Once they acclimate to their new environment, overcoming language, social and cultural barriers, refugees in the U.S. often thrive. Some translate their experiences into assets that are valuable to their new community, as did Parvin and Yadollah Jamalreza. VOA’s June Soh visited their popular tailoring shop in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Growth in China’s manufacturing sector slowed in April, official data showed Sunday, pointing to an unsteady recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
The monthly purchasing managers’ index by the Chinese Federation of Logistics and Purchasing fell to 51.2 in April, lower than the 51.8 recorded in March.
The index is based on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion.
National Bureau of Statistics statistician Zhao Qinghe said in the release that April’s figure was affected by sluggish growth in market demand and supply, and slower expansion in imports and exports.
April’s index still represented a ninth consecutive month of expansion.
China saw its slowest growth in nearly three decades in 2016. China’s huge manufacturing sector is seen as an important indicator for the wider Chinese economy. It has cooled gradually over the past six years as Beijing tries to pivot it away from heavy reliance on export-based manufacturing and investment toward consumer spending.
The official full-year economic growth target for 2017 is 6.5 percent.
During a recent visit to Wisconsin, President Donald Trump announced he was signing an Executive Order reviewing the visa program that brings many technical workers to the United States, known as the H1B visa. About 85,000 workers come to the United States annually using an H1B visa. More from VOA’s Kane Farabaugh
President Donald Trump will spend his 100th day in office talking tough on trade in one of the states that delivered his unlikely win.
The president is expected to sign an executive order Saturday that will direct his Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative to perform a comprehensive study of the nation’s trade agreements to determine whether America is being treated fairly by its trading partners and the 164-nation World Trade Organization.
It’s one of two executive orders the president will sign at a shovel factory in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland County, the kind of place that propelled his surprise victory.
Rally in Pennsylvania
The last week has been a frenzy of activity at the White House as Trump and his team have tried to rack up accomplishments and make good on campaign promises before reaching the symbolic 100-day mark. In addition to the visit to the Ames tool factory, which has been manufacturing shovels since 1774, the president will hold one of his signature campaign rallies in Harrisburg to cap the occasion.
It’s a return to fundamentals for a president who has, in recent days, sounded wistful reflecting on his term so far.
Earlier this week, Trump announced his intention to work to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also said he would begin renegotiating a free trade deal with South Korea, with which the U.S. has a significant trade deficit.
Trade discussed every day
“There isn’t a day that goes by that the president doesn’t discuss some aspect of trade,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at the White House Friday.
The executive orders signed Saturday will mark Trump’s 31st and 32nd since taking office, the most of any president in his first 100 days since World War II. It’s a jarring disconnect from Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign, when he railed against his predecessor’s use of the tool, which has the benefit of not needing congressional sign-off.
The more significant of the two orders will give the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative 180 days to identify violations and abuses under the country’s trade agreements and recommend solutions.
World Trade Organization outdated
Ross said the WTO, the Geneva-based arbiter of world trade rules, is bureaucratic and outdated and needs an overhaul. Ross downplayed the possibility that the United States would consider leaving the organization but didn’t rule it out.
“As any multilateral organization, there’s always the potential for modifying the rules,” he said.
The administration argues that unfair competition with China and other trade partners has wiped out millions of U.S. factory jobs. Ross said dissatisfaction with trade policy is one reason voters turned to Trump.
“They’re fed up with having their jobs go offshore. They’re fed up with some of the destructive practices,” he said. “So in effect, the country said in this last election: It’s about time to fix these things. And the president heard that message.”
Trump, who campaigned on a vow to crack down on China and other trading partners, has announced several other moves on trade in recent weeks. He ordered the Commerce Department to study the causes of the United States’ massive trade deficit in goods, $734 billion last year, $347 billion with China alone. The administration is also imposing duties on Canadian softwood timber and is investigating whether steel and aluminum imports pose a threat to national security.
Ross said Friday that the WTO is too narrowly focused on limiting traditional tariffs — taxes on imports — and does little to counter less conventional barriers to trade or to police violations of intellectual property rights.
Trump has pushed a model of “reciprocal trade” agreements in which the U.S. would raise or lower tariffs on a country’s imports depending on how that country treats the U.S.
President Donald Trump is re-opening for oil exploration areas that President Barack Obama had closed, a move that environmental groups have promised to fight.
In an executive order Friday, the president reversed the Obama administration’s decision to prohibit oil and gas drilling in the Arctic waters off Alaska.
The order also instructs the Interior Department to review current restrictions on energy development in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. In addition, it bars the creation or expansion of marine sanctuaries and orders a review of all areas protected within the last 10 years.
Trump cites advantages
The White House says 90 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are buried off the U.S. coastline, but 94 percent of the area is off limits.
“Renewed offshore energy production will reduce the cost of energy, create countless new jobs and make America more secure and far more energy independent,” Trump said at a signing ceremony at the White House.
The action is the latest from the Trump administration aimed at boosting domestic energy production and loosening environmental regulations.
In his first 100 days, Trump has relaxed coal mine pollution rules and ordered a review of vehicle efficiency standards and power plant greenhouse gas rules. His administration has stopped defending Obama-era pollution regulations challenged in court.
The energy industry has cheered the moves. Environmental groups have promised strong opposition.
Conservationists have long opposed oil drilling in the Arctic. A spill would devastate the region’s fragile ecosystems, they say, while extreme conditions raise the risks of a spill and make cleanup harder.
Fishing and tourism on the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico would suffer from an accident, too, environmentalists note.
“By his actions today, President Trump has sent a clear message that he prioritizes the oil and gas industry over the needs of working Americans in our coastal communities who depend on healthy fishing and tourism economies for their livelihoods,” Environmental Defense Fund Vice President Elizabeth Thompson said in a statement.
Reviewing and rewriting the current offshore drilling plans are expected to take several years. Environmental groups plan legal challenges to the changes.your ad here
Національний банк України вирішив відкликати банківську ліцензію та ліквідувати «Фінбанк».
Як повідомляє прес-служба регулятора, 7 квітня «Фінбанк» віднесли до категорії неплатоспроможних.
За даними Фонду гарантування вкладів фізичних осіб, 99% вкладників «Фінбанк» отримають свої вклади у повному обсязі, оскільки їх розмір не перевищує гарантовану суму у 200 тисяч гривень.
За даними фонду, наразі в Україні 87 банків перебувають у процесі ліквідації.
your ad here
The latest economic data indicate the U.S. economy is growing at the slowest rate in three years. The GDP or gross domestic product, the broadest measure of all goods and services produced in the country, increased at a disappointing 0.7 percent annual rate, according to new government estimates released Friday. That’s the weakest performance since 2014, as consumer spending stayed flat and business inventories remained small.
Analysts say that’s bound to be a disappointment to U.S. President Donald Trump who predicted strong economic growth on day one, once he took over the White House.
“Remember candidate Trump talked about GDP of about 5 percent and paraphrasing, perhaps something much, much stronger,” said Bankrate.com senior analyst Mark Hamrick.
“Most economists believe the track for the U.S. economy for the intermediate future is going to be very familiar to what has been seen over the last number of years, and that’s somewhere between one and probably 2.5 percent on an annual basis.”
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2016. But economists say first quarter estimates tend to be notoriously low for a number of reasons.
“In some years it’s been because of bad weather that kept people in their homes, keeping them from purchasing things but it’s also believed to be somewhat flawed statistically — meaning that what’s actually happening in the economy isn’t being perfectly captured by government statistics,” Hamrick tells VOA. “It ends up being an estimate and most of them are not perfect”.
Most economists say the first quarter estimate should not be seen as a true measure of U.S. economic health.
Other indicators suggest a more positive outlook. The U.S. unemployment rate is near a 10-year low at 4.5 percent, consumer and business sentiment are rising and major U.S. stock indexes are near record highs.
Qualcomm slashed its profit expectations Friday by as much as a third after saying that Apple is refusing to pay royalties on technology used in the iPhone.
Its shares hit a low for 2017.
Apple Inc. sued Qualcomm earlier this year, saying that the San Diego chipmaker has abused its control over essential technology and charged excessive licensing fees. Qualcomm said Friday that Apple now says it won’t pay any fees until the dispute is resolved. Apple confirmed Friday that it has suspended payments until the court can determine what is owed.
“We’ve been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms,” Apple said. “As we’ve said before, Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”
Qualcomm said it will continue to vigorously defend itself in order to “receive fair value for our technological contributions to the industry.”
But the effect on Qualcomm, whose shares have already slid 15 percent since the lawsuit was filed by Apple in January, was immediate.
Qualcomm now expects earnings per share between 75 and 85 cents for the April to June quarter. Its previous forecast was for earnings per share between 90 cents and $1.15.
Revenue is now expected to be between $4.8 billion and $5.6 billion, down from its previous forecast between $5.3 billion and $6.1 billion.
Shares of Qualcomm Inc. tumbled almost 4 percent at the opening bell to $51.22.
Employers can legally pay women less than men for the same work based on differences in the workers’ previous salaries, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower-court ruling that said pay differences based exclusively on prior salaries were discriminatory under the federal Equal Pay Act.
That’s because women’s earlier salaries are likely to be lower than men’s because of gender bias, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Seng said in a 2015 decision.
1982 law cited
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit cited a 1982 ruling by the court that said employers could use previous salary information as long as they applied it reasonably and had a business policy that justified it.
“This decision is a step in the wrong direction if we’re trying to really ensure that women have work opportunities of equal pay,” said Deborah Rhode, who teaches gender equity law at Stanford Law School. “You can’t allow prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones or you perpetuate the discrimination.”
Activists held rallies around the country earlier this month on Equal Pay Day to highlight the wage gap between men and women. Women made about 80 cents for every dollar men earned in 2015, according to U.S. government data.
The 9th Circuit ruling came in a lawsuit by a California school employee, Aileen Rizo, who learned in 2012 while having lunch with her colleagues that her male counterparts were making more than she was.
Attorney: Logic hard to accept
Her lawyer, Dan Siegel, said he had not yet decided the next step, but he could see the case going to the U.S. Supreme Court because other appeals courts have decided differently.
“The logic of the decision is hard to accept,” he said. “You’re OK’ing a system that perpetuates the inequity in compensation for women.”
Fresno County public schools hired Rizo as a math consultant in 2009 for $63,000 a year. The county had a standard policy that added 5 percent to her previous pay as a middle school math teacher in Arizona. But that was not enough to meet the minimum salary for her position, so the county bumped her up.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
The Equal Pay Act, signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, forbids employers from paying women less than men based on sex for equal work performed under similar working conditions. But it creates exemptions when pay is based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of work or “any other factor other than sex.”
The county argued that basing starting salaries primarily on previous pay prevents subjective determinations of a new employee’s value. The 5 percent bump encourages candidates to leave their positions to work for the county, it said.
The 9th Circuit sent the case back to Seng to consider that and other justifications the county provided for using previous salaries.
Working to dismantle his predecessor’s environmental legacy, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Friday that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
With one day before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump will order his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand operations.
It’s part of Trump’s promise to unleash the nation’s energy reserves in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign oil and to spur jobs, regardless of fierce opposition from environmental activists, who say offshore drilling harms whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbates global warming.
Zinke: Safeguards remain
“This order will cement our nation’s position as a global energy leader and foster energy security for the benefit of American people, without removing any of the stringent environmental safeguards that are currently in place,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters at a White House briefing Thursday evening.
Zinke said the order, combined with other steps Trump has taken during his first months in office, “puts us on track for American energy independence.”
The executive order will reverse part of a December effort by President Barack Obama to deem the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic as indefinitely off limits to oil and gas leasing.
It will also direct Zinke to conduct a review of the locations available for offshore drilling under a five-year plan signed by Obama in November. The plan blocked new oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. It also blocked the planned sale of new oil and gas drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska, but allowed drilling to go forward in Alaska’s Cook Inlet southwest of Anchorage.
The order could open to oil and gas exploration areas off Virginia and North and South Carolina, where drilling has been blocked for decades.
Zinke said that leases scheduled under the existing plan will remain in effect during the review, which he estimated will take several years.
Monuments, sanctuaries under review
The order will also direct Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to conduct a review of marine monuments and sanctuaries designated over the last 10 years.
Citing his department’s data, Zinke said the Interior Department oversees some 1.7 billion acres on the outer continental shelf, which contains an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas. Under current restrictions, about 94 percent of that outer continental shelf is off-limits to drilling.
Zinke, who will also be tasked with reviewing other drilling restrictions, acknowledged environmental concerns as valid, but he argued that the benefits of drilling outweigh concerns.
Environmental activists, meanwhile, railed against the expected signing, which comes seven years after the devastating 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Diana Best of Greenpeace said that opening new areas to offshore oil and gas drilling would lock the U.S. “into decades of harmful pollution, devastating spills like the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, and a fossil fuel economy with no future.
“Scientific consensus is that the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves — including the oil and gas off U.S. coasts — must remain undeveloped if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” she said.
Jacqueline Savitz of the ocean advocacy group Oceana warned the order would lead to “corner-cutting and set us up for another havoc-wreaking environmental disaster” in places like the Outer Banks or in remote Barrow, Alaska, “where there’s no proven way to remove oil from sea ice.”
“We need smart, tough standards to ensure that energy companies are not operating out of control,” she said, adding: “In their absence, America’s future promises more oil spills and industrialized coastlines.”
United Airlines reached an out-of-court settlement Thursday with a doctor who was dragged off one of its flights after he refused to give up his seat.
The airline and Dr. David Dao’s lawyers agreed not to disclose the amount of money he will receive.
United put out a brief statement saying it reached an “amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident.”
United changes policy
The airline said earlier Thursday that from now on, no passenger would be forced to give up his seat except in cases of safety and security.
Those who volunteer to surrender their seats when a flight is overbooked would get up to $10,000 in compensation.
“Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect,” United chief Oscar Munoz said. “Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize.”
Chicago aviation police dragged Dao up the aisle of the packed plane when United needed to make room for airline employees.
Three other passengers volunteered to give up their seats, but Dao was picked out at random and refused to leave, saying he had to get home to treat patients.
Congress gets involved
His nose was broken, some teeth were knocked out, and he suffered a concussion. Cellphone video captured the scene. Dao, with blood streaming down his face, could be heard screaming with other shocked passengers.
The incident prompted calls in Congress to bring back government airline regulation.
Some lawmakers demanded outlawing the practice of overbooking flights, in which airlines sell more seats than are available to ensure a full plane.
Ghana’s finance minister says investors were optimistic in meetings with senior government officials who accompanied Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to the World Bank spring meetings in Washington.
In an interview with VOA, Ken Ofori-Atta said investors detected a new energy, and a sense of hope in a team that is focused on getting Ghana out of its current predicament. He also said that with a new government in place, the world is ready to see Ghana shine again in a much more stable West Africa.
“We came in on a platform of change and real hope that we will revitalize the economy and create jobs and there would be growth,” Ofori-Atta said. “But we met some pretty difficult challenges with regards to fiscal deficit close to 9 percent, lots of unemployment, growth of 3.4 percent, which was very low, and the discovery of some 7 billion Cedis [$1.3 billion] arrears that we all did not know about. Foreign exchange was low, and you also had the exchange rate in a pretty difficult situation. So we had to contend with all of that since we came [to power].”
But opposition groups say the new administration should get to work rather than complain about the state of affairs. They contend that Ghanaians displayed confidence in them by rejecting the previous government for failing to improve the lives of its citizens.
Ofori-Atta said that in just over 100 days, the government outlined its plans to jump-start the economy in a budget, which was presented to parliament. The aim, he said, is to create millions of jobs as the ruling party, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, promised ahead of the December elections.
“We decided to create a budget that is both leading to a fiscal consolidation in a real way and also not compromising growth,” Ofori-Atta said. “So we brought down the deficit as a target from 8.7 percent to 6.5. We squeaked out a primary balance surplus. We’re reducing our debt-to-GDP ratio from 72.5 to 70.9 percent, and then increase revenue by 34 percent. So, quite dramatic contraction in a sense. However, we also were clear that we needed to spur growth.”
One means to achieve their goals: abolishing some taxes.
“One of the most dramatic things was to abolish about 14 taxes, which the senior minister [Yaw Osafo Marfo] termed to be nuisance taxes,” Ofori-Atta said. “Taxes that were kind of suppressive and created a sense of cohesion by the state. As a center-right party, we have to revitalize the economy, we have to give stimulus, we have to encourage people to use their creative energies.”
Ofori-Atta also said abolishing the taxes will free Ghanaian businesses, and entrepreneurs will help to “bring Ghana back” into a working mode.
Another measure the administration plans to implement is the revitalization of the rural economy. This, he said, includes establishing a factory in each of the country’s districts, as well as sending $1 million to each constituency as a resource to support the policy of one district, one factory, which was promised by the president in the run-up to the polls.
Critics, however, say the one district, one factory promise was overly ambitious. They contend that with the dramatic reduction of taxes, government revenue would be sharply reduced, thereby handicapping the ability of the administration to raise the necessary funds it needs to keep the promises to Ghanaians. They also say the reduction of taxes was just a ploy to score political points.
But supporters of the ruling party reject the criticisms as unfounded.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s referendum victory to extend his powers was bittersweet.
For the first time he lost in Turkey’s main cities, including Istanbul, which has been his electoral power base since 1994. In the aftermath of his narrow win he has ordered a party investigation into the vote. The drop in support coincides with an economic slowdown, an ominous sign given the president is facing crucial polls in two years.
Erdogan’s unprecedented electoral successes were largely achieved in a period of economic boom, but those halcyon days appear to be waning.
“Currently, inflation rate is at 11.3 percent and is expected to increase further to around 12 percent in the coming months,” observes Inan Demir, an economist for Nomura Bank, “It would constitute the highest inflation rate since before the global financial crisis in 2009. Also, unemployment is at multi-year highs. So we are talking about a significant jump in the inflation and unemployment rate.”
The impact of the economic slowdown has been felt the most in western Turkey, where more than 70 percent of the country’s economic production is located, and most closely linked to European markets. The same region saw some of the biggest drops in support for the president in the referendum vote. While the Turkish economy is predicted to grow faster than that of Europe, it is still below the rate needed to absorb new entrants into the labor market.
A striking development of the referendum was the youth vote, overwhelmingly voting no, bucking its traditionally stalwart support for Erdogan.
“Youth unemployment is affecting the first-time vote. The youth unemployment ratio was 25 percent, according to the last data, notes Atilla Yesilada, a political consultant with Global Source Partners, “Fifty-eight percent of first-time voters voted “No.” (citing IPSOS research). According to OECD research, Turkish students are the unhappiest in the world with 72 percent saying they are very unhappy with conditions. So given Turkey’s very high rate of young population, up to six percent of the voters in the next election cycle, which starts in March 2019, will be first-time voters, which in my view is slipping from their [Erdogan government’s] grasp”.
2019 is scheduled for an unprecedented three polls – of local, general and presidential elections.
Erdogan’s success in the referendum was due in part to the overwhelmingly support he received in the rural heartland of the country, known as Anatolia, a region that has particularly benefited from the expansion of social security benefits under Erdogan’s AK Party rule.
“I detect that certain voters are becoming clients of AKP, these people can’t survive in the globalized economy of Turkey,” claims consultant Yesilada, “they are largely existing on account of the welfare state and also AKP has been very successful in imposing the view entitlements are coming form the party, rather than the state. So a dependency has been created between the poor in Anatolia and AKP, and these are people are so afraid if AKP ever loses they will lose their entitlements.”
In the run-up to the referendum, the government again turned to state intervention, launching major programs of cheap loans for businesses, job creation schemes, and massive public works projects.
Economists predict that with individuals and private companies racked with debt, more state intervention is likely, ”Turkey will find it difficult to sustain that debt-fueled growth, that’s why the public sector will play an increasing role in supporting economic activity going forward. Personally, I expect elections to be held earlier than the current schedule. I would not be surprised to see elections by this time next year. So I think it can be sustained until that time.”
The pressure to call early elections will deepen worries about how the government will fund it’s growing economic and financial programs. “So [numbers] are simple,” warns Yesilada, “we cant borrow abroad, because it very costly or foreign lenders are no longer willing, and Turkish deposits have been completely converted into loans. I don’t know how this can go forwards.”
Given that the bedrock of Erdogan’s electoral success has been built on economic prosperity, the continuation and trajectory of those programs ultimately could determine his fate.your ad here
Lawmakers are nearing agreement on sweeping spending legislation to keep the lights on in government, after the White House backed off a threat to withhold payments that help lower-income Americans pay their medical bills.
It was the latest concession by the White House, which had earlier dropped a demand for money for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Even with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, the Trump administration is learning that Democrats retain significant leverage when their votes are needed on must-pass legislation.
A temporary funding bill expires Friday at midnight, and GOP leaders late Wednesday unveiled another short-term spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend, something Republicans are determined to avoid.
There appears little chance of that as lawmakers worked to resolve final stumbling blocks on issues like the environment, though a short-term extension of existing funding levels is likely.
“The fundamental issue is keeping the government open, that’s our focus,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., a top member of the vote-counting team in the House.
At the same time, House Republicans had a breakthrough on their moribund health care legislation as a key group of conservatives, the House Freedom Caucus, announced it would support a revised version of the bill. Freedom Caucus opposition was a key ingredient in the legislation’s collapse a month ago, a humiliating episode for Republicans that called into question their ability to govern given that they’ve been promising for seven years to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Yet whether the Freedom Caucus support would be enough remained uncertain. One key moderate, GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, dismissed the Freedom Caucus about-face as “a matter of blame-shifting and face-saving” for a bill going nowhere. Even if the legislation passes the House it will face major hurdles in the Senate and is certain to be extensively revised if it survives at all.
The changes in the bill would let states escape requirements under Obama’s health care law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates, and cover a list of specified services like maternity care. Conservatives embraced the revisions as a way to lower people’s health care expenses, but moderates saw them as diminishing coverage.
Despite some optimism among House leaders for a quick vote on the health bill, the outcome was difficult to predict. The White House has been exerting intense pressure on House GOP leaders to deliver any tangible legislative accomplishments ahead of Trump’s 100-day mark, something that has yet to occur aside from Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The massive spending measure, which would wrap together 11 unfinished spending bills into a single “omnibus” bill, represents the first real bipartisan legislation of Trump’s presidency.
Democratic votes are needed to pass the measure over tea party opposition in the House and to provide enough support to clear a filibuster hurdle in the Senate, which has led negotiators to strip away controversial policy riders and ignore an $18 billion roster of unpopular spending cuts submitted by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
The outlines of a potential agreement remained fuzzy, but aides familiar with the talks said Trump would emerge with border security funding that’s unrelated to the wall and a $15 billion down payment for military readiness accounts on top of $578 billion in already-negotiated Pentagon funding. Democrats won funding for medical research, Pell Grants and foreign aid.
But negotiators rejected Trump’s demands for $1 billion to begin construction of his promised wall along the length of the 2,000-mile (3218.54-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border. And after a dispute between Mulvaney and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the administration agreed to keep funding cost-sharing payments under Obamacare that go to reimburse health insurers for reducing deductibles and co-payments for lower-income people.
Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram contributed to this report.
AP-WF-04-27-17 0724GMTyour ad here
“At the beginning of my fishing career, all the world told me that the trade was for men,” says Chrifa Nimri, “but now all my colleagues respect and call me captain.”
The 69-year-old Tunisian fisherwoman is one of a very small female minority in a very male-dominated profession – commercial fishing.
Around the world, the dangerous work of hauling in the catch at sea is overwhelmingly performed by men. But if you expand the definition of fishing to include processers and marketers of seafood, workers in small-scale and artisanal fisheries, and collectors of clams and other shellfish, women account for a substantial part of the global industry.
No women on board
Sara Skamser has worked in or around commercial fishing for nearly her entire adult life. In her early 20s, she arrived on the Oregon coast and collected her first paychecks salmon fishing and crabbing in local waters. Then Skamser asked for jobs on bigger boats home-ported in Newport — better pay and bigger adventure and all. But, she recalls, none of those skippers would hire her.
“No. They said no.” She mimics them. “’Uh, I know you could do the job. Gosh, you’re probably stronger than me. Uhhh, but I don’t think my wife would like it.’ Or, ‘Uhhh. I would feel terrible if you got hurt on my boat.'”
This was in the early 1980s. To this day in the Pacific Northwest, women hold fewer than 4 percent of the commercial fishery licenses issued by the U.S. states. Elsewhere in the world, social norms helped to keep the gender disparity in place. For example, in Mexico, Peru, Senegal and Vietnam, which all have major marine fisheries, 4 percent or fewer of the workers on fishing boats are women.
Changes on shore
But pull back the lens a little bit and there’s evidence of change. Skamser provided one of many oral histories that formed the basis of a research project on the role of women in the northwestern U.S. commercial fishing industry. Grad student Sarah Calhoun and Professor Flaxen Conway of Oregon State University along with the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center researcher Suzanne Russell in Seattle analyzed the results, which were published in the journal Marine Policy.
Conway, a sociologist, says they found women are playing a larger role on the regulatory and business side.
“I think if you look at the scientists, you look at the processing, you look at the marketing. … Once you broaden that out to fisheries in general, then I would absolutely say there are more women in science positions and management positions than there have been in my career, in my 27-year-long career.”
“We’re seeing an increase on the business side more so than ever before,” added social scientist Russell. “Women always worked the business side of things, but now with the complexity and all the reporting, trading and bycatch requirements, it’s pretty intense.”
One of Conway’s takeaways was that the traditional, behind-the-scenes role of a fisherman’s wife has become an increasingly complex and critical job. “Whether it’s regulation, safety, marketing, research, it’s all caring for that fishing family business and making those products get to the table that we enjoy.”
An international look
A separate research team cast a wider net – examining women’s contributions to the fishing industry in Mexico, Peru, Senegal, South Africa and Vietnam. Sarah Harper of the University of British Columbia led that study, whose results appeared in the latest edition of the journal Coastal Management.
“In terms of going out on fishing boats, I think it is still predominantly male-dominated. But certainly when we look at some of the small scale fisheries, the collection of shellfish and fish from shore, women are much more involved and definitely underestimated and undercounted in this area.”
Harper says subsistence fishing by women to feed their families is easily overlooked. So, she says, is who goes crabbing in Vietnam or fishing from boats in lagoons.
When harvest by women is overlooked, Harper says that makes it harder for governments to accurately gauge the pressure on a seafood resource and sustainably manage a fishery.
“When you’re looking at managing fisheries and potentially trying to rebuild fisheries and implement conservation measures, you really need to know who is fishing and where. If there are fisheries that only men are focused on in certain regions and we’re only focused on those, we’re not getting the whole picture.”
Harper says she is encouraged to see United Nations bodies take an interest in gender equality in fisheries and be more gender-inclusive when making policy and management recommendations.
Hooking new opportunities
Sara Skamser is still involved in the industry, but not on a fishing vessel. She makes her voice heard on several local advisory boards, and founded a successful fishing net and gear company called Foulweather Trawl with her husband in Oregon. She also deals with some of the fishermen who wouldn’t hire her decades ago.
“Bottom line of all of that is that I invoice those people now and occasionally there’s a large invoice. I just look at ’em. I give them the look. Like, ‘Uh, huh. Probably should’ve hired me. You would’ve gotten that for free,'” she says with a chuckle.
There are online forums dedicated to women in fishing and elevating their profile. One in particular on Facebook called “Chix Who Fish” celebrates victories such as getting a boot maker and a foul weather gear maker to add product lines tailored to the shapes of women’s bodies.
American “chicks” who fish have no use for gender-neutral titles by the way, according to Flaxen Conway. “They don’t want to be called a woman fisherman. They just want to be called a fisherman.”