SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2017) (REUTERS) – South Korea’s Meteorological agency said on Sunday (September 3) North Korea’s earthquake produced 5 to 6 times more energy compared to fifth nuclear test in September 2016. Continue reading
North Korea says its carried out its sixth nuclear test, this time using a newly built hydrogen bomb. The blast is the most powerful to date and caused a significant earthquake. Joel Labi reports Continue reading
Togo hosted an annual conference on the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) this week, bringing together various stakeholders from African nations and the United States. In 2015, the US Congress renewed the zero tariff deal for 10 years. Analysts have questioned how the programme will fare under U.S president Donald Trump’s presidency, given his “America First” campaign, that has seen him withdraw from various international trade deals.
SHOWS: LOME, TOGO (AUGUST 09, 2017) (REUTERS) – Talks between African and U.S. officials to review the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) free trade deal ended on Thursday (August 10) with no decision and a feeling of all sides that it had achieved little since it was set up.
President Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator Robert E. Lighthizer and other U.S. officials have been in the tiny West African nation of Togo over the past two days to discuss the Clinton-era trade pact with sub-Saharan Africa.
Trump’s “America First” campaign has seen him withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership, threated to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and seek to renegotiate the U.S.-South Korea free trade deal.
But his administration has said little about Africa, and had not previously mentioned the 2000 AGOA trade agreement. It is not clear whether the U.S. wants to change the deal before it expires in 2025 or extend it further – no decision was made on either count.
AGOA allows tariff-free access for thousands of goods from 38 African nations to U.S. markets.
But few African economies can take advantage of a U.S. trade initiative providing to the world’s largest market because they have little to export beyond commodities, an asset class where prices are in free fall.
Togo’s minister of commerce Bernadette Legzim-Balouki said that although not all the countries eligible have benefited from the law, the agreement allowed Africa to access the US market and that member countries will examine the constraints that prevent some African countries from profiting.
“2025 was the year that the AGOA agreement will officially came to an end. If the United States decides not to extend the agreement, does that mean that our trade relationship with the U.S must also come to an end? Not at all! African entrepreneurs and other stakeholders were able to have access to the US market. They have straightened their partnerships with economic partners in the U.S. A door has been opened, a relationship was established between the US and African countries,” she said.
Legzim-Balouki also said that the United States and the nations eligible for AGOA had agreed on some loose aims, including: to develop a better plan to take full advantage of the pact, for each eligible country to have bilateral talks with the United States, and the need for a mechanism to protect African producers from price volatility.
US officials at the forum said that the number of countries benefiting from AGOA was very limited, as is the number of sectors, adding that they will see if the situation improves in the coming years, but it is also up to the beneficiary countries to enhance their business climate.
“The AGOA programme was renewed for ten years by congress by a large margin. That means that we have 8 years of the law in place. It’s true that the environment has changed, and we are currently studying the best ways for African countries to benefit from AGOA,” said Peter Barlerin a representative of the US state department.
The U.S. trade deficit with the AGOA countries shrank to about $7.9 billion last year from a peak of $64 billion in 2008, as U.S. shale oil production increases have lessened the need for oil imports from major exporters Nigeria and Angola.
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA (JULY 4, 2017) (KRT) – North Korea said on Tuesday (July 4) it successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which flew a trajectory that an expert said could allow a weapon to hit the U.S. state of Alaska.
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA (JULY 4, 2017) (KCNA FOR REUTERS) – A conference was held in Pyongyang on Tuesday (July 4) to mark the 45th anniversary of a joint statement signed between North and South Korea on July 4th.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence say the U.S. “era of strategic patience” with Pyongyang is over as he visits the Korean DMZ.
China Global Television Network (CGTN) – With the smartphone user base long surpassing half its population, China is becoming a big global app revenue generator. Continue reading
Samsung chief Jay Y. Lee arrives at the special prosecutor’s office after being arrested over his alleged role in the country’s corruption scandal. Continue reading
SOUTH KOREA (Next Animation Studio) – The Galaxy Note 7 is probably Samsung’s most famous model, not for its design or specs, but for its notorious tendency to spontaneously combust. After two recalls that cost the brand at least US$5 billion, the South Korean phone giant has finally revealed where exactly it all went wrong.
The findings were detailed in a press conference held in Seoul, South Korea by Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh. According to Koh, the batteries were the culprit. Both the original and replacement batteries had manufacturing defects. And though the root causes were different in each case, the results were the same, reports Forbes.
The Galaxy Note 7 was fitted with 3500 mah lithium ion batteries, which should have enough space to allow negative electrodes to remain straight. However, those manufactured by company subsidiary Samsung SDI were found to have deflected negative electrodes, which caused the batteries to overheat and explode.
As a result, Samsung recalled and reissued all Galaxy Note 7 phones in September.
Replacement batteries were made by Hong-Kong based affiliate Amperex Technology, but were likewise defective. Welding burrs penetrated through the separator and insulation tape, causing negative electrodes to be in direct contact with the positive tab.
In some cases, batteries were missing the insulation tape altogether. According to the subsequent investigation, both factors were linked to the phone overheating and potentially catching fire.
Samsung ultimately cancelled production of the smartphone model, and has had to re-assess existing safety measures.
Business Insider reports that along with the battery findings, the company has announced the implementation of a new 8-point battery safety check that’s meant to reassure consumers that safety is now top priority.
File footage of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 7 as the company said it will announce the results of a probe on what caused some Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to catch fire.