National / International News
One-third of people have trouble downing pills, and many skip taking medications as a result. A researcher in Germany says that two techniques help. Really? We tested them ourselves to find out.
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced a "breakthrough" in negotiations with China over high tech products Monday night. The agreement could herald the first major tariff-cutting agreement at the World Trade Organization in 17 years, covering an estimated $1 trillion of products ranging from MRI machines to video game consoles.
The negotiations concerned an update to the Information Technology Agreement, or ITA, signed in the late 1990s, under which countries agreed to cut tariffs to zero for a list of high-tech products.
"For high tech products, every country wished to be a leader in that," says Wing Thye Woo, professor of economics at UC Davis and president of the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia. "So when high tech products started appearing quickly, some countries started putting tariffs on them.
Woo says the ITA didn't follow the model of other free trade agreements: cut tariffs for the entire sector, with certain products singled out as exceptions.
"You do not say mackerel is not free trade but salmon is free trade," says Woo. "All fish is free trade, unless we specify certain fish."
"This one is the other way around: The following are free trade items, and what is not mentioned is not free trade," he says.
Signatories of the ITA agreed to cut tariffs only for products that fit into certain categories such as computers and data-storage media.
China signed on to this agreement when it joined the WTO in 2001. "It had to," says Woo. "But then the number of high-tech products kind of exploded."
Efforts to increase the list stalled.
"China was the main opposition on this issue of broadening the Information Technology agreement," says Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. China had, for instance, maintained tariffs of up to 25 percent to protect its burgeoning semiconductor industry.
The agreement with the United States could un-stick negotiations with the other 54 economies involved in the ITA negotiations. "The presumption is those other countries will agree because they have been negotiating pretty much alongside the United States," say Hufbauer.
"And I think it foreshadows more agreements on other issues between the US and China," he says. "It’s really a new day."
Harvard researchers secretly photographed more than 2,000 students to study classroom behavior last spring. News reports and other Harvard faculty have called out the study’s questionable ethics. Two years ago Harvard administrators reportedly read the emails of resident deans – you guessed it – in secret.Harvard researchers studied student behavior with secret cameras. What did they uncover?
You can watch a presentation by one of the photo researchers on YouTube.
The existing tariff system, which adds as much as 25 percent to the cost of American high-tech exports, covers more than $4 trillion in annual trade, the White House says.
The veteran Tennessean is poised to take a leading role on education in the new Congress.
Supporters of expanded trade with Asian nations hoped this week would bring completion of a major deal, but U.S. and Japanese negotiators — and Obama and congressional Republicans — still don't agree.
First up, in China, what's called "Single's Day" is drawing to a close. It's a new-ish celebration that is to single people what Mother's Day is to mother's. But it's now morphed into the day people go online to buy things, often with their office computer. China's Alibaba said sales broke through $8 billion so far today in an orgy of commerce that, if you do the math, dwarfs America's so-called Black Friday. And tech products could soon travel across borders with less baggage as a result of the first major cut in international tariffs in 17 years, and it affects a range of technology products from MRI medical scanners to video games. More on that. Plus, it's Veterans Day in the U.S. and this summer marked 100 years since the outbreak of hostilities that became what was then called The Great War. To commemorate Britain's lost lives, an artist has staged a powerful installation at the Tower of London. It's really popular, and lucrative for veterans' charities.