Amazon announces plans to create more than 100,000 US chores

Online retailer prepares to expand full-time US workforce by more than 50% over next 18 months, with hires from Florida to California

Amazon plans to create more than 100,000 jobs in the United States, from software growth to warehouse run, becoming the latest company to boast a hire spree since Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November.

The worlds largest online retailer announced on Thursday that it would grow its full-time US workforce by more than 50% to more than 280,000 in the next 18 months.

Amazon is expending heavily on new warehouses in order to be allowed to stock goods closer to customers and fulfill orders quickly and inexpensively. The new hires, from Florida to Texas to California, will be key to the companys promise of two-day shipping in the membership of its Amazon Prime shopping club, which has given it an edge over rivals.

A BGC Partners analyst, Colin Gillis, said hiring was expected. Amazon continues to meaningfully grow above e-commerce rates and continues to take share from traditional retailers, he told.

The e-commerce giant said in October it would add 26 fulfillment centres in 2016, mostly in Northern america. More are under construction.

The new jobs will extend beyond Amazons Seattle headquarters to communities across the United States, CEO Jeff Bezos said in the release. Amazon did not break down what share of jobs would go to corporate roles versus fulfillment run.
A spokesman for Trumps transition team dedicated the president-elect partial credit for the announcement.

The president-elect met with heads of several of the tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States, spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

Job creation has become a hot-button political issue since the 8 November election. Ford Motor Co last week reversed plans for a $1.6 bn factory in Mexico and said it would add 700 employment opportunities in Michigan after receiving criticism from Trump.
The president-elect on Wednesday said he would be the greatest undertakings producer that God ever created.

Trump had criticized Amazon during his campaign, telling the technology giant did not pay its fair share of taxes.

Amazon shares were up less than 1% in early afternoon trading.

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Why conservative Christians are losing faith in the Republican party

In southern Louisiana, a variety of people on the religious right tell Sam Thielman they no longer know whom they should vote for

Conservative Christians no longer agree on how to vote their collective conscience in America.

To liberals, this group has acted for 40 years with incredible political discipline so often, and with such force, that it seems like a single unit moving in lockstep. But in populous, rural southern Louisiana, a decidedly various body of believers representative of much of American Christendom argues about how to proceed. As the ghost of Ronald Reagan loosens its grip on the party, a vital segment is directionless. Many are solidly opposed to Hillary Clinton; many more are disgusted with Donald Trump.

Today, Henry Beck and Frank Fury, who graduated from the same high school in 1960, are arguing about politics with an agility that comes from regular practice. At the Faith Presbyterian mens luncheon at Mortons Boiled Seafood and Bar, a restaurant on the bank of of the Tchefuncte river in Covington, Louisiana, their pastor, Jason Wood, 32, watches quietly.

Its a warm Thursday in May; a sign outside reads HOT BOILED SEAFOOD WHEN ARROW IS FLASHING, which it is.

Fury is short, enthusiastic and turns a memorable phrase: the south, he contends, gets a bum rap. This is the place of Walker Percy, the great intellect, Fury reminds me.

Beck, tall, deep-voiced and clad in suspenders, is unmoved: Theres a lotta rednecks here, Frank.

That writer from Mississippi Faulkner! And the little girl who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird! Shes from Alabama.

The men are polite, but nervous about talking politics to a reporter. As Van Wilson, the only attendee over 90 years old, says grace over the meal, he asks that God would show me that we southerners are no different from anyone else, and that we love the Lord.

This isnt meant to sting, but it does. Though I live in New York now, I grew up in a town of 600 people in the Blue Ridge mountains and went to college in Birmingham, Alabama, where Wood was my roommate. I go to church every week and I love the Lord, too.

I also recognize the impulse: No one likes to be stereotyped, and blue-state liberals often sneer at rural conservatives who vote against abortion access and gay rights on principle. And those liberals tend to be vindictive when they see those same peoples home cities and states suffer in large part because politicians paying lip service to conservative religious ideology have used their positions to vampirize the standard of living through corporate tax giveaways, union-busting, old-fashioned graft, or as is too often the case in Louisiana all three.

Many understand that theyve been exploited to further the deregulation of trade and labor; theyre just not sure what to do about it.

Hot boiled seafood when arrow is flashing

Faith Presbyterian church in Covington. Photograph: Sean Gardner for the Guardian

At lunch, the topic is the problem of populism, and the specific subject is Trump, a figure who divides politically and theologically conservative Christians as sharply as he does any group in the nation.

The Barna Group, a polling organization that specializes in Christian belief, found in May that while 81% of evangelicals a term the group carefully defines have a negative opinion of Clinton, 67% dislike Trump just as much.

Few of them including his supporters can look at Trump and see anything but a philandering, amoral grifter. He also doesnt have a credible religious leader trying to field the concerns of Christians for him; those who have gotten close, such as Joel Osteen (whose prosperity gospel theology is more popular with notional believers than with regular churchgoers) or James Dobson, have been ridiculed.

The cult of personality is a familiar sight to Fury. We didnt like Huey Long, he says pointedly. We didnt like him for the same reasons we dont like Donald Trump. Or Mussolini or Adolf Hitler.

Beck, who objects to the term evangelical (It used to mean being like Billy Graham, he sighs fondly) wont say that he likes Trump, but he is excited about the candidacy. He has no political baggage at all, Beck says. In his youth a passionate liberal, Beck, a navy veteran, now relishes the position more conservative voices have found outside the mainstream. Its hard to argue with a rural Louisianan that entrenched bad actors in the government arent at least part of the problem. Along these lines, Beck describes Fury as a a big socialist, probably to get his goat, but Fury simply nods his assent.

I dont like government, but boy, Ive got to have government, Fury says. If I dont have somebody to protect me, what do I do?

Some tell me they arent sure they want to vote at all.

Linda Arendt, another Faith Presbyterian parishioner, says shes not convinced she wants to vote for anyone in the race she saw a meme (she says mme were not far from New Orleans) of a little boy having the most awful tantrum, saying, Please dont make me vote for any of these people. I dont like any of these people. For her, that sums it up.

Frank Fury, Jason Wood, Sam Thielman and Henry Beck outside Mortons Boiled Seafood & Bar. Photograph: Sean Gardner for the Guardian

At least hes my dog in the hunt

Many associate conservative Christianity with slick beltway creatures like Ralph Reed or grassroots lobbyists like Jerry Fallwells Moral Majority and James Dobsons Family Research Council. But those are the symptoms of a discontent built on the back of Roe v Wade in 1973 the ruling that made abortion legal and codified in Ronald Reagans 1976 address to the Republican National Convention.

There is no substitute for victory, Reagan told the gathering in what was ostensibly a concession speech. Ford, a more moderate candidate, had already bowed to pressure from the conservative wing of the party and dropped his vice-presidential choice, Nelson Rockefeller, from the ticket in favor of Bob Dole. When Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, Reagans words seemed prophetic and they helped usher in an era of uncompromising opposition to socially liberal politics by any means necessary.

That is largely why Jay Avance, pastor of First Baptist church in Baker, has no problem being designated evangelical, and sees a vote for Trump as pure realpolitik.

Trump has said hes Presbyterian of course, when you say Two Corinthians as opposed to Second Corinthians, hes probably not a very good one, Avance laughs. But I think the fact is [First Baptists congregants] are looking for somebody thats gonna defend their way of life. Avance cites the openings on the supreme court as a point of concern he admires the staunchly anti-abortion Antonin Scalia, who died in February and says this isnt his first rodeo, at least as far as supporting a distasteful politician goes.

In the election that we just had here in Louisiana, of course they voted in a Democrat governor, which I do not like, and itll be better when hes gone, Avance says. But the fact of the matter is the guy he was running against had been mired in controversy for having extramarital affairs and this kind of business. The Republican David Vitter, the states senior senator, was pilloried throughout his campaign for his full-throated condemnation of same-sex unions he tended to blame Hollywood which he said violated the sanctity of marriage before and after his own prostitution bust.

Avance doesnt care. Everybody kept saying, How can you support him? Hes a dog, Avance says. And I said, Let me tell you this story I heard from a hunter: he said, Out there in my yard, I have a dog thats my hunting dog. Now, hes a dog, but hes my dog. He runs the squirrels I want him to run. So he might be a dog, but at least hes my dog in the hunt.

They have a passion against Donald Trump

Alfred N Young Jr poses for a photo at Covenant church. Photograph: Sean Gardner for the Guardian

Not everyone wants a dog. Alfred Young Jr has been a pastor in southern Louisiana for decades. Young, who is black, describes himself as a product of the Ninth Ward, the historically impoverished New Orleans neighborhood that was crushed into sticks by hurricane Katrina.

Like Avance, he is socially conservative and somewhat cynical about politics, but for different reasons.

Republicans constantly say to black Americans that [their] values are more aligned with if youre Christian the biblical values that we have, Young says. Thats very true. But it isnt enough, Young says: compassion is a Christian virtue, too, and his black parishioners dont see enough of it from the right. The message that black evangelicals pick up from Republicans is: Were right, but we dont care.

Indeed, black conservative Christians have rarely rallied to Republicans and conservative politicians have gone to great lengths to alienate them, from Reagans own human predator speech in New Orleans to the tragic lack of proportional response to need in the wake of Katrina.

Youngs mission is racial reconciliation; he leads an integrating small-majority white church in Covington, which, given congregational demographics in the south, where tiny towns often have one grocery store and two churches, is in itself strong evidence for the supernatural.

I hear people telling me all the time that since President Obama was elected, they feel like racial relations have gotten worse and they feel like they should have gotten better, Young says.

Young says many realized tensions werent going to ease when the South Carolina representative Joe Wilson stood up and screamed You lie! during Barack Obamas first State of the Union speech. It was, in Youngs words, the most disrespectful thing that could ever be, and there was not any major outcry.

I had forgotten that, I say.

Young chuckles. Black folk havent.

Young maintains close relationships across race and class lines among rural Louisianans he used to pastor another, poorer, majority-black church and he says polls woefully underestimate the very poor, who dont keep phone numbers for long and rarely answer an unlisted caller for fear of a bill collector. For those people, Trump has become an avatar of that disrespect. Young admits that poor black people can be induced to vote only if they have a passion, but they will show up in November, he says, because they have a one now: They have a passion against Donald Trump.

When Ronald Reagan came to Covington

Frank Fury and Jason Wood discuss politics and religion with members of the Faith Presbyterian church mens club. Photograph: Sean Gardner for the Guardian

The day before his parishioners fight about politics over seafood, Wood offers to show me the town. He is much younger than everyone else interviewed here, and hes a comparative newcomer to Covington, where he says his job and his familys living situation fell into alignment so evenly and quickly that he could credit nothing but providence.

The sights in Covington, seat of St. Tammany Parish, which is home to nearly a quarter of a million people, include a town square with a refurbished train station that serves as a community center. At the center of the square is a strikingly inappropriate statue of Ronald Reagan, in many ways the architect of the now crumbling alliance between evangelicals and conservative politicians.

Have you heard the story of when Ronald Reagan came to Covington? Wood asks me as his truck pulls around the corner, revealing a saluting Reagan in his glory.

No, I say.

Thats because he never did.

The statue reaches at least 15ft off the ground on a pedestal that comes with a good story, told by Harvey Marsolan, the owner of the hardware store across the street.

Marsolan delightedly tells me the pedestal was installed upside down. Its supposed to be narrow at the top! the deliverers of the statue told the installers of the pedestal, according to Harvey. But the city decided it was fine the way it was, or at least not worth the trouble to fix, and so the Gipper presides over Covington with his base installed wrong.

Not everyone in town cares for the statue, erected by a wealthy local man named Patrick Taylor in 2008.

There was a lot of people wondering why, but there it is, Marsolan said.

Its gonna be like this election. A lot of people arent gonna like it, but there it is.

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Why tech’s titans are struggling to work together against Trump’s havoc

Image: bloomberg via getty images

On a daily basis, Stewart Butterfield roasts Donald Trump on Twitter.

The Slack CEO is among the most outspoken leaders in the tech community when it comes to the new chairman, which induced it all the more surprising to consider his company missing from the list of 97 tech giants that signed onto an amicus brief resisting the recent Muslim travel banarguably the most unified, aggressive action ever taken by the industry on a political issue.

Turns out, Slack wasn’t a holdout. They just got left off an email.

“Slack heard about this when it appeared in the media and of course we support it, ” a Slack spokesperson explained over email Monday morning. “Its our understanding that a supplemental one is being filed and Slack will be on that list.”

So runs the behind-the-scenes madness as tech companies big and small work to triangulate public policy , now, on a near-hourly basisoften trying their best not to stray too far toward activism or be seen as too close to the administration.

As the tech industry has matured, many of its bigger players have begun to exert power in politics, thanks in part to deep pockets that can buy expensive lobbyists.

Lobbyists can help push friendly policy, but they’re not crisis directors. Under Trump, even veterans like Google face a threat they haven’t quite ensure before.

“The tech industry is younger historically, ” said Erik Grimmelmann, the president of the NY Tech Alliance, with decades working in tech under his belt. Trump’s recent actions have serve as a “wake up call” for better coordination. “I think the tech industry has had fewer people thinking about these matters than they realise they need.”

Slow, tone-deaf answers have already cost some companies greatly. Uber in particular has born the brunt of the anti-Trump movement, thanks in part to its CEO’s participation in one of the president’s business council. He has since stepped down from the board. Elon Musk, however, kept his spot. His companies SpaceX and Tesla were also not part of the original 97 but were present at the next round.

Slow, tone-deaf reactions have already expense some companies greatly.

Many companies had clearly been hedging their wagers. Politico reported Tuesday that several of the tech giants who were on the original lawsuit or signed the amicus briefincluding Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebookdonated cash and service to Trump’s inauguration.

Intel, despite represent one of the 97 signees, participated Thursday in what can only be described as an informercial, next to President Trump, at his desk, in the White House.

Many of these companies and their CEOs tend to portray their work as having a higher purpose. Which attains the slow( and from time to time, contradictory) reply of tech companies to the administration’s actions magnified under a not-so-flattering light.

Erica Baker, an engineer at Slack and an advocate for tech diversity and inclusion, summed it up Monday night at TechCrunch’s Crunchies eventanother Silicon Valley show now riddled with heightened nervousnes in the Trump era 😛 TAGEND

Yet, with Trump taking such swift actions, as government contracts and future partnerships remain on the line, tech companies are still treading lightly, debating both internally and externally with their friends in the industryor foeson how and when to participate.

“Were all trying to respond as quickly as we can”

A spokesperson at a different tech company, who was one of the 97, asked which amicus brief Mashable refers to in a request for remark Sunday evening on if they were participating, prior to its official filing.

“It’s hard for big companies to move quickly, and so the fact that 97[ companies] did that so quickly is a testament to the importance of the questions, ” Grimmelmann said. “It’s hard to get everyone to agree to the same speech instantly. Were going to see a lot of ongoing discussion in terms of what declaration of principles should be made.”

Even before Trump, the tech industry’s relationship with the government was beginning to show signs of problems.

The topic of encryption, for example, was a flowing dialogue with the White House under President obama. Following Edward Snowden’s leak of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, tech companies teamed up to cut access. In 2010, Google released the first transparency report, highlighting the requests of private information by the government.

Tech companies also banded together following the FBI’s lawsuit against Apple, to access the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. Tech companies do look for friends in these situations, taking ethical and legal stands on issuesdespite these stands, they remained in dialogue with Barack Obama, the so-called tech president.

Yet, tech companies wespoke with said they did feel a sense of urgency for the purposes of the new administration. For one, immigration is an issue on which most tech companies can agree. There’s already a shortage of talented technologists, and many tech leaders and high-profile investors are immigrants themselves.

Several companies who missed the opportunity or chose not to sign the original amicus brief have since issued their own letters to the court. The names include Fitbit, Postmates, Soundcloud, Spothero, OneLogin and GoDaddy.

Now that the tech industry is beginning to move as one to oppose Trump, there’s more action in the works.

A letter currently being passed around among tech companies features actual policy proposals , not only a broader look at why immigration is important. “We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system gratifies todays security needs and keeps our country safe, ” reads a draft of the letter, obtained by Bloomberg . “We are concerned, however, that your recent Executive Order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our countrys success.

That piece, however, is still being debatedmeaning plenty of late-night emails and phone calls, trying to figure out how to strike the right balance.

“Things are being pursued so fast, ” said a spokesperson at a tech company that did not sign the amicus brief. “You’re going to see so many of these that get signed.”

Internet Association, a trade organization that includes Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, Google, Snap( to name a few ), said it has been and will continue to be involved in dialogues like immigration but that is just one issue to discuss over the next four years.

“Were merely in week three of the administration, ” told Noah Theran, spokesman of Internet Association. “While immigration is plainly a very important issue to the companies that we represent, as it is to many companies in the broader economy, there are going to be many other areas where we can agree and work together with the administration to help the internet thrive.”

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Trump New York co-chair won’t resign despite racist remarks about Obamas

Carl Paladino, who said he wanted to see chairman dead of mad cow disease and first lady living with a gorilla, will not resign despite school board voting him out

The Trump presidential campaign New York co-chair who constructed inflammatory and racist statements about Barack and Michelle Obama says he will not resign from the Buffalo school board, which on Thursday voted to remove him.

Millionaire developer Carl Paladino last week told a Buffalo alternative newspaper he wanted to see the president dead of mad cow disease and the first lady living with a gorilla in Zimbabwe.

Having first said the comments had nothing to do with race, he also said they were examples of old-style witticism intended to wake people up to get people attention.

The newspaper, Artvoice, included Paladino, 70, among a number of people asked what they wanted to see happen in 2017.

[ Barack] Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Her[ e] ford, he said.

He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow grassland next to[ senior Obama adviser] Valerie Jarret[ t ], who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady[ sic] cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.

About Michelle Obama, he said: Id like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.

In a statement, Paladino said he had spoken about two progressive elitist ingrates who have detested their country so badly and destroyed its cloth in so many respects in eight years.

He subsequently said his terms were not mean for publishing but were nevertheless inappropriate.

At a special session on Thursday, the Buffalo school board voted 6-2 for a resolution asking the nation education commissioner to remove Paladino, the ninth member, if he did not resign within 24 hours. More than 70% of the district is non-white, according to the resolution.

The meeting was broadcast online. Some board members accused Paladino of acting like a bully and stimulating remarks they would not tolerate from students.

This level of hatred for African Americans cannot and should not set policy for the education of African American infants, said members of the security council Paulette Woods.

Members of the audience stood up and cheered when the resolution was approved.

Paladino, who did not attend, has said he will not resign. On Wednesday he told a local radio station: Im the agent of change. Im the guy that uncovered the underbelly of their pervert and dysfunctional school system, and they want me gone from the scene.

The state education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, is monitoring the situation and will review any removal request as quickly as possible, a spokesperson said.

Paladinos comments about the Obamas were condemned by figures including New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, who beat Paladino in the 2010 election. A Trump spokesperson said the comments were absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse.

Paladino visited Trump Tower earlier this month, telling the Buffalo News he spent an hour with the president-elect and key members of his inner circle.

Among those Paladino said he fulfilled were vice-president-elect Mike Pence, joint chiefs of staff Reince Priebus, senior counsel Stephen Bannon, Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner and nominated national security consultant Michael Flynn.

It was a wide-ranging dialogue about all the people across the country who were on my team, the newspaper reported Paladino as saying.

We talked about New Yorkers who might have a role, how we might structure appointments and who would get input. I guess I will have an ongoing ability to make recommendations.

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Fiat Chrysler plants in Mexico may close if Trump enacts import taxation, CEO tells

Sergio Marchionne said at the Detroit auto show that the president-elects tariff threats could construct manufacturing in Mexico uneconomical

The chief executive of automobile giant Fiat Chrysler has warned that the company would have to consider closing its Mexican mills if Donald Trump decides to impose his threat of tough new tariffs on imports from Mexico.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said on Monday that the entire industry was dogged by uncertainty since Trumps election and added that if the president-elect followed through on threats to tax Mexican car imports, he would have to consider shutting factories.

Its possible that if the economic tariffs that are imposed by the US administration on anything that comes into the United States, if they are sufficiently large, it will construct the production of anything in Mexico uneconomical and therefore we will have to move on. It is quite possible, Marchionne told addressing reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Repurposing the Mexican factory would be costly and uncertain. Asked if he would consider investments in Mexico if he was offered substantial incentives by the Mexican government, Marchionne said it would be incredibly imprudent on our side to try and make commitments to that country.

A Mexican-US trade war over vehicles would have relatively limited impact on the US but would be terrible for Mexico. If its a rejection of international trade in a wider sense, the implications are much more severe, he said.

Scaling back by US car firms is already reaching Mexico. Julian Eaves, managing director of Preferred Compounding de Mxico, a US-owned maker of rubber compounds operating in central Mexico, told the Guardian that the economic cost could run into the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars over the next five years, if manufacturing, contracting and indirect chores fall short of current plans.

Marchionnes commentaries arrived shortly after Trump had praised Fiat Chrysler and Ford for announcing new investments in the US. Trump constructed US auto production a key part of his campaign and won in part with the backing of voters in countries with the largest percentage of autoworkers.

Last week Ford abandoned plans to build a $1.6 bn plant in Mexico and said it would invest $700 m in a Michigan plant. On Sunday, Fiat Chrysler announced a$ 1bn investment in plants in Ohio and Michigan to construct new SUVs and pickup trucks that will add 2,000 jobs.

Its ultimately happening Fiat Chrysler merely announced plans to invest$ 1BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2000 jobs. This after Ford said last week that it will expand in Michigan and U.S. instead of building a BILLION dollar plant in Mexico. Thank you Ford& Fiat C! Trump positioned on Twitter.

Marchionne said he had not spoken to Trump or his advisers and that the decision has been in the works for a long time. Fiat Chrysler whose brands include Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati makes about 17% of its vehicles in Mexico, according to analysts.

He said it was difficult for the industry to manage under the current political surrounding. Trump has threatened to scrap the Northa American Free Trade Agreement( Nafta) between the US, Mexico and Canada, but so far the most detail he has given has been on Twitter.

I dont know if its a new political speech, but if it is well adjust to that too, said Marchionne.

On Sunday Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors and a Trump adviser, told GM would not be changing its sourcing decisions because of Trump. This is a long-lead business with highly capital-intensive investments decisions that were attained two, three and four years ago, Barra told reporters in Detroit.

The company also exposed it is planning to build a freshly unveiled vehicle, GMC Terrain, a crossover SUV, in San Luis Potos, Mexico.

Barras comments came after the Trump threatened the company with a big perimeter taxation for importing some of GMs Chevrolet Cruze compact cars from a plant in Mexico. The imported models account for some 5% of the Cruze automobiles sold in the US. The remainder are fabricated at its Ohio factory.

On Monday Barra touted GMs creation of US undertakings. We have more than 40 manufacturing facilities in the US and over the last two years alone, we have investment more than $11 bn generating thousands of new jobs in the US, as well as recruiting technological talent, Barra said unveiling new vehicles at the Detroit auto show.

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Autotrader, said the US car firms were reeling from the uncertainty Trump has created. It takes four years to develop a vehicle, longer still to build a plant, she told. This is an industry that needs clarity.

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China will spend $361 billion to boost renewable energy

Chinese workers check solar panel at a rooftop photovoltaic power station at a plant in Zigui county, central China’s Hubei province, Dec. 22, 2016.
Image: Lei yong – Imaginechina via ap images

China tells it will drastically boost its spending on renewable energy over the next four years. The United States, meanwhile, may head down a different track under Trump.

China’s energy agency said Thursday it would plow 2.5 trillion yuan, or $361 billion, into clean electricity projects by 2020 as part of a broader great efforts to shift the nation away from fossil fuels.

Although coal-fired power plants have helped drive China’s manufacturing growth in the past decade, the facilities have also generated a slew of public health crises, such as dangerous smog in northern China and toxic water pollution.

The country in recent years has started shuttering coal plants near Beijing and scrapped plans for new ones, all the while investing more in alternative sources.

New skyscrapers and high-rise buildings are blanketed in heavy smog in Beijing’s Central Business District, Dec. 20, 2016.

Image: Lu gang – Imaginechina via ap images

China expended about $103 billion in renewable energy in 2015, about 36 percent of the world’s total spending, according to annual global calculates.

By 2020, about half of China’s new power generation will come from installed solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power projects, the National Energy Administration( NEA) said in its five-year blueprint for the nation’s energy sector.

The investment will create more than 13 million jobs in the sector, the NEA said Thursday.

The nation already boasts about 3.5 million jobs in renewable energy, including many at the world’s largest solar panel manufacturing facilities, the International Energy Agency found in its 2016 World Energy Outlook.

The United States, by contrast, has about 769,000 jobs dependent on renewables, the agency estimated.

Wind turbines whirl to generate electricity in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 25, 2016.

Image: Zou jianqi – Imaginechina via ap images

America has similarly experienced rapid growth in renewable energy installings and investment during the Obama administration.

The U.S. public and private sectors together perpetrated $44.1 billion to the sector in 2015 the highest since 2011 making America the world’s second-largest clean energy investor after China.

Energy analysts say they expect the U.S. will keep building new gale and solar projects under President-elect Donald Trump, largely because the costs of renewables have plummeted in recent years.

Solar power, for example, is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In less than a decade, solar may become the lowest-cost alternative on the planet.

But overall investments in lower-emissions technologies may falter, given Trump’s pledge to accelerate U.S. fossil fuel production and his rejection of the mainstream science on climate change.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, spoke during a coal mining roundtable in Glade Spring, Virginia, Aug. 10, 2016.

Image: AP photo/ evan vucci

In December, the Trump transition team indicated it was eyeing large-scale budget cuts at the U.S. Department of Energy, one of the most important point supporters of clean technologies in the U.S. and globally.

In an usual questionnaire, which it afterward disavowed, Trump’s team asked how the agency would handle an across-the-board budget cut of 10 percent.

Trump’s cabinet pickings are also climate-change deniers, and his nominee for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is actively fighting to gut the Clean Power Plan, the agency’s key policy for reducing power plant emissions.

While Trump may not attack renewable energy itself, his administration’s support for fossil fuel may undermine efforts to steer the country away from carbon-intensive coal and natural gas, UtilityDive reported.

“I think it’s more likely[ Trump] ‘s going to relax the regulation of natural gas and coal, and that would make it essentially less economic for solar and breeze, ” Brian Potts, a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, lately told the publication.

If the U.S. backslides on clean energy advance, China and other developing economies like India will likely pick up the slack, in terms of investment and jobs, analysts told Mashable .

But that doesn’t mean China’s electric grid will abruptly be clean, or that the U.S. will be the only nation that still relies primarily on coal and natural gas for electricity.

China’s NEA said it expects renewables will only account for about 15 percent of the nation’s overall energy consumption by 2020.

In the next few years, more than half of China’s installed power capability will still be fueled by coal, the agency said.

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We contribute billions to American economy, Toyota politely tells Trump

After familiar outburst against plans for mill in Mexico, Japanese company calmly explains it applies more than 136,000 people in America

Japanese officials have defended Toyotas contribution to the American economy after Donald Trump threatened to impose a big border taxation on the carmaker if it ran ahead with plans to open a new plant in Mexico.

Trumps tweet was followed by Toyota shares dropping more than 3% in morning trading in Tokyo on Friday. Shares in Nissan and Honda also fell as malaise in Japan grows over the effects Trumps America first economic policy could have on cross-Pacific trade.

Japans chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, defended the role Japanese manufacturers and other firms play in the US economy. Toyota has been aiming to be a good corporate citizen for the United States he said.

The automaker did not directly address Trumps reference to the Mexico plant, but pointed to its contribution to the health of the US economy. With more than $21.9 bn direct investment in the US, 10 manufacturing facilities, 1,500 dealerships and 136,000 employees, Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry, Toyota said in a statement.

The economy, trade and industry pastor, Hiroshige Seko, said the carmaker had contributed to the creation of American jobs.

Japanese automakers are inducing significant contributions in terms of jobs in the United States, he told reporters. It is important that their efforts and results are widely accepted. This is an issue involving a private company but the government is ready to support it.

Japanese firms hire more than 800,000 people in the US and contributed $78 bn to US exports in 2014, according to the US embassy in Tokyo.

Weeks after Trump dismayed Japans “ministers “, Shinzo Abe, with a pledge to rip up the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement as soon as he is inaugurated on 20 January, Trump tweeted that Toyota would face high tariffs if it builds its Corolla cars at a new$ 1bn plant in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.

Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla vehicles for US. NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big perimeter tax.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla autoes for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.

January 5, 2017

The president-elect appeared to confuse Toyotas existing plant in Baja California with the new mill in Guanajuato, building on which began in late 2016. The Guanajuato plant will construct Corollas and have an annual capability of 200, 000 when it begins production in 2019.

Trumps outburst arrived hours after Toyotas president, Akio Toyoda, said the firm was not planning to reconsider its investment in Mexico.

Speaking just before Trumps tweet appeared, Toyoda said of the incoming US administration: I would like to make it an opportunity for us.

I dont know yet exactly how, but, irrespective of who is president, our business is about being good corporate citizens, he told a assemble of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association in Tokyo.

And by becoming good corporate citizens we are facing the same aim of making America strong. And so we will continue to do our best.

Toyota is one of several Japanese carmakers that have been tempted by Mexicos low labour costs and proximity to the North American market.

Nissan selected Mexico decades ago as the site for its first assembly plant outside Asia, and last year produced 830,000 cars at its two factories there. Honda has two assembly and engine plants in Mexico that together make 263,000 vehicles a year.

Nissans chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, said he was comfy with Trumps America first credo. Im hearing We in the US have a very large market, and we want our fair share of the benefits both in terms of trade and jobs, Bloomberg quoted Ghosn as saying Thursday at the CES 2017 trade show in Las Vegas. Im not hearing close the border.

Other carmakers appear to have been affected by Trumps attempts to browbeat them into building vehicles in the US.

Ford Motor this week scrapped plans to build a $1.6 bn plant in San Luis Potos, Mexico, after Trump called on the company to create jobs at home.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose a 35% tax on small automobiles attained in Mexico and the coming week criticised General Motor for importing Chevy Cruze vehicles from Mexico.

Analysts said import taxes would have little effect on Toyotas business in the region. We suppose the impact on business performance is restriction, told Akira Kishimoto at JP Morgan. A cool judgement is needed.

Kishimoto noted that Toyotas exposure to Mexico was restriction, adding that even an extreme case tariff of 20% would hit the carmakers operating profit by about 6 %.

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‘Against our dignity’: Mexico vows never to pay for Trump’s wall

Enrique Pea Nieto draws battle lines for changed relationship with the US amid fallout from Trumps tirades

Mexicos president, Enrique Pea Nieto, has rejected any suggestions of his country paying for a border wall and pledged to sign an updated free-trade agreement with the European Union as he seeks to diversify the economy away from the United States.

Speaking in uncharacteristically stern and straightforward language, Pea Nieto told an audience of Mexican diplomats: All matters that define our bilateral relationship are on the table including security, immigration and commerce.

But he said any negotiations must include touchy topics for Americans, including putting an end to the flow of illegal guns across the border and arming deadly drug cartels.

It is evident that we have differences with the new United States government on some issues, such as a wall that Mexico absolutely will not pay for, Pea Nieto said. At no time will we accept anything that goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.

Basic principles such as sovereignty, the national interest and the protection of our citizens are non-negotiable.

Pea Nietos pronouncement contradict the insistence of the US president-elect, Donald Trump, that Mexico will cover the costs of fencing off its frontier with the United States.

I want to get started. I dont want to wait a year and a half, Trump said of the wall at a press conference on Wednesday.

The tougher talk from the Mexican side comes as the country confronts the consequences of Trump scolding automakers for expanding production there taking to Twitter to jawbone them into shifting production from Mexico to the United States.

Ford has already cancelled an investment of $1.6bn to build a factory in north-central Mexico, while Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has said high tariffs would make the production of anything in Mexico uneconomical.

Trumps tweets and promises to impose penalties on Mexican exports have hammered the peso. Mexicos currency reached a record low during his press conference, dipping below 22 per US dollar.

Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state nominee, sounded more subdued than Trump on the Mexico topic in Senate hearings on his nomination.

I would never characterise an entire population of people with any single term, he said when asked about Trumps maligning of Mexicans as rapists and robbers.

Mexico is a longstanding neighbour and friend of this country, Tillerson said. Were going to engage with Mexico because of their importance to us in this hemisphere and we have many, many common issues, common areas of concern.

Pea Nieto listed Mexicos concerns in any negotiations with Trump: stopping illegal weapons from entering the country; helping Mexico deal with the waves of migrants from around the world trying to transit Mexican territory in their desire to reach the United States; and maintaining the flow of remittances more than $20bn in 2016 sent by Mexicans to their families back home.

The president also promised to seek out new markets for Mexican exports starting with an updated European Union trade deal, which he expected to be signed within 12 months as Trump threatens to rip up Nafta and slap a 35% tariff on Mexican-made goods.

An Ipsos poll found 57% of Mexicans said they would sooner abandon Nafta than give in to Trumps demands.

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Paul Manafort resigns as chairman of Donald Trump campaign

Republican nominee wishes Manafort success after resignation that comes days after Trump brought in Breitbarts Steve Bannon as new campaign leadership

Donald Trumps campaign chairman Paul Manafort has resigned, in the latest convulsion to sweep a candidacy reeling from poor polling numbers and self-inflicted controversy.

With voters able to cast absentee ballots in the crucial swing state of North Carolina in just three weeks and his poll numbers sliding rapidly, the Republican nominee ousted his campaign chairman on Friday, only two months after the forced departure of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Manaforts exit followed another unconventional move by Trump, who hours earlier had admitted that he regretted the pain caused by some of his intemperate remarks this year.

Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you dont choose the right words or you say the wrong thing, he said, in tightly scripted remarks said to bear the hallmark of new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.

Though the apology at a rally in North Carolina did not specify precisely whom he was saying sorry to, it was the first acknowledgment by the candidate that his swashbuckling style was proving self-destructive.

News of Manaforts resignation also came as a surprise to some within the campaign, and followed a slew of denials that a shakeup was under way.

I would have thought we were done with revolving chairs, one source familiar with the campaign told the Guardian after the publication of Fridays statement.

Another person familiar with the shakeup said the change underlined how Manafort had never quite been able to communicate with Trump the way Lewandowski had. His departure meant Conway would be in charge of the messaging, whereas Bannon, a former banker, was there to run the business side of the campaign.

It was also pointed out that Trump had long been uncomfortable with the campaign spending heavily to buy television commercials, a step that was taken earlier this week with Trump shelling out $4m to go on the air in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. He thinks he is being robbed, said the source familiar with the shakeup. Boots on the ground are worth it but media buys, mail and other stuff were looked on by Trump skeptically.

In an interview with Fox News, Trumps son Eric suggested that the controversy over Manaforts ties to Russia and a report this week that he had potentially committed a felony by evading the reporting requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) led to the top operative being pushed out. My father just didnt want to have the distraction looming over the campaign, and, quite frankly, looming over all the issues Hillary is facing right now, said the younger Trump.

Manafort, a veteran political strategist, has been under mounting scrutiny as more details emerged of his role in advising foreign politicians, including Ukrainian strongman Viktor Yanukovych.

His close connections to Russia through Yanukovych, at a time when Trump is trying to criticise Clinton for taking money from foreign donors for her family foundation, were proving a growing problem.

Manafort first joined the campaign as an unpaid adviser in March after Trump had been repeatedly outmaneuvered in the delegation selection process by rival Ted Cruz. The veteran operative, who helped Gerald Ford win the last contested convention in American history in 1976, soon used that foothold to expand his mandate. Within weeks, he had in effect replaced former campaign manager Lewandowski, who was disdained by many within the party establishment as well as the Trump family.

In a statement issued on Friday, Trump suggested Manaforts role had peaked as an adviser during the Republican national convention in Cleveland, where rival Ted Cruz had threatened to lead a revolt, but this time expressed no regret over the departure.

This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign, said a statement from the Trump campaign issued on Friday morning. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.

The resignation, which contradicts claims Manafort would stay on earlier in the week, is the second moment Trump has exercised his famed slogan youre fired following the ousting of Lewandowski, in June.

Lewandowski is now thought likely to make a comeback within the constantly shifting Trump inner circle, as he favours the same approach of letting Trump be Trump as Bannon is believed to.

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Jobs for all? In the US that notion is about to be tested to destruction | John Harris

Donald Trump says hell bring back full employment. But maybe no politician has the power to deliver this

The story has rather got lost in the midst of Donald Trumps statements this week about his fabled wall, the merits of torture, and all the other stuff that has underlined the frightening nature of his arrival in power but on Monday, the new president hosted a remarkable meeting.

In the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump held talks with the leaders of US trade unions: among them, the presidents of the Laborers International Union of North America, the Smart (it stands for sheet metal, air, rail and transportation) Union, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Despite US unions overwhelmingly backing Hillary Clinton the carpenters, for example, recently warned that Trumps legacy will ruin America all was apparently warmth and cordiality.

The respect that the president of the United States just showed us was nothing short of incredible, said Sean McGarvey, president of the umbrella organisation North Americas Building Trades Unions. He then praised Trumps plans for infrastructure, trade and energy policy, and looked ahead to the administration putting America back to work, with the middle class jobs our members and all Americans are demanding.

Welcome, once again, to the element of Trump-ism that liberal dismay drowns out, but which partly accounts for the fact that this most unqualified of presidents is in office and which, for all his dismal approval ratings, is surely playing pretty well in the post-industrial places whose support took him over the line in November.

Understand that, and you may realise why his loudly ridiculed inauguration speech may have sounded potent and promising to millions of Americans. Through the same prism, moreover, you might be able to discern something too often overlooked: that amid Trumps lies and bigotry, there may lurk a political project of spectacular daring. In the way it put Trump on political ground long assumed to belong to the Democrats, one US columnist said the summit with the unions represented a great act of political larceny. The same applies to his economic policy on the whole.

Put simply, Trump and his people want to eat the American lefts lunch. At the same time, they intend to shred the Republican partys ingrained belief in laissez-faire economics, reset rightwing politics somehow bagging 60% of the white vote, and 40% of the black and Hispanic vote whereupon a new dawn will break and well govern for 50 years. The quotes come from the interview Trumps infamous strategist Steve Bannon gave to the writer Michael Wolff, a few days after Trump was elected. Like [Andrew] Jacksons populism, were going to build an entirely new political movement, he said. Its everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy With negative interest rates throughout the world, its the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.

Trump puts this in his customary way, with a familiar sense that he hasnt fully thought things through: We are going to put a lot of people back to work. We are going to use common sense and we are going to do it the way it is supposed to be done.

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