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FedEx sues US government over shipment restrictions

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American logistics giant FedEx sued the US government on Monday, saying Washington’s restrictions on exports and imports due to growing trade disputes and sanctions created an “impossible burden” for delivery firms.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes as Beijing and Washington face off in a trade war that has seen both sides exchange steep tariffs on hundreds of billions in exports.

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The US has also sought to bar Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the American market and limit its ability to purchase US technology.

A statement by the delivery firm said the restrictions placed “an unreasonable burden on FedEx to police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day” or face heavy fines.

The company said it was impossible for employees to determine “the origin and technological make-up of contents of all the shipments it handles and whether they comply with” US laws.

The statement was released hours after China called on FedEx to explain why a parcel from Huawei to the US went undelivered, in the second spat between the two companies in less than a month.

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FedEx CEO Fred Smith told US broadcaster Fox News that “Huawei is just emblematic of this problem,” referring to what he described as the “confusing situations” that can emerge when employees sought to comply with the restrictions.

“Under the Department of Commerce’s regulations, we are expected to be the policeman for these export and import controls,” he said.

“Despite the fact that we handle 15 million shipments a day, if we make an error on any one of them… we can be fined $250,000 per piece.”

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IT publication PC Mag said on Friday a FedEx package to the US that contained a Huawei phone was returned to the UK.

An accompanying note explained a US government “issue” with China prevented the delivery.

FedEx apologized for the incident.

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“The package in question was mistakenly returned to the shipper and we apologize for this operational error,” the company said in a statement.

The US logistics group is already under investigation in China for failing to deliver some of Huawei’s parcels, with the Chinese company saying it would review its ties to FedEx.

Shortly after Smith’s interview, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox News that “the regulation states that common carriers cannot knowingly ship items in contravention of the entity list or other export control authorities.”

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“It does not require a common carrier to be a policeman or to know what’s in every package.”


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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