United States issues guidelines to encourage more interaction with Taiwan


FILE PHOTO: U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price takes questions from reporters at the State Department in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price takes questions from reporters at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2021. Carolyn Kaster/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

April 9, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department said on Friday it had issued new guidelines that will enable U.S. officials to meet more freely with officials from Taiwan.

“These new guidelines liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in statement. The aim, he said, was “to encourage U.S. government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship.”

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Adelaide United player speaks out after racial abuse, as Crows back push for ‘sport-wide’ bans


Adelaide United’s Kusini Yengi has expressed support for his club’s push to have racial abusers banned from all elite sporting events, after the young star was vilified following his performance against Melbourne Victory.

Yengi provided the spark off the bench as the Reds came from behind to win 3-1 on Saturday, scoring one goal and setting up another to seal the win.

It was the first goal of Yengi’s A-League career, with the 22-year-old “running on adrenaline” when celebrating in front of the Victory fans.

Following the match, he was racially abused in comments on his Instagram account, including a post showing gorilla emojis.

Yengi today spoke out about the incident for the first time, saying he “probably wasn’t surprised after the celebration and the way the fans reacted”.

“I kind of thought that this is where it might end up heading. But obviously it’s quite disappointing,” he said.

“After the game there was a lot of good messages, everyone congratulating me and stuff.

The A-League and the police are investigating the incident in a bid to find the culprits responsible.

The Reds yesterday floated the idea of a cross-code ban for people found to racially vilify players.

Adelaide United director of football Bruce Djite said he would be speaking with the Adelaide Crows this week about teaming up in a response against racism.

“We’re going to meet with him on Thursday and discuss that further on what sort of initiatives we can take as professional clubs in South Australia and hopefully that starts to gain momentum,” Djite said.

Yengi scored one goal and set up another in his side’s 3-1 win.(

Instagram: Kusini Yengi

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He suggested a zero-tolerance response to racism from all clubs in the state, and banning those caught from attending any professional sport.

“That would be my approach,” he said.

“If you’re an Adelaide United member and you’re racially vilifying someone, you shouldn’t be allowed to attend any sporting [codes].

“I think that would send a strong message.”

Yengi backed the move, describing it as a “positive idea [that] could help”.

AFL club backs call for broader bans

Adelaide Crows assistant coach Nathan Van Berlo today also threw his support behind the idea, and reiterated his club’s stance on racial abuse.

“[I’d] certainly be supportive of anything that comes in to make sure that we stamp it out because it’s still prevalent in all games, which is disappointing,” Van Berlo said.

Yengi said those responsible for racial abuse should get educated about the harm they cause.

“We’re all humans and we’re all trying to do our best at whatever we do, and giving people negative energy and making comments like that doesn’t help anyone,” he said.

While he wants to move on quickly, Yengi said Reds fans could rest assured that he will continue to celebrate with gusto again whenever he scores.

“No matter what anybody says to me, I’m going to be me and show my character,” he said.

“Everything that’s happened, it’s not going to stop me doing it in the future.”

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Luke Shaw: Manchester United defender ‘focused on future’ with England


Luke Shaw has won nine caps for England since making his debut in 2014

Luke Shaw says he regrets “letting down” England boss Gareth Southgate in the past and wants to “focus on the future” with the national team.

Shaw admits he “pulled out of a lot of camps” since his previous appearance against Spain more than two years ago.

“Personally I massively regretted doing that,” he said.

“I think playing for your country is a massive privilege and an honour and I think at times I took advantage of that.

“I didn’t really think about it too much but of course now I just want to forget the mistakes I’ve made in the past, and Gareth’s done that, so we’re just focusing on the future and obviously what’s happening now.”

Shaw, who became one of the world’s most expensive teenagers when he joined United for £27m in June 2014, has struggled with injury during his time at Old Trafford, breaking his leg in 2015 – while hamstring, foot and ankle problems have also curtailed his influence in more recent years.

He had looked set to leave the Red Devils in 2018 following criticism from then manager Jose Mourinho, but has been rejuvenated under the Portuguese’s successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Shaw says he had not been able to “stop thinking of the mistakes” he made over the years, and “especially with England”.

“It was just pulling out when I got to the camp,” he said.

“Around that time, I was maybe not in the best condition but I think over the last two years I’ve thought about it so much – that was my biggest regret.

“And yeah, of course, letting Gareth (Southgate) down. I tried to keep in touch with him just to let him know that things had changed.

“He’s said he’s picked me on merit and how I’ve been performing.”

Shaw said he now wants to continue to impress Southgate, who first called the defender up to a national team when he took over as England Under-21s boss in 2013.

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Jobless data – Why jobless-claims data give little insight into America’s economy | United States


IN THE PAST year pundits have closely tracked America’s “jobless claims” data, published every Thursday by the Department of Labour to show how many people are newly claiming unemployment insurance (UI). These data once provided invaluable insights: in 1995 Alan Greenspan, then chair of the Federal Reserve, personally intervened to ensure that they continued to be produced during a government shutdown. Yet in the current crisis more people are starting to realise their limitations.

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Somebody seeking UI benefits must file a claim with a state employment office. The claims data were useful early in the pandemic. They are published with a lag of only a few days, so gave an insight into the economic collapse of last March and April long before the monthly jobs report. In those two months claims data suggested that about 30m Americans had filed for UI—in line with later figures on job losses from the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Yet in the past year more than 80m applications have been filed for state UI. Were all applications unique, the data would imply that 50% of American workers had lost their pre-pandemic job. Really? About 20m Americans remain on some form of UI, twice the number officially classified as unemployed. Initial claims for state UI have fallen from the heights of last spring, but even now over 700,000 claims are being filed each week, more than at the height of the financial crisis of 2007-09.

It is possible the claims data reveal that America’s labour market is doing far worse than other statistics show. More likely, the data themselves are flawed.

Why? Early in the crisis wonks warned that initial-claims data would run high long after actual job losses had fallen, because state UI offices were catching up on backlogged applications. A paper last year from the Federal Reserve said “errant claim duplication” may inflate official tallies. Some state offices have made it easier for people working reduced hours—rather than not at all—to claim UI. The government has also allowed more people, including the self-employed and gig-economy workers, to be eligible for payments. Another source of distortion could be widespread fraud.

No one knows the biggest reason why claims are so absurdly high. But this much is clear: to get the measure of America’s labour market, look elsewhere.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “Wild claims”

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Fashion police – A new dress code means Rhode Island lawmakers have to suit up | United States


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Software and the state – Despite high-profile failures, government tech is slowly improving | United States


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Chelsea see off Sheffield United to progress to FA Cup semi-finals


London: Chelsea beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Sunday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the fourth time in five seasons.

The win came courtesy of an Oliver Norwood own goal and a late strike from winger Hakim Ziyech.

Hakim Ziyech scores for Chelsea against Sheffield Untied at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.Credit:Getty Images

The victory at Stamford Bridge extended Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start in London – the German has now won 10 matches and drawn four in all competitions since replacing Frank Lampard in January.

Chelsea have moved into contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League and reached the Champions League quarter-finals, but Tuchel said he witnessed a tired performance from his team on Sunday.

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“It sounds excellent to say we’re through to the semis, [but] it was a tough match. We had a good first half where we controlled everything,” Tuchel told the BBC.

“We lost control in the second half, we were clearly tired. After 14 consecutive matches I could feel we were tired and we made many little faults. We were lucky to keep the clean sheet in the second half.”

Sheffield United, bottom of the Premier League, showed early attacking intent but fell behind in the 24th minute when Norwood steered the ball into his own net as he attempted to block Ben Chilwell’s shot.

With the Blades throwing men forward in the dying seconds, Ziyech produced a fine finish after a quick counter-attack to seal Chelsea’s win in added time.

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From megachurches to haunted houses – The waning of the black church | United States


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The United States and India – Joe Biden’s passage to India | United States


AS AN INDISPENSABLE fan of George W. Bush’s approach to India, Joe Biden, the then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said his “dream” was that by “2020 the two closest nations in the world will be India and United States.” For much of the intervening time they have looked more like two English-speaking nations separated by a strategic partnership.

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Mr Bush’s approach to India, which involved bringing its nuclear industry into the global fold, among other opportunities for co-operation, was based on its future potential to balance China, not its feebler present. Yet he often seemed to confuse the two. “The classic opportunity for our American farmers and entrepreneurs and small businesses…is there is a 300m-person market of middle-class citizens here in India!” he marvelled. It is a sentence that, 16 years on, still exaggerates the number of Indian consumers and their government’s willingness to let foreign firms near them.

Indian reticence has been a more serious speed-brake. Politically fractious and preternaturally suspicious of self-interested foreigners, India does not want to be part of anyone’s strategic calculations. It took Mr Bush’s counterpart, Manmohan Singh, a year and a confidence vote to get the nuclear component—a geopolitical gift-horse—through parliament. The last of four “foundational” defence agreements, precursors to the enhanced military and intelligence ties Mr Bush envisaged, was signed last October.

Yet notwithstanding the hobbling effects of these differences, rising concern about China on both sides has driven pretty steady progress. Barack Obama set aside concerns about Narendra Modi’s association with communal bloodshed to work with him on climate change, while dismantling barriers to military and other technology transfer. Donald Trump set the relationship into reverse on trade, immigration and education ties, yet pushed defence and intelligence ties even harder. India’s increasingly public receptiveness to that approach was apparent after America provided it with intelligence and cold-weather gear during clashes between Indian and Chinese border guards last year.

America has done less for some of its allies, a status India still recoils from, yet increasingly enjoys the benefits of. The inaugural summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a grouping of America, Australia, India and Japan, held on March 12th, illustrated this. It also highlighted the opportunity Mr Biden will have to deepen the relationship, and how he means to try.

Formed in 2004 to manage disaster relief after a tsunami, the “Quad” was repurposed by Dick Cheney as a military club, then abandoned in 2010 because Australia and India considered it too antagonistic to China. After years of creeping Chinese aggression, that is less of a worry in both countries, hence the Trump administration—to its credit—revived the group in 2017. It has since held ministerial meetings, and a joint naval exercise in 2020, before last week’s meeting signalled Mr Biden’s bigger plans for it.

The Trump administration toyed with an idea that the Quad might develop into an Asian NATO, underlining its emphasis upon security co-operation. By contrast, reviving American outreach on trade, immigration, public health, climate change and so forth is Mr Biden’s goal. The fact that the Quad summit concluded with the adoption of the group’s most concrete agenda since the tsunami, a plan to boost vaccine production and supplies for the region, was indicative of that. The idea is for America, Japan and Australia to provide cash to help India, which already makes 60% of the world’s vaccines, amp up production.

How much this might bother China, which once criticised the group as mere “sea-froth”, is open to question. Yet it suggests the Biden administration is serious about its stated intention to counter China through alliances, based on shared values, and that it sees the Quad and India as central to that. The group’s loose, voluntary design and adoption of an agenda that downplays China, while promoting Indian capability, also looks well-designed to bind India in. It caters to the country’s past insecurities and current ambitions, a useful combination.

The administration has similar plans for the bilateral relationship. It means to sustain the momentum its predecessor set on security: Lloyd Austin, the defence secretary, will visit Delhi this week. And it believes the Trump administration’s neglect of other sorts of co-operation provides a chance to make eye-catching progress. Mr Biden has already scrapped a Trump effort to restrict the number of foreign—including Indian—students.

This will not all go smoothly: the broadening of the relationship will uncover as much residual tension as opportunity. India is unlikely to become less protectionist even if America does. The recent defence co-operation is belied by India’s unimpressive efforts to modernise its antiquated forces and attachment to cheap Russian kit. Its scheduled receipt of a Russian air-defence system later this year, for which it will be liable for American sanctions, is already causing headaches. A new report by the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, suggests such frictions could induce an American rethink: “A chorus of voices in Washington…have begun more vocally expressing anxieties about whether the value and sustainability of US engagement with India has been oversold.”

Sino the times

There is little doubt that the relationship has been oversold in the past—including by Mr Biden. Yet his administration’s early work on it has provided a context in which the inevitable frictions should be understood. In Tony Blinken at the State Department and Jake Sullivan at the National Security Council, as well as Mr Biden himself, the administration already has more experience of dealing with India than any of its predecessors. And it has made elevating US-India relations central to its plans. As China looms ever larger for both countries, the relationship has never looked more important or robust.

See also: We are tracking the Biden administration’s progress in its first 100 days

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “Joe Biden’s passage to India”

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White shoes and slot machines – Tribes of the Hamptons | United States


SAUNDERS, A HIGH-END real-estate firm, sold and rented $2.3bn worth of property in the Hamptons last year. Calvin Klein, the panjandrum of pants, sold his beach house there for $84.4m. Well-heeled New Yorkers go to the string of small towns on Long Island to throw frisbees on the beach and compare Picassos in their kitchens. They are not universally thrilled by the Shinnecock Nation’s plans to build a casino on their reservation in Southampton.

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Jay Schneiderman, the town supervisor, is “totally opposed” to the planned site. “I cannot think of a worse location to build a casino,” he said. Congestion, already bad on the single road into the Hamptons, will get worse. Fred Thiele’s opposition was gentler. The state assemblyman acknowledges the Nation’s right to build on its sovereign land, but thinks it is nonetheless a bad idea. He expects opposition to grow, and not just among the gilded summer residents. The not-rich year-round residents, like teachers and landscapers, will oppose it, too. Some are worried about the environmental impact of the proposed casino. The tribe finds this thinking a bit precious. They are not the ones who built McMansions and a golf course on sacred land.

The existence of a 900-acre (364-hectare) Native American reservation 90 miles from Manhattan is not widely known. Though the folks who helicopter in to their summer homes may not realise it, the Shinnecocks have always been there. According to legend they are the children of a goddess who created land on the back of a giant turtle. The Nation now reckons building a casino on the turtle’s back would bring economic development.

It has good reason to think so. Median household income rose 34% between 1990 and 2010 for Native Americans living on reservations. Gaming, which expanded on reservations during this period, probably played a big role in that. About half of the 574 federally recognised tribes have some sort of gambling facility, ranging from casinos to bingo halls and slot machines at petrol stations.

“Gaming has become the economic lifeblood for many native and non-native communities,” says Jonodev Chaudhuri, former head of the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal agency. It provides funding for social services and health programmes and has an economic impact beyond the reservation’s borders. A study by the American Gaming Association estimates that the positive economic impact is over $100bn a year (though, given the source, that is no great surprise).

In the wake of the epidemic, tribal leaders across the country are having discussions about diversifying income. Some are looking at renewable energy. The Shinnecock Nation has explored shellfish harvesting, smoke shops (tobacco sold on reservation land is exempt from state tax), a medical-cannabis outlet and roadside billboards. Casino money would help kick-start other ventures. “It takes money to make money,” reckons Miriam Jorgensen, of the University of Arizona’s Native Nations Institute. Most New Yorkers would at least agree with that.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “White shoes and slot machines”

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