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Old 2012-03-11, 00:06   Link #20041
ganbaru
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Italy tax twists throw luxury market in disarray
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...8270P820120308
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Old 2012-03-11, 00:11   Link #20042
Sumeragi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
It will be a great news for consumers if everything assembled in China is counted as domestic product. I don't know if they ship these things outside then inside for the Chinese market, but what I do know that we pay tariff for everything with a foreign brand from Nike shoes, IBM/lenovo laptops (yes, you read it correctly, LENOVO laptops) to ipad and iphones. As a result, the domestic price is actually higher than those on the US or HK market, so it is actually lucrative business for smugglers. I have heard explanations such as that we need to pay extra since the patents (the design or high tech processors etc.) are held by foreign nations. But I don't know how credible such explanation is.
I think there's another element to the higher prices. Aside from the state-side parts (tariffs, quotas, etc), there is the basic higher demand. Those who have the money would rather buy foreign rather than domestic, and that adds to the price. I noticed this difference in how Nike shoes in Korea were a lot cheaper than in Japan, US, Canada, mainly because there isn't as high a demand for Nike shoes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
You'd be correct you meant component such as mother boards. But for the assembly, it is definitely in China.
What matters is that assembly is the smallest component of the entire price. More than half of the price comes from the cost of buying components from Japan/Korea/Taiwan, and after taking out the assembly and shipping costs, there's still plenty of other things to consider. Take in all that, and the actual contribution from PRC's labor force is minimal at best.
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Old 2012-03-11, 00:36   Link #20043
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
It will be a great news for consumers if everything assembled in China is counted as domestic product. I don't know if they ship these things outside then inside for the Chinese market, but what I do know that we pay tariff for everything with a foreign brand from Nike shoes, IBM/lenovo laptops (yes, you read it correctly, LENOVO laptops) to ipad and iphones. As a result, the domestic price is actually higher than those on the US or HK market, so it is actually lucrative business for smugglers. I have heard explanations such as that we need to pay extra since the patents (the design or high tech processors etc.) are held by foreign nations. But I don't know how credible such explanation is.
That's what I have heard too. I don't see how such the high prices are part of "patent royalties", I think the higher prices are some sort of invisible tax buried under a six-foot tall plaque of legal jargon to stifle foreign competition and simulate consumption of local MIC goods - they seem to be rather skeptical about the outflow of cash from their country through exchange rates.

OFC, Sumeragi could be right though :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
I think there's another element to the higher prices. Aside from the state-side parts (tariffs, quotas, etc), there is the basic higher demand. Those who have the money would rather buy foreign rather than domestic, and that adds to the price. I noticed this difference in how Nike shoes in Korea were a lot cheaper than in Japan, US, Canada, mainly because there isn't as high a demand for Nike shoes.
Quote:
What matters is that assembly is the smallest component of the entire price. More than half of the price comes from the cost of buying components from Japan/Korea/Taiwan, and after taking out the assembly and shipping costs, there's still plenty of other things to consider. Take in all that, and the actual contribution from PRC's labor force is minimal at best.
It depends on where the component-manufacturer is. A recent trend I see in Chinese companies is that they are setting up their own manufacture facilities for the smallest components to avoid shipping prices; I know of a supplier dealing in solar panels that his factory took the polycrystal cells from another manufacturer from China, assembled them elsewhere in there then send it for QC in Shanghai, before sending the thing for export.

The whole thing is Made in China, other than the brand which is printed in the country of the retailer. And now he is wringing his hands at the trade row between US and China regarding solar panels because most of his clients are there; I told him not to bother and go find clients elsewhere.
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Old 2012-03-11, 00:39   Link #20044
mechabao
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Iraq militia stone youths to death for "emo" style
Quote:
(Reuters) - At least 14 youths have been stoned to death in Baghdad in the past three weeks in what appears to be a campaign by Shi'ite militants against youths wearing Western-style "emo" clothes and haircuts, security and hospital sources say.

Militants in Shi'ite neighborhoods where the stonings have taken place circulated lists on Saturday naming more youths targeted to be killed if they do not change the way they dress.

The killings have taken place since Iraq's interior ministry drew attention to the "emo" subculture last month, labeling it "Satanism" and ordering a community police force to stamp it out.

"Emo" is a form of punk music developed in the United States. Fans are known for their distinctive dress, often including tight jeans, T-shirts with logos and distinctive long or spiky haircuts.

At least 14 bodies of youths have been brought to three hospitals in eastern Baghdad bearing signs of having been beaten to death with rocks or bricks, security and hospital sources told Reuters under condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Nine bodies were brought to hospitals in Sadr City, a vast, poor Shi'ite neighborhood, three were brought to East Baghdad's main al-Kindi hospital and two were brought to the central morgue, medical sources said.

Six other young people, including two girls, were wounded in beatings intended as warnings, the security sources said...
There are times when I wish I had godlike powers so I could unleash some well-deserved smiting on these religious extremists.
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Old 2012-03-11, 03:56   Link #20045
Haak
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Don't we all...
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Old 2012-03-11, 04:12   Link #20046
Azumanga Davo
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I suppose they've really got something to be down about now.

Too soon...
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Old 2012-03-11, 05:34   Link #20047
Ridwan
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Who had the bright idea to occupy Iraq and enflame sectarianism again ?
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Old 2012-03-11, 05:59   Link #20048
Haak
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One could perhaps say that Americas support for the Shi'ite fraction has led certain Shi'ite fractions to believe that they can now do whatever the hell they want, but that's an indirect cause. In reality this has little to do with the Sunni-Shi'ite conflict. Whilst you can put some of the blame on the US for allowing these dicks to flourish, most the blame still falls on the extremists themselves. Note that even Moqtada al-Sadr condemned the stonings.
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Old 2012-03-11, 06:09   Link #20049
Ridwan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
One could perhaps say that Americas support for the Shi'ite fraction has led certain Shi'ite fractions to believe that they can now do whatever the hell they want, but that's an indirect cause. In reality this has little to do with the Sunni-Shi'ite conflict. Whilst you can put some of the blame on the US for allowing these dicks to flourish, most the blame still falls on the extremists themselves. Note that even Sadr condemned the stonings.
They are dicks that no one should defend, of course. But had Saddam been toppled by the recent Arab Spring instead of military coercion, there would've been much less damage done. No a decade-long armed turbulence under foreign occupation which devastated the economy and fertilizing hatred on everything that can be considered enemy. Life hardships and poverty have always been the main enabler of crazy ideas to spread among the people.
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Old 2012-03-11, 06:39   Link #20050
Haak
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Just because America screwed up the occupation doesn't neccessarily mean they just shouldn't have intervened. It just means they screwed up the occupation. Had they got their counter-insurgency strategy right from the beggining, then Iraq probably wouldn't have most of the problems it has now.

And there's no guaruntee that the Arab spring would've solved everything. For one thing it hasn't solved Syria. And it hasn't neccessairly solved Libya either.
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Old 2012-03-11, 06:57   Link #20051
Ridwan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
1) Just because America screwed up the occupation doesn't neccessarily mean they just shouldn't have intervened. It just means they screwed up the occupation. Had they got their counter-insurgency strategy right from the beggining, then Iraq probably wouldn't have most of the problems it has now.

2) And there's no guaruntee that the Arab spring would've solved everything. For one thing it hasn't solved Syria. And it hasn't neccessairly solved Libya either.
1) They really shouldn't have invaded Iraq. It was an enormous money drain and created an enemy US never actually needs.
Though yes, at least had they sent more troops in number according to the suggestion of the military experts US could've pacified the country sooner. But even that wouldn't have been good enough

2) Maybe, but the extent of economic devastation and social radicalization by a period of military violence that Iraq has suffered now could've been prevented. It's a plus.
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Old 2012-03-11, 07:06   Link #20052
Sumeragi
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Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
But had Saddam been toppled by the recent Arab Spring instead of military coercion
I doubt there would have been the Jasmine Revolutions if Saddam was still around.
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Old 2012-03-11, 08:05   Link #20053
Ridwan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
I doubt there would have been the Jasmine Revolutions if Saddam was still around.
I'm not sure. Saddam was actually already teteering on the edge just prior to US invasion thanks to the crippling sanctions Iraq was suffering under. Some would argue that it would've actually been earlier, only on the slower pace/more localized to Mashriq since Iraq wasn't pivotal to Arab world as Egypt. Then again, Saddam was the icon of power of Arab dictatorships, and him losing face to the face to US would serve as delegitimization of Arab dictatorships, at least the anti-American ones.

But even with otherwise, it still stands hat having Saddam still around would still be better then destruction by ill-executed and illegitimate military occupation. They should've at least waited until Iraq turning into the then-Libya and intervened Libya-style. That is, if their actual concern being spreading democracy, of course...


================================================


Meanwhile, in France...

Quote:
Sarkozy’s Xenophobia: French President Panders to the Extreme-Right

By Bruce Crumley

French economic growth is slowing, unemployment is rising, Greece is still a risk to default, and the crisis-rocked euro—while somewhat stabilized of late—is still not out of the existential woods. Yet despite those burning concerns topping the list worried French voters are contemplating as they near general elections, France’s campaigning President Nicolas Sarkozy this week declared “the biggest concern of French people is halal meat.” Who knew?

And not to be contradicted by polls indicating public opinion regards economic and employment issues as by far the most critical considerations in selecting its next leader, Sarkozy on Tuesday night suggested France’s real problem is “we have too many foreigners”. Sarkozy’s Hungarian immigrant father has been warned.
If all that sounds like the conservative Sarkozy imitating National Front leader Marine Le Pen, that’s because it is—at least in the view of political analysts, pundits, and foreign observers. Many of those commentators interpret the president’s renewed embrace of positions dear to the extreme-right as a cynical yet desperate effort to recruit new backers to his uphill re-election bid. But while that strategy may have been vital to Sarkozy’s 2007 win, there are signs his 2012 re-do is failing to turn the rather grim re-election outlook around.

This week’s overture to the extreme-right isn’t the first time Sarkozy has sought to woo National Front (FN) voters by echoing some of their traditional themes. In his 2007 campaign, his hard line stances on crime, immigration, and restoring order to France’s troubled housing projects won over a large enough segment of FN backers to lift him to victory over Socialist rival Ségolène Royal. Since taking the Elysée, Sarkozy has made similar nods to the extreme-right (and with re-election in mind) by creating a National Identity ministry, holding debates on what constitutes Frenchness, rounding up and expelling thousands of Roma, and raising questions about the place and influence of Islam in France that some Muslims equate with low-grade Islamophobia.

Indeed, Sarkozy’s comments Monday revisited what has become the hot topic of Islam on the French right. During a stump visit in Picardy, Sarkozy claimed (incorrectly, polls say) the French public’s biggest worry is unknowingly buying and consuming meat slaughtered according to halal practices (rather than culled in the generic, industrial fashion). In doing so Sarkozy simply piggy-backed an earlier stir Le Pen had sparked with her equally false allegations that all meat sold in super markets is halal—unbeknownst to consumers. It made for much noise among the chattering classes, but was largely an ephemeral distraction to French voters mostly concerned about the economy.

Then Tuesday night, Sarkozy used a nationally televised appearance to again make eyes at the FN, stating both the number and integration of foreigners in France had become a problem. If re-elected, Sarkozy pledged to confront that by slashing the influx of immigrants from 180,000 to 100,000 per year, and limiting some of the social benefits foreigners now enjoy along with French citizens

Does that seem a bit hypocritical from the son of a Hungarian immigrant who not only included African-born people in his cabinet, but at one time also bucked a French taboo by calling for “positive discrimination” to help minorities overcome rampant discrimination? Perhaps, but this is electoral crunch time, and the deeply unpopular Sarkozy may not have the luxury of forsaking his dubious (but winning) 2007 strategy of appealing to the extreme-right. The first round of French presidential voting looms April 22, and he hasn’t much time to reverse Socialist front-runner François Hollande’s enduring lead.

Though Sarkozy experienced an anticipated lift in polls after he officially declared his re-election bid Feb. 15, missteps, overly aggressive language towards Hollande, and his own remarkable unpopularity have prevented him from closing the gap further. Worse still, recent surveys show Hollande’s projected first round score stabilizing at just over 30% of the vote, while Sarkozy’s has slid back to 23%. Polls also project the Socialist clobbering the incumbent in the May 6 run-off by double digits with crooked numbers.

Despite that considerable handicap with less than six weeks to go, however, no one is ruling out the possibility of a peerless campaign animal like Sarkozy turning things around. Indeed, even Hollande’s camp remains wary of the magic he’s worked previously in his career, and his reputation as a fierce political brawler.

Yet the frequency and animation of Team Sarkozy’s beckoning to FN voters suggests it may be feeling some panic—even desperation—despite assurances it doesn’t doubt victory. Indeed, Sarkozy’s nods to the extreme-right have come in the wake of repeated controversies his Interior Minister and closest adviser, Claude Guéant, has provoked with remarks many commentators have decried as Islamophobic (including his efforts to invade Le Pen’s manufactured halal debate). Perhaps more significant still, the normally staid, decidedly temperate Prime Minister François Fillon was forced to placate Muslim and Jewish leaders Wednesday after he publicly dismissed both halal and kosher slaughtering rules as “ancestral traditions” that today don’t “mean anything because in the past they were related to hygiene concerns”. Meat hasn’t been this political since the last PETA barbeque.

But is all amounting to anything? While there’s no question Sarkozy’s wooing of FN voters was central to his 2007 triumph, it’s far from clear his attempts to repeat that have been anything but counter-productive. His earlier bows the extreme-right have usually fueled surges of popularity and support by Le Pen—not Sarkozy—including among mainstream voters who previously considered the FN off-limits. That relative mainstreaming effect on the formerly pariah Le Pen has also increased the risk of her matching her father’s 2000 coup by similarly qualifying for the second run-off spot. That threat—further enhanced by Sarkozy’s dire popularity and approval scores—even led some French conservatives to question whether the president should stand down and let a more electable (and less controversial) replacement represent the mainstream right.

There was never any chance Sarkozy and his presidential cortege were going to let that happen, and virtually all his ruling right has closed ranks behind him since. Yet unease persists. Despite Sarkozy’s recent moves, polls suggest very few FN backers are heeding his call. Those same surveys also indicate a sizeable number of conservatives and centrists who supported Sarkozy in 2007 have now dumped him—in many cases in disgust of his pandering to a camp many in France consider xenophobic, or even racist.

Meaning, if a magisterial campaigner like Sarkozy beats the odds and pulls his re-election out of a hat, he probably won’t like the looks of revulsion he’ll be getting from half of the country for the next five years.
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Old 2012-03-11, 09:18   Link #20054
andyjay729
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I'm not surprised either, especially with the FDA. My grandma, who worked as a secretary at Yale's hospital for many years, has called the FDA "a joke".
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Old 2012-03-11, 09:23   Link #20055
ganbaru
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Western forces kill 15 civilians in Afghanistan: Kabul government
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...82A02V20120311
It won't help thing there but I wouldn't be surprised if the impact wil be less than the last ''Koran burning''.
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Old 2012-03-11, 13:08   Link #20056
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
Just because America screwed up the occupation doesn't neccessarily mean they just shouldn't have intervened. It just means they screwed up the occupation. Had they got their counter-insurgency strategy right from the beggining, then Iraq probably wouldn't have most of the problems it has now.

And there's no guaruntee that the Arab spring would've solved everything. For one thing it hasn't solved Syria. And it hasn't neccessairly solved Libya either.
The US invaded Iraq under false pretenses - there's really no disputing that whether it was malicious or just incompetency. The US *invented* other reasons later (nation building, blah blah) but that was mission creep of the highest order. And then finally the US got trapped there because one should try to pick up a mess one made... and the US couldn't even handle that well.
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Old 2012-03-11, 14:06   Link #20057
Haak
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Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
1) They really shouldn't have invaded Iraq. It was an enormous money drain and created an enemy US never actually needs.
Though yes, at least had they sent more troops in number according to the suggestion of the military experts US could've pacified the country sooner. But even that wouldn't have been good enough

2) Maybe, but the extent of economic devastation and social radicalization by a period of military violence that Iraq has suffered now could've been prevented. It's a plus.
1) Yeah I also think invading Iraq was an ultimate waste of time for the US but that's arguing from the perspective of US interests, not Iraq. The number troops isn't the only reason counter-insurgency failed from the beggining (though it was a big one). There were also a lot of other reasons like the allowance of mass looting, and abuse from the US military both in pirsons and in operations, and operating from bases isolated from the general populace as well as policies that enflamed sectarianism such as debaathification and the support of Shi'ites who were linked with death squads as well as not doing anything about those God damn death squads...Personally I think if they avoided all that then it would've worked.

2) Economic devastation? Would another 10 years of crippling sanctions made it any better (Genuinly asking: This is the first I've heard of such an argument)? Whilst they have suffered a lot, I always thought their economy now is slightly better. The fact that there is even an emo culture in Baghdad in the first place is something in itself. Besides, I think the military violence could've been the same anyway. The problem with the US approach to Iraq in the first three years was that they weren't able to do much for Iraq besides removing Saddam Hussein. If the Shi'ites managed to remove Saddam then we probably would've seen the same debaathification and the resulting inflmmation of sectarianism. It all depends on whether the Sunni's would've helped as well and we can't say for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
The US invaded Iraq under false pretenses - there's really no disputing that whether it was malicious or just incompetency. The US *invented* other reasons later (nation building, blah blah) but that was mission creep of the highest order. And then finally the US got trapped there because one should try to pick up a mess one made... and the US couldn't even handle that well.
Yeah I know. It's just that the problem to me seems that America tries to do good things despite the blatant insincerity behind it, which inevitable turns those good things into rotten ones. Instead of saying that they shouldn't try to do those good things, I think we should say that if they're going to do them then they ought to do it with sincerity. But I guess that may not be in America's best interest since there's not really anything in it for them...
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Old 2012-03-11, 16:16   Link #20058
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
Yeah I know. It's just that the problem to me seems that America tries to do good things despite the blatant insincerity behind it, which inevitable turns those good things into rotten ones. Instead of saying that they shouldn't try to do those good things, I think we should say that if they're going to do them then they ought to do it with sincerity. But I guess that may not be in America's best interest since there's not really anything in it for them...
Despite the cynicism about America's reasons for going into Iraq, I suspect that a good many behind the decision sincerely did have good intentions behind it. The problem was a bit of self-centeredness. Few would deny that Saddam Hussein was doing terrible things, and that getting rid of him was something that probably saved many. But what next? Many of my fellow Americans seem to feel that our society and government models are the best, and that we're doing other countries a favor by going in, stomping their government, and then giving them the blueprints and initial setup for something that resembles our own.

I think that what America has works for America. I don't know that it's the best or most desirable model for everyone around the world. Even if it is, I'd rather that they choose it for themselves.

The long-term planning wasn't so hot because it seemed as if the government expected that things would go smoothly once the initial new government was set up. But the Iraqis are not the same as Americans, and the cultural background and historical experiences that they hold are quite different from our own. It remains to be seen how their society will hold together given the intracultural rifts that exist, now unbound by an external dictatorship.

Would it have been better in the long run if Saddam had been left in power, and if we had simply played a supporting role when the Iraqis eventually rose against him? We'll get a better sense of that as time goes on, but we'll never really know.
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Old 2012-03-11, 21:16   Link #20059
TigerII
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
Western forces kill 15 civilians in Afghanistan: Kabul government
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...82A02V20120311
It won't help thing there but I wouldn't be surprised if the impact wil be less than the last ''Koran burning''.


This story has changed. Now it is a single U.S. Soldier who went house to house on a killing spree.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/11/world/...html?hpt=hp_t1

He should face a firing squad, but a Marine in Iraq got demoted and his pay cut for killing 24 Iraqi civilians.

No wonder the entire world despises us.
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Old 2012-03-11, 22:05   Link #20060
ganbaru
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Down but not out, sick Chavez seeks re-election in Venezuela
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...82A07720120311
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