the Booth School of Business and Pritzker School of Medicine. As many as 98 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the University of Chicago as faculty, students, or researchers.

8- Yale University

This Ivy League research university scored 91.7 points in the Times Higher Education’s latest ranking. Yale ranked highly in terms of the quality of teaching, the volume of research, and research citations. It has 12,400 students. Founded in 1701, Yale is one of the nine US universities chartered before the American revolution. Yale has produced 61 Nobel laureates, five US Presidents, and 31 living billionaires.

7- Harvard University

Harvard is the oldest university in the United States, having been established in 1636. It slipped one spot to occupy 7th place in the latest ranking with an overall score of 93.0. Harvard has more than 20,000 students. It ranked near the top in research citations, volume and reputation of research, and teaching quality. Harvard lags behind other reputed universities in terms of industry income.

6- Princeton University

Founded in 1746, Princeton University in New Jersey received an overall score of 93.2. It ranked highly in terms of teaching quality, the volume of research, and research citations. Princeton has about 8,000 students. It has produced many graduates that went on to change the world, including Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, and Alan Turing. At least 65 Noble laureates have also been affiliated to Princeton.

5- Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is one of the best engineering and technology colleges in the world. Founded in 1861, it has a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurs. With an overall score of 93.6, MIT ranked near the top in every aspect. Many of the world’s largest corporations including Boeing, Koch Industries, Intel, Qualcomm, LinkedIn, HP, and others were founded by MIT alumni.

4- Stanford University

Established in 1891, Stanford is one of the world’s top educational institutions. Its proximity to Silicon Valley helps Stanford stay at the forefront of technological innovation. It has produced legendary entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. Stanford received a total score of 94.3. At least 83 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Stanford University.

3- University of Cambridge

Established in 1209, Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest and most reputed institutions of higher education. It was founded by scholars who departed Oxford following a dispute. Cambridge and Oxford remain healthy rivals till date. It ranked near the top in every aspect except industry income, and received an overall score of 94.4. Many of the world’s greatest minds including Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, and 85 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Cambridge.

2- California Institute of Technology

Unlike other educational institutions on this list, Caltech doesn’t have a huge campus. It has only about 300 faculty members and 2,200 students. But don’t let its small size fool you. It rivals MIT in the volume of research, innovation, teaching quality, and research citations. Among the US colleges, Caltech has the highest percentage of students who go on to earn a PhD. Caltech faculty, alumni, and researchers include 73 Nobel laureates.

1- University of Oxford

Established in 1096 (yes, it’s nearly a thousand years old), Oxford retains its position as the world’s top educational institution for the fourth consecutive year. It received an overall score of 95.4. The University of Oxford consists of 39 constituent colleges and a number of academic departments. Oxford alumni include 28 UK prime ministers, more than 50 Nobel laureates, and 160 Olympic medalists.

Vice President Pence: The American economy is booming

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with the Honorable Michael Pence, 48th & current Vice President of the United States, live from the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City on Thursday, September 19th.

Mandatory credit: CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference.

JOE KERNEN:  This is great.  It’s good to see you again.  It wasn’t that long ago when I saw you.


JOE KERNEN:  But to agree again to do this, I’m very gratified.  Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for being here.  I really appreciate it. We’ll kick it right off with, for lack of a better term, the economic state of the union.  In your view, two and a half years into the Trump presidency.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, the American economy is booming.  It’s absolutely undeniable.  Since Election Day 2016, more than 6 million jobs created by businesses large and small.  Unemployment is at a 50-year low.  Wages are rising at their fastest pace in more than a decade.  And, I mean, one fact after another.  And as we travel around the country, the enthusiasm, the confidence.  I think, you know, a soaring stock market, improving the pension and retirement of working Americans.

Vice President Pence on jobs

It’s all evidence of the success of the agenda that President Trump campaigned on and, working with our allies on Capitol Hill in our first two years, we were able to deliver on, to cut taxes, roll back regulation, unleash American energy, and fight to open markets and fight to create new fair trading relationships with nations around the world.  It’s all been a part of the President’s vision.  We’ve been able to implement it, and America is prospering as a result.

JOE KERNEN:  We had a rate cut yesterday, another one, another quarter point.  The second one.


JOE KERNEN:  The President I think was happy that it was cut a quarter point but still unhappy reportedly with Fed Chair Jay Powell.  Is that fair to say that?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  I think that’s very fair to say that.


JOE KERNEN:  I also heard today that the Fed Chairman’s job is safe, for now.  Is that what you’re led to believe; he’s not looking for ways, perhaps, to replace Jay Powell at some point in the future?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, look, I think President Trump was expressing yesterday his frustration with what in our first two years in office was a severe monetary tightening.  During a time when the American economy is growing and a time when there was very little evidence of inflation, we saw the Federal Reserve raise interest rates seven different times.And while the second rate cut yesterday was welcome, and it may well be followed by another rate cut before the end of the year, I think the President’s message to the Federal Reserve is that we ought to have a monetary policy in the United States that supports growth and also levels the playing field with our competitive partners.

Vice President Pence on the Federal Reserve

I mean, you essentially have zero interest rates in Europe today, and yet we’re still recovering from seven different rate increases in our first two years. So the President wants to see more bold action.  I mean, as you see the economy continuing to expand, as you see the fact that, once again, no evidence of deflation.  And we’re virtually at full employment in the country.

This is a time that our monetary policy ought to be bold, it ought to be decisive, it ought to be making capital available, and that will support even more economic growth. I mean, for all that we’ve done, more than 6 million new jobs, unemployment at a 50-year low, the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans, unemployment rate for women is at a 65-year low.

I mean, one statistic after another, that’s honestly just what President Trump calls a good start.  The economy is growing at 2.5 percent right now, which is significantly higher than the average for eight years under the last administration. But the President really does believe that more regulatory relief, Tax Cuts 2.0, and the kind of monetary policy, the kind of trade deals, the kind of energy policies that we’ve begun to advance can take this economy to even all new heights for the American people.

JOE KERNEN:  The President even broached the possibility of zero rates here or even negative rates here.  Do you think that would be a positive for the United States?  Are you a proponent of the Fed going that far?

On monetary policy

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, I support the President in his call for monetary policy that levels the playing field for our economy with other economies around the world.  I mean, it is remarkable to think about the growth in our economy.  I mean, the global economy is slowing, there’s no question, in certain quarters, and we went through a period of severe monetary tightening.  But, despite all of that, the American economy is booming and soaring. And I think the President’s view and his own philosophy on these policies is that we ought to — whether it be trade, whether it be monetary policy, we ought to be where our competitors are.

The cost of capital ought to be — for our businesses and families ought to be what it is for people around the world.  Because even though it’s not right now, our economy is soaring.  We level the playing field, and we can reach all new heights for working families and businesses large and small.

JOE KERNEN:  If someone were to push back and say in very good times that’s when you sort of reload the ability to cut rates in the future at some point, or that if the economy was so strong, we wouldn’t be asking for interest rate cuts. Would you say that it’s more inflation that is determining what the Fed does?  A lot of people say it makes no sense to cut rates if the economy is that strong.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, I’m not an economist, and I know you play one on TV —

JOE KERNEN:  Yeah, no, I don’t.


On the global economy

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Back in the day, in the Congress we had some good debates about policies at the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve has a dual mandate:  Full employment and making sure to protect against inflation. And when your economy is essentially at full employment and there is no evidence of inflation, then it seems, I think, the President’s view, it seems that our view overall is that we ought to be doing everything that we can to make sure that the cost of capital in this country is on a level playing field with our competitors.

JOE KERNEN:  Globally you can see that there is evidence of a slowdown, globally, at this point.  Europe, 16 trillion in negative rates, sovereign rates.  That would, to many people, be seen as maybe problematic or indicative of something that isn’t right or something that we need to worry about. FedEx had a rough quarter yesterday, and stock was down significantly, and blaming a lot of different things, the global slowdown, talking about the trade war to some extent. When the yield curve inverted and you look at the global bond market and yet at the same time you have new all-time highs in stocks, which market is correct about forecasting the future of global growth, the stock market, or should we be worried about what the bond market is telling us?

Vice President Pence on markets

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, I would leave that to the experts.  I would just tell you our view is that whether it be the slowdown that we see in Europe, what China is dealing with, this is a result of their policies. I mean, it’s been remarkable for me.  I’ve had the chance to travel around the world representing the United States and  I’ve spent time with the President, with foreign leaders.  I’ve heard one foreign leader after another congratulate the President on America’s economic success, on the incredible growth that’s happening in the American economy over the last two and a half years.

And our message to our trading partners around the world is:  Look in the mirror.  Look at your tax rates, look at your regulatory structures, look at your energy policies. I mean, you have, you know, Germany basically announcing that they’re going to abandon, you know, coal-burning power plants and ban nuclear plants.  And the cost of energy now is driving down the German economy, which is such an enormous weight in the European economy. So our view is that they ought to be, and I think many are, looking at the United States, seeing the success that we’re having.

On job policy

They ought to be emulating our policies.  And, frankly, they ought to be opening up their markets to U.S. goods.  That’s the President’s strong stand on trade, Joe. So, once again, it’s just about the same as the monetary policy.  It’s all built on the President’s principle of our relationships with our trading partners ought to be reciprocal; meaning that free and fair trade means we’ll give you the same access to our market that we had to your market.

And whether it be the European Union, whether it be Japan, where there may be a trade deal come together next week with Japan, or ongoing negotiations with China. For the President it’s all about saying — it’s all about saying to our trading partners:  If you’re going to have access to the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, then our people, our businesses, have every right to expect the same access to your market.

On regulation

JOE KERNEN:  Do you or the President concede that the trade war that we’re involved with, whatever you want to call it, skirmish, I think we’ve upgraded to a war finally, but the trade war, is that taking away from global growth?  Is that part of the problem, the uncertainty that it instills in corporations around the world so it can even affect Europe, so the slowdown in Europe, slowdown in China, global slowdown suddenly coming onto our shores?  Is it part of — is that the reason for it?  At least partly?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, I just think it really depends on what part of the world that you’re talking about.  I mean, you look at decades of socialist policies, welfare state policies.

JOE KERNEN:  Europe.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  In Europe.  High taxes, regulation.  You’ve seen some of the popular protests in France have all been about high taxes that have been imposed. You know, I — it’s hard for me to —

JOE KERNEN:  But China — the President, at some point says that, yes, China is hurting.  He knows he’s hurting China.  So then that’s almost admitting that you’re hurting global growth or you know you’re admitting —

On trade deficits

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  But when it comes to China, it’s a whole different ball game.  We run $500 billion trade deficits with China, and we estimate that we lose almost as much in intellectual property theft, every single year. I mean, what the President is doing with China is defending the American economy, defending America’s interests.  And the strong stand that he’s taken we believe is having an impact on China’s economy.  There’s no question about it. But that being said, discussions are ongoing.  Deputies are in town, I’m told, next week.

Principals will be meeting again, Secretary Mnuchin and the U.S. trade representative, with Chinese officials next month.  And we’re talking. But the era of economic surrender is over.  And for too long one administration after another, Republican and Democrat administrations, were willing to accept extraordinary disadvantages to American workers and American jobs in the name of trade with China.  And those days are over. I mean — and we’re going to continue to stand strong.  You know, the President has a great relationship with President Xi.

I’ve had discussions with President Xi where I’ve confirmed that, I’ve sensed that same rapport that they have.  But the American people can be confident President Trump is going to continue to stand strong, not just to reset the trading relationship, to have China open their markets to the United States, but also to have China finally embrace the international rules of commerce to protect intellectual property and forced technology transfer, all the things that have been working against America’s interest and, frankly, the interest of economies around the world.  We remain hopeful, but —

JOE KERNEN:  It’s a lot of stuff.

Vice President Pence on Chinese theft

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  You know, the question now is whether or not China wants to do a deal, I think.  And if we have a sense China wants to do a deal, we just don’t know if they want to do it yet. So they’ll be here.  We’ll be talking.  We’ll be exploring it.  But I promise you, President Trump, in our negotiations with China, with Japan, with the European Union, with the UK, once they complete Brexit, it’s all going to put American jobs and American workers first.

JOE KERNEN:  What is the best we can hope for?  You were tough in a speech.  You said that China has an arsenal of policies inconsistent with free and fair trade tariffs, quotas, currency manipulation, forced tech transfer, IP theft, industrial subsidies handed out like candy.  Are we going to fix all this?  Is it possible we get anywhere on all those things?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  I’ve been in the Oval Office where the President has made it very, very clear to Chinese officials at the very highest level of these negotiations that the structural issues are central, that China — look, we supported China joining the World Trade Organization.  And the belief was that by letting them into the World Trade Organization, that we would see China move away from these kind of economic practices; and, frankly, we also hoped that we would see them embrace more of the liberties that we cherish.

On trade

Where you have a flourishing free enterprise economy around the world, through the history of the world, invariably you see individual rights grow.The truth of the matter is, China has not been willing to embrace the international rules of commerce.  In fact, they’ve abused the rules of commerce to their advantage and taken advantage of America and other economies for far too long.  And also the truth is, frankly, they’ve gone in many ways in the opposite direction on the issue of liberties and their conduct. So the President has taken a strong stand.

And, honestly, Joe, it’s quite in contrast with people that are seeking the Democrat nomination for president.  I heard where my predecessor, Joe Biden, did an interview where he scoffed at the idea that China was a competitor.  It’s really remarkable.  But that’s what got us where we are today with China. And President Trump sees clearly that China has been taking advantage of its position in the World Trade Organization for far too long.

We’re going to take a strong stand, and we’re going to continue — and I promise you this, the President is going to continue to stand firm until either China decides to embrace the kind of reforms that will respect those international rules and reset our trading relationship.  Or, as the President said, we believe we’re in a very strong position, and we’ll continue to use access to the most powerful economy in the world to protect American jobs and American workers.

On auto manufacturing

JOE KERNEN:  USMCA, on track?  Will the Dems give the President a win, or will they insist that enforceability is not where it needs to be, so they’ll keep pushing it down?  How do you handicap it by the end of the year?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  The USMCA is not only the largest trade deal in American history, but if Congress passes it, puts it on the President’s desk, it will also be the most advanced trade deal in history.  Not only will we bring together the United States and Mexico and Canada with reforms that we think will put American jobs first, but we really do believe that through the negotiations that we ended kind of a maybe unintended incentive in NAFTA to move jobs south of the border.

I saw the impact in my own home state of Indiana, where I saw entire communities shuttered, GM plants closed in Madison County, Indiana.  I mean, we witnessed this in the midwest. We think the changes in this that require a certain number of — percentage of automotive parts be constructed at essentially what is the American wage ends that incentive to go south of the border. But there’s something in this for everybody.

Vice President Pence on NAFTA and trade

You know, I’ve had discussions with Speaker Pelosi, the President talked to Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer again this weekend on this subject, among others.  We continue to engage in good faith, and we’re absolutely determined to move the USMCA through the Congress, to the President’s desk, and complete it. But ultimately it comes down to a decision by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  And we’re encouraged that she’s been working closely with our U.S. trade representative, we’ve been working on that enabling legislation, and we’re seeing more and more Democrats in the House of Representatives speaking out on this issue.

But at the end of the day, we’re just continuing to call on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, put the USMCA on the floor.  Because we really believe if Speaker Pelosi puts the USMCA on the floor of the House, it will pass; we will pass it in the Senate, and it will be a huge win for the American economy and for American workers.

JOE KERNEN:  Vice President, Iran seems to be getting bolder, brasher as time goes by.  The latest attack, Secretary Pompeo called it an act of war because it’s an attack on the global economy.  Do you agree with that?  Or is there any — in this country, any inclination that we should have another military involvement somewhere, and in this case it would be for the Saudis?  Or is it going to be the Saudis take care of it on their own terms and we’ll support it, but we’re probably — the American public is probably loathe to get into another conflict in the Middle East?

On Saudi Arabia

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  The attack on the Saudi Arabian oil facilities last Saturday was the largest attack on oil infrastructure in history.  It was an act of war.  And we do know from the Saudis on the initial examination that the weapons were Iranian weapons.  And we’re engaged in organizing an international investigation to determine where those weapons were fired from.

JOE KERNEN:  Where they’re fired from.  Iranian weapons, not — at this point not saying where they’re fired from.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, whether they came from the Houthis that the Iranians sponsor in Yemen or they actually came from Iran is going to be a subject of careful investigation.  The President has directed our National Security team.  I talked to the Secretary of State this morning on my way to New York, we’ll be meeting.  Our National Security team will be meeting tomorrow to continue to review the facts. And the President has basically said let’s get to the bottom of what happened.  We’ve organized an international investigation into what happened.  The President announced additional sanctions that we’ll be imposing on Iran for — whether it was their surrogates in Yemen who fired these missiles and drones or whether they fired them themselves, we’re imposing punishing new sanctions on Iran to hold them accountable.

On the UN and Iran

We will be limiting the number of visas for Iranian officials that can come to the UN General Assembly. But the President will take all this into account.  He’ll review the facts, and he’ll make a decision about next steps. But the American people can be confident that the United States of America is going to defend our interest in the region, and we’re going to stand with our allies.

JOE KERNEN:  How do you see the Democratic field shaping up at this point?  And who do you think the likely nominee is, if you had to pick right now?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, we — I have to tell you, it’s — we’re ready for any one of them.  I mean, there’s like 20 or 30 of them still running right now.

JOE KERNEN:  Any predictions on the GOP ticket?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  I would say yes.


JOE KERNEN:  I’ve heard the President say that.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Yeah, absolutely.

JOE KERNEN:  They still talk about, you know, whether you’re going to — I’ve heard the President say you are absolutely, positively on the ticket.

On socialism

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Yes, I’m very honored by that.  I was honored when he called me and asked me to run in 2016, and I’m honored to run again. When we look at the other side, I’ve got to tell you, you know, it’s not so much who, it’s what they stand for.  I never thought I’d live to see the day that one of the two major political parties in the United States of America would essentially be dominated by socialist thinking —

JOE KERNEN:  Democratic socialists.  But it’s kind of like sort of splitting hairs now.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Yeah.  I hear the “democratic socialist” — there are Democrats who are socialists.  I served in Congress with Bernie Sanders.  He’s a socialist, and he’s proud of it.  And I think, you know, whoever their nominee is, when you look at their policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, their plan is to raise taxes, increase regulations, grow government.  It would crush the economy that we just talked about at the beginning of this program.

JOE KERNEN:  It’s growing — it’s democratic socialism, and I wrote it carefully because I don’t want to make anyone mad.  But it is gaining with a large segment of the population, and I’m wondering whether that’s reversible and I’m wondering whether you think there’s some inherent flaws in the way capitalism is operating in today’s world that even has, for example, the business roundtable saying that there’s more than just shareholders, there’s stakeholders.  Secretary Mnuchin, by the way, said he wouldn’t have signed it.  We had people come on in the morning, some would sign it, some wouldn’t. Do we need a reset, a software upgrade, in capitalism?

On free markets

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, no, we need to explain what free markets and free enterprise have done for the free world.  I mean, it’s not going to be enough for us just to win the next election, we’ve got to win the next generation, and to see whether it be the squad on Capitol Hill, whether it be leftist policies dominating the Democratic party.  We’ve just simply got to go out and talk about what free enterprise and free markets have meant, which is not only the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, the most generous nation in the history of the world, but also the cleanest environment in the history of the world, the highest labor standards in the history of the world.

All of that’s been driven by not only an economic system but a nation that is grounded in freedom. And I have to tell you, as I travel around the country, I think the American people know this, and they know it was freedom, not socialism that created the most prosperous nation in the history of the world.

It was freedom, not socialism that ended slavery, won two world wars and has made America the beacon of hope for all the world. I mean, when the President said in his State of the Union address, you know, America will never be a socialist country, there was not only a roar of approval in the United States Congress, but around the country.  As I’ve repeated that line, people invariably go to their feet. I mean, we look at places like Venezuela, we look at Cuba, we look at the former Soviet Union.  We know what happens in socialist countries.

Vice President Pence on economic views

You talk about slowdown, the social welfare states of Europe today are struggling under the weight of high taxes, high regulation, and socialist policies that have dominated Europe for far too long. You know, Margaret Thatcher probably said it best.  She said:  The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.  But the other side is actually campaigning on this bonanza of promises where everything is free.

And I think that’s why we have to answer that with a message about freedom and about what freedom has created and can create. But the great news, you talk about criticisms of capitalism broadly, I mean, look at it, you have a businessman turned President.  He comes in, he puts into practice basically commonsense principles to promote free enterprise and free market growth.  And not only, as I said, 6 million new jobs, but look at what’s happening with wages.

In fact, I think it probably means the most to the President and me that wages are not only rising at their fastest pace in ten years, but they’re actually rising most rapidly among blue-collar working Americans.  I mean, it’s really a remarkable thing. Ivanka Trump has headed up an effort with Secretary Ross, the administration now, we literally have 750 companies around the country that have committed 14 million apprenticeships and internships to train people in vocational skills and career and technical skills so that people can take advantage of the jobs and opportunities today.

On job training

There are more job openings in America today than there are people looking for work.  Capitalism is working. And the left loves to talk about the income gap in America.  I just heard the other day the income gap is actually closing because of the policies that President Trump has been advancing.  And so that’s a story we’ve got to tell, and we will tell that.  I get very excited about getting out across this country in the next year and a half. Because back in 2016 we were just talking about what President Trump was going to do for America to make America great again.

Now we can point to a track record, rebuilding our military, reviving our economy, more than 150 principled conservatives confirmed to our federal courts at every level, an energy renaissance, negotiating and opening markets to America around the world.  Negotiating new free and fair trade deals.  That’s a record of success I’m incredibly excited to carry to the American people.  And that’s a message about keeping America great.

JOE KERNEN:  It says zero over there.  No one said anything to me yet.  I’m talking about the time.  We have another couple minutes?  I’ll see whether it’s okay. I think — what’s that?  Okay. You were a budget hawk in Congress.  There are those that say the tax cuts didn’t work because it didn’t generate the revenue.  I disagree.  The revenue has been flat.  It’s the spending that’s been the issue.

Vice President Pence on spending


JOE KERNEN:  So the spending might have to be cut, but a lot of that was military spending, which the President said he was going to do anyway. Where could the spending be cut to try to rein in the deficit, and are you at this point?  I mean, when you see it at a trillion dollars already, you know, we’re not even finished with the year, what would you propose?  And are you bothered by that to the extent that you would have been when you were in Congress?

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Well, I was — well, first, let’s remember the last administration doubled the national debt.  The last administration came in and doubled the national debt at a time that they were also cutting military spending. When we took office, Joe — and I — I’m very proud to be the father of the United States Marine pilot, and very soon I’m going to be the father-in-law of a Navy pilot.

On the air force

But when we took office, I’m told that the Air Force actually had a significant portion of their aircraft grounded to use these planes as spare parts to keep other planes in the air.  That’s how much the budget cuts in our military had impacted America’s national defense. So the President came in and he said:  We’re going to do two things out of the gate.  First we’re going to get the American economy growing again.  Because you know what?  You’re never going to cut your way back to a balanced budget.

It’s just not going to happen. The truth is an economy that’s growing at less than 2 percent is never going to generate the revenues to ever pay off the national debt, to ever balance the budget.  So the President said one word:  Growth. So we worked on delivering on the President’s promise to cut taxes for individuals and businesses, to roll back regulation at a record level, to unleash American energy. This year we became, for the first time in 75 years, a net exporter of oil.  I mean, we have an energy renaissance going on in America.

Vice President Pence conclusion

He puts all those things into effect.  The economy has taken off, significant — didn’t grow by more than 2 percent on average for the last eight years.  We’re at 2.5 right now and rolling forward. But the other priority the President says, we’ve got to rebuild our military.  I mean, this is a president that said we have to put our national defense first as a priority, and — but to do that involved negotiations given the filibuster rules in the Senate.

We had to negotiate with Democrats to work to get a commensurate amount of domestic spending, but the President said we’ll make the deal because we’ve got to fund our military.  And we made the largest investments in our national defense, largest increases in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.  And I’m incredibly proud of that.

That’s the first priority. So national defense and growth, and we think now that we’re seeing to those things and we’re seeing that renewed American strength in our economy, in our national security, that lays the foundation for us to be able to deal with the long-term issues of debt and deficits.

JOE KERNEN:  They reset the clock.  But I think it would be pushing it.  It’s running down. If I were to go to double overtime, I know I’d get in trouble.  Even though you’re from Indiana, Hoosiers, but we’re going to have to end it there.  But I want to once again thank you for coming today.  I really appreciate it.


Trump calls new border wall a ‘world-class security system’

President Donald Trump signed his name Wednesday on a newly constructed section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, calling it a “world-class security system” that will be virtually impenetrable.

Trump toured a section of the border wall in San Diego’s Otay Mesa area. It was a return trip for the president, who traveled there in March 2018 to see border wall prototypes that authorities later destroyed to make way for 14 miles (22.4 kilometers) of steel, concrete-filled bollards currently under construction.

Before construction began, the border in Otay Mesa was protected with low fencing.

“It was like a sheet metal and people would just knock it over like just routinely,” Trump said, standing with construction workers and top Customs, Army Corps of Engineers and homeland security officials.

Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that since construction has begun on the new barrier, 30 to 50 people a day are trying to cross there instead of 300 to 500.

“The traffic in this sector has dropped dramatically,” Morgan said.

Morgan defended the project, dismissing those who call it the “president’s vanity wall.” “I’m here to tell you that’s false,” he said, telling reporters that Trump reached out to border experts to find out what they needed. “You listened to the agents,” he told Trump.

Trump highlighted features of the wall, which he said have been studied by three other countries. He said the wall absorbs heat “You can fry an egg on that wall.”

The concrete goes deep into the ground to prevent tunneling. And agents can see through it to spot possible threats on the Mexican side of the border, he said.

“When the wall is built, it will be virtually impossible to come over illegally, and then we’re able to take border control and put them at points of entry,” Trump said.

He heaped praise on the Mexican government, especially for sending tens of thousands of troops to its northern and southern borders to help slow the flow of migrants headed toward the United States.

He said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador “has been great.” “We’re all thrilled,” Trump said.

“You know Mexico has never done anything to impede people from pouring into our country and now they’re doing just the opposite. They’ve really been incredible.”

The president reveled in details of construction, saying Border Patrol and military officials persuaded him to adopt more expensive designs. He said he dropped a preference for solid concrete, instead opting for concrete-filled steel bollards that allow agents to see through to Mexico to spot assailants throwing rocks or other projectiles.

He agreed to go along with barriers that are 30 feet high and double-layered in heavily traveled areas.

“It’s the Rolls-Royce version,” Trump said.

When Trump asked Army Corps Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite to explain how technology embedded in the wall alerts agents to illegal activity, he was told,

“Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing it.” Semonite offered new details on the pace of construction that underscored how quickly the administration plans to move.

It has built 66 miles (106 kilometers) so far, has 251 miles (403 kilometers) in various stages of construction at 17 sites and contracts for 163 miles (262 kilometers) planned in the next 90 days, the general said.

Additional land on private property is expected to take more time.

Crews are installing 270 panels a day, each one with eight bollards.

Trump, whose construction targets have shifted, said he expects to build up to about 550 miles (885 kilometers) of wall along the 1,954-mile (3,126-kilometer) border and said the administration will pause at about 400 miles (643 kilometers) to assess what more is needed.

Trump said cost concerns led him to put aside his preference to paint the wall black, which absorbs heat. He said the wall was “a good, strong rust color” and could be painted later.

Trump is riding a string of wins on the wall and on immigration in general. Arrests on the Mexican border arrests plunged in August, well beyond the usual summer dip, from a 13-year high reached in May.

Arrests are still relatively high, topping 50,000 in 10 of the last 11 months, compared with only eight months over the previous decade.

Last week, the Supreme Court gave Trump a green light to deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. border with Mexico without having first sought protection in the third country.

The Pentagon recently diverted 3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects to build 175 miles (280 kilometers) of barriers on the border.

Trump had promised during the 2016 presidential campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall.

NDRF set to induct women personnel

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would induct women personnel in its new battalions within the next one year, a top official said.

The Union government had in 2018 made a proposal to attach women contingents to NDRF battalions in the country.

“Earlier, we didn’t have the barracks and other amenities for women personnel… But, we are now in a position to accommodate them and have already started the process of calling for women operators,” Director General of NDRF, S N Pradhan, told PTI.

Pradhan was recently in West Bengal to inaugurate the 2nd Battalion of the NDRF HQ campus at Haringhata, about 55 km from here.

“We have have made a specific request to the government that a certain number of women personnel must be sent for our four new battalions… This should happen within a year’s time,” he added.

The NDRF will have four new battalions in addition to the 12, and they will be based in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the National Capital Region.

The new battalions — each having around 1,150 personnel — will be drawn from the Assam Rifles, the Indo- Tibetan Border Police and the Border Security Force, a government order had said last year.

Pradhan added that the new 64-acre campus at Haringhata is a part of NDRF’s efforts to address on a “mission mode” certain “weak links” in terms of infrastructure-related work.

“Operationally, we are very sound. But, infrastructure base is a weak link; battalions were getting created but not completed, there were issues with getting handover of buildings for regional response centres after acquiring the land for them… We are trying to address these on mission mode,” he said.

The NDRF is a specialised force that was raised in 2006 for specific tasks of relief and rescue during natural and man-made disasters or threatening situations.

Cremica Launches an Exciting Range of Mayonnaise

Cremica the food product conglomerate unveiled new flavors of Mayonnaise. Known for its innovative offerings and commitment to quality Cremica unveiled an array of products, the company has come up with 7 new flavors of Mayonnaise in the foodservice category; Mount Fuji Japanese Mayo, Wild Spice, Mushroom Willow, Tomakhan Mayo, Creamy Basil Pesto, Pickle Tickle & Frontier Josh Mayo which are a perfect combination of both classic Indian and International flavors to meet the evolving taste of Indian customers.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Akshay Bector, Managing Director, Cremica said, It is imperative for the Restaurant industry to focus on quality, supply chain and standardization of their offerings. Cremica’s effort has always been towards introducing innovative product range that ranks high on taste and quality. We have a fairly good understanding of the evolving Indian palate. These new flavors if Mayonnaise will help niche category restaurants to redefine their offerings. Flavors like Creamy Basil pesto and Mount Fuji Japanese mayo would be perfect for Italian and Sushi Restaurants.

Cremica has always been the front runner when it comes to innovation in taste. It will be pertinent to mention here that the brand has been pioneer in bringing the Vegetarian Mayonnaise in India. Cremica has evolved and expanded the product basket with the changing taste preferences of the consumers. This is one brand which has found the right balance between the desi Chakata and International flavors. As the most trusted brand of India, their products have become a must have’ in every household.

About Cremica Cremica is an iconic brand of India, registering a robust growth rate per annum. In the course of the past four decades, it has established itself as a food products conglomerate, leading the food processing business through its innovative range of products, its internationally certified production facilities, the consistency of its quality and its unmatched expertise in the industry.

Cremica is a leader in Mayonnaise and Sauce category in India and is known for its unique recipes and its state-of-the-art research and production standards.

Cremica, a name that has always spelt quality and great tasting food, is fast becoming a household name in India. It is also a preferred vendor to some of the largest food giants in India like McDonald’s, Domino’ and Subway, consistently scoring high on international quality tests and taste parameters.

Origin of Ravana’s Own Violin- Ravanhatha

After defeating his half-brother, Kubera, and looting Kubera city, Ravana was returning back to his kingdom of Lanka.

While returning on the Pushpak Vimana (which he stole), Ravana came across a mysterious mountain which he could not fly over. Perplexed, Ravana tried many times, but failed. He then noticed a bull-shaped figure and when approached, Ravana learned that the entity was Nandi and that the mountain was none other than Kailash, home to the Lord Shiva.

On account of his recent victory, Ravana was obsessed of his power and considered himself invincible. He went on to insult Nandi and his Master, Shiva. Enraged at this arrogance, Nandi cursed Ravana that his downfall would be at the hands of monkeys. Unfazed, Ravana moved on and started lifting the entire mountain on his arms. All of this happened while the Lord was meditating; as soon as the mountain started shaking, Shiva came out of his trance.

Being the Omniscient One, Shiva realized the cause of the disturbance and at once decided to crush the arrogance of Ravana. Using His smallest toe, Shiva pressed into the mountain and the entire Kailash fell on the poor king who foolishly tried to lift it.

Ravana roared with pain and his arrogance was crushed to bits. While crying in pain, Ravana cut off one of his heads and built a veena from it and used his tendons, veins and intestines for the strings of the veena and began singing the Shiva Tandava Stotram in praise of Nataraja. Easily pleased, the Lord came down and blessed Ravana. Ravanahatha – ravana hasta veena.

It is from this incident that Dashanana got his name as Ravana – the one who cried. Shiva also gave Ravana a special weapon, Chandrahaas, or a sickle as a reward from his devotion.

2nd Theory behind Ravanahatha goes like this:

The Ramayana states that the instrument was first created as a result of an unpleasant experience faced by the Demon King.

It is said that Ravana’s mother, Kaikasi, was devoted to the God Shiva, and she was eager to go and live in the god’s abode on Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. Ravana was against this idea, but in order to please his mother, he promised to bring Mount Kailash itself to his Kingdom of Hela. The story goes on to say that Shiva, in outrage, trapped Ravana’s ten heads and twenty arms as he was lifting the mountain. Ravana prayed for mercy and when Shiva released him, he decided to sing his praise and made an accompanying musical instrument using one of his heads, an arm and some of his hair. Moved by Ravana’s music, Shiva is said to have bestowed immortality on him.

The Ramayana also mentions that after the war between Rama and Ravana, Hanuman returned to the kingdom of Ayodhya with the ravanahatha.

Ravana is known as the composer of Shiva Tandava 🔱

HBO Go vs HBO Now: Which one is better for you?

HBO makes some of the best shows, movies, documentaries, and other content. Its original programming like Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Westworld, True Detective, Chernobyl, Silicon Valley, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Veep have built a cult following. The company offers two different ways – HBO Go and HBO Now – to let users stream content on the go. The two services are similar in many ways and different in some, which ends up confusing users. In this HBO Go vs HBO Now comparison, let’s check out which one is better for you.

The company further complicated things for users when it announced a new streaming service called HBO Max. The Max service would launch next year. It would include all the content currently available on HBO Go and HBO Now along with some exclusive programming. Only time will tell what would happen to HBO Now when Max arrives next year.

HBO Go vs HBO Now: Device support

Both HBO Go and Now streaming services are compatible with a wide range of operating systems and devices. Both of them work on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Android devices, Amazon Kindle Fire tablets, Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Macs, PlayStation 4, Xbox One consoles, Roku, TiVo, Windows computers, Samsung smart TVs, and LG smart TVs.

The services can also be accessed via all popular web browsers including Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and even Internet Explorer. It means you can access them on almost every device.

How do they differ?

The primary difference between the two services is that HBO Go comes bundled with your HBO subscription via cable, satellite, or live TV. If you get HBO channels as part of your cable, cord-cutter live TV, or satellite subscription, you get HBO Go free of cost. Just download the Go app and sign in using the same username and password that you use for your cable, satellite, or live TV service. If your TV subscription doesn’t include HBO channels, you can’t use HBO Go. It’s as simple as that.

HBO Now, on the other hand, is a standalone media streaming service like Netflix and Hulu. Of course, it will host and stream HBO content, but it isn’t tied to an existing TV subscription. Even if your TV subscription doesn’t include HBO subscription, you can download the app and subscribe to HBO Now. But you’d have to shell out a monthly fee for the service. You can watch content through your web browser via hbonow.com.

HBO Go vs HBO Now: Pricing

If you are already paying for HBO channels via your TV subscription, HBO Go is free of cost. The cost of HBO subscription varies between $5 to $20 per month depending on providers, plans, and special offers. Remember this is on top of what you pay for your satellite, cable or live TV subscription. Online streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and PlayStation Vue also offer HBO subscription.

The HBO Now service costs $15 per month. Unlike Go, it’s independent of your cable or satellite TV subscription.

HBO Go vs HBO Now: Similarities

Both HBO Go and HBO Now give you access to the entire library of HBO movies, TV shows, documentaries, and other content. HBO makes its content available on both services simultaneously with the original broadcast on HBO channels. Both have an intuitive and easy to navigate user interface.

Some content such as Real Time with Bill Maher, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and 24/7 is made available on HBO Go and Now a few hours after the original broadcast. Unfortunately for users, neither Go nor Now allows users to download content for offline streaming.

Which one is better?

It’s up to you to decide which one is right for you. If you have access to HBO channels as part of your cable or satellite TV subscription, you are better off using HBO Go. Accessing HBO Go won’t cost you a dime extra. If your TV subscription doesn’t include HBO, it comes down to the deal you are getting from your cable or satellite provider.

HBO Now is more suitable for people who have ditched cable subscriptions in favor of online streaming services. If you are a cord-cutter, HBO Now is worth paying $15 per month.

Getting iOS 13 estimating time remaining error? Here’s why

Apple has made the official public release of iOS 13 available to users around the world. As is always the case, the rollout isn’t going without any problems. One issue that’s being reported is the iOS 13 “estimated time remaining” error. Essentially, the download gets stuck and won’t finish, which means you can’t install iOS 13 on your device. We’ve got some ideas on how to fix this problem.

What’s casing the iOS 13 “estimating time remaining” error

The error message can make it seem like something big is happening with your device. However, there’s a very simple reason you’re getting it. Apple’s servers are being overwhelmed by devices that are all trying to download iOS 13, and as a result, some people will see the iOS 13 “estimating time remaining” error when they try to do it.

The error simply means that Apple’s servers can’t handle all the traffic they are getting at that particular moment, so some people get cut off. For this reason, it may be a good idea to wait a few days before you try to download iOS 13. This will also give others some time to try it out and discover any potential bugs that may still exist in the newest version of the operating system.

Those who do decide to download iOS 13 on launch day when everyone else is downloading it may see the iOS 13 “estimating time remaining” message on their device while trying to download. In the worst-case scenario, the download hangs and never completes, leaving the message frozen on the device’s screen. It will be obvious that no progress on the download is being made, but the message won’t disappear, and the device will remain stuck.

If this happens to your device, you will simply need to reboot and then try downloading iOS 13 again at a later time. There is no workaround for the error. Apple could beef up its servers to handle all the traffic, but it would probably take quite a bit of extra computing power to do that. Even then, there would probably still be installation problems for some users.

Other problems with the update

Early reviews from those who have been able to download and install iOS 13 indicate that there are plenty of bugs, which means it wouldn’t hurt to wait until iOS 13.1 is released, probably on Sept. 24. It seems almost as if Apple itself doesn’t feel like iOS 13 is ready for the general public, given that it plans to release 13.1 only a few days after 13.0 was released.

Reports indicate that many apps seem to crash randomly when they’re opened. Some users also report that their calls drop after updating to the new version of iOS. Others are reporting issues with the Camera and Photos app. It’s not surprising that the Photos app is causing problems because iOS 13 brings with it some major changes to the app, including a new Photos tab, auto-play for live videos and photos in the gallery, contextual transitions, smart photo previews, significant events, On this Day, birthday mode, and much more.

Why is Durga Pooja celebrated in India?

Durga Puja is a widely celebrated festival in India. With the ceremonial worship of goddess Durga, it forms an essential part of the culture. Not only does it form an important festival for the Hindus, but it is an occasion where everyone is united and rejuvenated in the spirit of Maa Durga. The rituals involve ten days of fast, followed by feasting and devotional worship of goddess Durga. The last four days are called Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami. Dashami is the last grand day for the festival. Durga puja is extremely enjoyed with great passion in India especially in Bengal where the goddess is considered to be a symbol of mother.

The origin of Durga puja

With such widespread celebration, there is a rich history that Durga puja originates from. Mythologically, Durga puja is celebrated in the ‘Ashwin maas’ when Lord Ram took blessings from the goddess before going into was with Ravan. This is the reason why this is also known as ‘Akal Bodhan’ which stands for out of season worship. 

The earliest records of the existence of Durga puja date back to the fifteenth century. The landlords and zamindars in Bengal celebrated Durga puja for the blessings of the goddess for a prosperous and fulfilling life. The Sharodiya Durga puja was held in the autumn months in this era. Under the rule of rulers like Raja Kangshanarayan from Taherpur and Raja Bhabananda Mazumdar from Nadiya, this form of pujan became very popular. This would be the time of the year when all distant families would come together to pray for prosperity and well being of their loved ones.

The Guptipara community from Hoogly is the original pioneers of the Durga puja that we see todau. This started as a community of twelve people hence the puja began as the ‘twelve pal’ puja. They collected contributions from the entire locality and brought Durga puja to their houses. This is how ‘Baro yaari’ puja came into existence. By the seventeenth century this was adopted throughout Bengal especially in the regions of Murshidabad.

In the nineteenth century the ‘Sarbajanin’ puja originated from the baro yari puja. The first grand Durga puja was celebrated in India in Baghbazar, Kolkata with complete participation from the public and full vigor. By the end of the nineteenth century this was welcomed by other Hindu communities and it came to be the grand Durga puja that is celebrated in India today.

The essence of Durga Puja

Every year the idol of the goddess Durga is worshipped along with her four children Kartikeya, Ganesha, Saraswati, and Lakshmi. These gods are depicted with their powers and ‘vahan’. Massive pendols are set up with different activities organized for the people to come together and celebrate the spirit of Maa Durga. Festivities like Anjali, Aarti, Shoshti pujo and many other rituals are performed with their significance for adding a sense of rejuvenation to our lives.

The essence of Durga puja is that of power and faith. We believe in the power that the goddess bestows on us and have faith that we will be shown the right light in whatever we seek in life. Every year thousands of Indians seek this blessing and move ahead with a refreshed spirit. What is special about Durga puja is the love people share for Durga Maa in their hearts, she is like a mother who protects, loves, empowers and uplifts. The energy and vibe around Durga puja celebrations in India, thus, remain unmatched to any other. Every year Maa blesses the country and the power of faith is strengthen in our hearts.

These are the best countries for tourists to visit in 2019, according to the WEF

Spain has topped the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s ranking of countries best equipped to welcome tourists in 2019.

The Mediterranean country, which has been named the most “travel-ready” nation by the WEF since 2015, was followed by France and Germany in the index. Japan and the United States rounded out the top five.

A total of 140 countries were included in the ranking, which the WEF publishes every other year.

The index was compiled by measuring 90 individual indicators in each country, which fell into categories such as environmental sustainability, health and hygiene, natural and cultural resources, and international openness.

However, in its report, published Wednesday, the WEF also warned that many countries were at a tourism “tipping point” — meaning surges in visitors threatened to overwhelm or damage the resources that attracted tourists in the first place.

This was particularly true for developing nations, the report said, calling for more work to be done by the tourism industry to help preserve cultural and natural assets.

One example of this was Thailand, the WEF said, where authorities were forced to close the famous Maya Bay cove after a rise in tourism caused extensive ecological damage to the area.

The 10 most attractive countries for tourists in 2019

10. Switzerland

GP: Switzerland 190716 EU

The shores of Lake GenevaOlaf Protze | LightRocket | Getty Images

Switzerland’s position in the top 10 hasn’t changed since 2017, with the small European nation scoring highly for its business environment, environmental sustainability and labor market.

The country isn’t just appealing to tourists, however — in HSBC’s 2019 expat survey, Switzerland was named the best place in the world to live and work, and the Swiss city of Zurich topped Deutsche Bank’s 2019 quality of life ranking.

9. Canada

GP: Moraine Lake, Banff

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.Matteo Colombo | DigitalVision | Getty Images

The WEF gave Canada the top scores in the Americas for safety and security, environmental sustainability and air transport infrastructure.

In August, data from Statistics Canada showed the number of American visitors to Canada during the first six months of 2019 was the highest it had been for that period since 2007.

8. Italy

GP: Gondolas

Venice, Italy.Halil Sarikaya / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

Italy’s ranking in the 2019 report was unchanged, with tourists flocking to its famous cultural sites like Rome and Florence.

The report’s authors noted that authorities in Venice have plans to redirect cruise ships away from the city’s central islands following public discontent.

“It is vital that policy-makers pay attention to these trends,” they said. “Failure to adequately address issues related to rising tourism numbers has the potential to negatively impact future competitiveness, making nations victims of their own success.”

7. Australia

Premium: Kangaroo jumping

Tier Und Naturfotografie J und C Sohns | Getty Images

Australia, famed for its diverse landscapes and unique wildlife, scored well for safety and tourist infrastructure but fell short in the price competitiveness category.

In May, Australia was named the top dream vacation destination in a survey of U.S. travellers.

6. United Kingdom

GP: Windsor Castle 190904 EU

A general view of the Long Walk leading to Windsor Castle on May 9, 2018 in Windsor, England.Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images

The U.K. slipped one place lower in this year’s ranking, receiving a low score for its price competitiveness.

Britain’s departure from the EU is expected to impact travel to the U.K., with experts at Oxford Economics predicting a no-deal Brexit may lead to a 4% increase in inbound tourism due to a weaker currency. Outbound tourism, however, would decline by 5%, economists said.

5. United States

GP: Merced River and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park 181226 Asia

Summer view along the Merced River in the Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaWillowpix | iStock | Getty Images

The U.S. overtook Britain this year to claim fifth place in the WEF’s ranking.

In June, U.S. News & World Report named three American locations in its 10 best vacation spots in the world: Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Maui, Hawaii.

4. Japan

GP: Tokyo 190826 ASIA

Tokyo urban aerial view at sunsetPhotography by ZhangXun | Moment | Getty Images

A record 31 million tourists visited Japan last year, according to the country’s tourism minister.

On Wednesday, a report by Mastercard showed that Tokyo was the ninth most-visited city in the world in 2018, with 12.93 million people traveling to the Japanese capital. Mastercard forecasted a 10% increase in tourism to Tokyo for 2019.

3. Germany

GP: Brandenburg Gate during sunset

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.Michael Zwahlen | EyeEm | Getty Images

In third place, Germany has been in the WEF’s top three most attractive tourist destinations since 2017.

Lonely Planet’s top recommendations for visitors to the country include trips to the cities of Berlin and Munich, as well as the Black Forest in southern Germany.

2. France

GP: Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower, Paris.Westend61 | Getty Images

Paris was the second-most visited city in the world last year, Mastercard’s research showed, with more than 19 million tourists flocking to the city.

The French capital also topped the U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Vacation Destinations ranking.

According to data from the French government, nearly 90 million tourists travelled to France in 2018, marking a new visitor record for the country, which hopes to welcome 100 million foreign tourists in 2020.

1. Spain

GP: Park Guell

Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain.Ihor_Tailwind | iStock | Getty Images

“Spain is both a stereotype come to life and a country more diverse than you ever imagined,” Lonely Planet says, highlighting the historical Alhambra in Granada and the beach resort of San Sebastian as must-see destinations.

The WEF said Spain remained the most competitive country for attracting tourists thanks to its rich natural and cultural resources.

Brand Activism Is Driving More Meaningful Connections

Companies with a purpose have a greater voice and more connectivity with buyers

Purchasing a product isn’t just a transaction: it’s about having a voice, making a statement and exercising power. Buyers today consider their purchases to be an extension of their views, beliefs and lifestyles. Buying today is a political act. And more than ever, it’s an opportunity to make an impact.

This reality is illustrated in recent data, which shows that 55% of consumers believe brands actually have a more important role than our governments to create a better future. Whether that says more about brands or governments is up for discussion, but an interesting figure does show that consumers expect brands to go beyond function and be socially impactful, take a stand and reflect our personal values.Brands also need to do the internal job of ensuring that the social causes they support are in line with their DNA.

Companies are responding to those calls of action through brand activism. The latest buzz about Gillette’s spot “The Best Men Can Be,” which has garnered nearly 30 million YouTube views or Nike’s “Dream Crazy” narrated by Colin Kaepernick, which has over 28.5 million views and counting, are illustrations of this phenomenon. In the case of Nike, it’s important to recall that despite the heated debate surrounding this campaign, Nike sales actually spiked.

This situation prompts the questions: Should a brand focus more visibly on activism instead of relaying that to the corporate CSR department, and does this drive better results?

Talking in a recent panel discussion about this topic, Neil Bennett, CEO of strategic advisory firm Maitland, described the disruption prompted by consumers’ expectations as “a massive tectonic shift in buying power and buying behavior, which is fundamentally reshaping the way corporations act.”

Other panelists noted that it’s not solely younger generations that are shifting their expectations. Remember that baby boomers are a generation that wrote the book on political activism. Statistics reveal that 63% of boomers said they expect more than just a product from a brand. Not surprisingly, the younger the consumer, the more that expectation rises: 76% of Gen Xers, 84% of millennials and 87% of Gen Z say that they expect more. The conclusion is that everyone wants more from a brand.

Of course, with greater engagement, there often comes more scrutiny, and brands must be ready to engage with fervent activists, a questioning public and sometimes doubtful customers. Brands also need to do the internal job of ensuring that the social causes they support are in line with their DNA. It’s not about hijacking a social cause because it’s trendy.

This approach is imperative for brands that want their messages to resonate with consumers on a more emotional level. And that’s all part of creating and participating in a genuine, meaningful dialogue that’s good for business, both figuratively and literally.

Can green investment help relaunch Germany’s economy?

A recession looms for Germany and the European Central Bank is pleading for governments to spend more to revitalize economic growth. Yet despite having the luxury of borrowing money for less than nothing, the German government is keeping a tight rein on its finances.

A debate over Germany’s devotion to budget austerity is intensifying as the outlook for the economy dims and public pressure grows to address big issues such as global warming. On Friday, the government will unveil a raft of measures that could include billions in incentives and spending to make the economy more environmentally-friendly.

“The call for fiscal stimulus has never been louder,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist for the bank ING Germany. “And this week will show whether the eurozone country with the deepest pockets finally plans to empty them.”

The slowdown in growth across Europe, blamed largely on the U.S.-China trade conflict and uncertainty about Brexit, is putting a sharp focus on Germany’s devotion to the so-called “Schwarze Null,” or “black zero,” which refers to the policy of balancing the budget — the zero — with at least a small surplus to keep it in the black.

The debate over government spending policy affects the entire 19-country eurozone, since more government outlays by Germany and other fiscally sound countries such as the Netherlands could help support growth by building new infrastructure, such as roads, rail lines or high-speed internet, or by gathering less in taxes.

The German government has so far shown little willingness to change its stance. It has ignored repeated pleas from the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, who said last week it was “high time” for government spending to take over as the main tool of economic policy. The central bank announced interest rate cuts and bond purchases in an attempt to ward off a downturn.

The government argues it’s important to reduce debt while the economy is growing and not to burden future generations. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz submitted a balanced draft budget of 360 billion euros ($400 billion) for 2020 last week and Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech before the German Taxpayers’ Federation that the government was sticking to its balanced budget, “not as a goal in itself, as we are often accused of doing, but because clear economic reasons and fairness aspects argue for that.”

Merkel noted that Germany’s total debt would fall below 60% of gross domestic product — the limit for countries that use the euro — for the first time since 2002. The German constitution itself sharply limits deficits to 0.35% of GDP except in a crisis, yet the government’s surpluses go well beyond that requirement.

While the German government may not be giving up on balanced budgets, there are signs it is at least easing up the zeal with which it amasses surpluses.

Last year’s surplus of 1.9% of GDP has fallen to 1.4% this year and is expected to hit 0.9% next year — meaning that the government is already providing some fiscal stimulus. Germany’s economy shrank 0.1% in the second quarter and underlying figures are pointing to another quarter of contraction, which would put the country in a technical recession.

It is striking that the government refuses any new borrowing at a time when it can do so at negative interest rates — meaning it would get paid back more than it borrows. German 10-year bonds currently yield minus 0.48%, and the government was able to sell a 30-year bond at a negative interest rate in August.

Marcel Fratscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, has called the balanced budget a “false fetish.” His institute has argued that Germany needs to invest in long-term modernization projects such as extending digital services in rural areas.

The president of the Federation of German Industries, Dieter Kempf, said in an interview with Der Spiegel that “it’s worth considering sensible use of the space,” allowed by the constitution to fund more investment.

The calls to spend are not coming only from those concerned about the economy, but also climate activists who say more needs to be done to shift the world economy from carbon-intensive industries and consumption. Public pressure has only grown after the country witnessed its hottest summer on record and the opposition Greens party made big gains in elections to the European Parliament and in domestic polls.

On Friday, the government is expected to unveil a package of incentives aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from homes and autos so that Germany can meet its goals under the 2015 Paris climate accord. Possible measures include incentives to replace old heating systems or to purchase battery-powered autos. A report in Die Welt newspaper said the government was considering measures totaling some 40 billion euros ($44 billion) through 2023.

Brzeski said such a program “would not be enough to stop the slide of the economy toward recessionary territory, but it could be an important cornerstone in Germany’s recovery and its quest for a new economic model.”

Spending on that level would only be “a slow-motion stimulus” since it will take time to roll, said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg bank.

“It will add up over time and support domestic demand,” he said. “However, the German stimulus will not be a European, let alone a global, game changer.”

Huawei promises smartest 5G phone, but who will be brave enough to buy?

Huawei launches what could be the world’s most powerful and feature-packed 5G smartphone on Thursday, but the fate of the device in Europe will hang on whether it can overcome a U.S. ban to give customers the Google software they expect.FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany, September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The Chinese telecoms giant will showcase its Mate 30 range in Munich, Germany, in its first unveiling of an all-new phone since President Donald Trump hit the Shenzhen-based company with an export ban in May.

“The launch will be the most watched ever,” said telecoms and media analyst Paolo Pescatore.

“Despite all the concerns surrounding Huawei, and the challenges it faces, it remains defiant and prepared to soldier on.”

The No.2 smartphone maker is caught in the fallout of a trade conflict between Washington and Beijing that analysts say is morphing into a technology cold war. It expects the U.S. ban to cost it $10 billion.

Holding the launch in Europe underlines the importance of the region’s 500 million consumers to Huawei. It lost five percentage points in market share here following the U.S. ban, even as buyers rallied to its brand at home.

Huawei has been running an online marketing campaign here with the slogan “Rethink Possibilities”, recruiting fans to spread the word about the launch. The same website will livestream the event, which starts at 2 pm (1200 GMT).


The build-up has been marked by uncertainty over whether buyers of the flagship Android device will be able to use apps supported by Google.

Google, the unit of Silicon Valley tech giant Alphabet (GOOGL.O) says it won’t be possible to sell the Mate 30 with licensed Google apps and services, which include the Play Store or popular tools like Gmail or Maps.

Huawei, for its part, hopes to run the phone on Android 10, the latest version of the operating system, and have access to Google Mobile Services.

Without those, say analysts, consumers won’t want the phone – unless Huawei can find a way to convince them that its features are unmatched and its home-grown Harmony operating system is a good-enough fallback option.

Huawei says the phone’s ‘brain’ – the Kirin 990 chipset unveiled at a recent tech fair in Berlin – outperforms the Qualcomm-powered (QCOM.O) 5G phones already on the market from market leader Samsung (005930.KS).

In particular, the ‘big core-tiny core’ configuration of the hardware means it can run power-hungry applications like artificial intelligence or support online gaming, while saving battery on routine tasks.

The Mate 30 range’s look and feel will be superior to Apple’s (AAPL.O) new iPhone 11s, according to analyst Richard Windsor, who said leaked photos showed an attractive circular triple-camera set-up.

“Huawei has Apple soundly beaten when it comes to form factor design but even these beautiful-looking devices are going to struggle to see any volume without the Google ecosystem,” Windsor said in a note.

Analysts are keen to learn when the phone will actually ship and how the pricing of the top-end Mate 30 Pro compares with Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, which retails at $1,299, and the iPhone 11 Pro that starts at $999 but lacks 5G connectivity.

Windsor expects Huawei to offer three further models – the Mate 30, the Mate 30 Lite and a Porsche Design version.

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