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Beijing rebuffs Trump claims over economic slowdown

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China on Tuesday rejected claims from US President Donald Trump that it is being forced to make a trade deal because of its slowing economy, as the two sides prepare for more talks.

Beijing and Washington have been locked in a stormy trade war that has seen them hit each other with tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade.

On Monday, China published data showing its quarterly growth had slipped to 6.2 percent — the slowest in nearly 30 years.

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After the publication of the trade figures, Trump tweeted: “This is why China wants to make a deal… with the U.S., and wishes it had not broken the original deal in the first place.”

But Beijing has rejected the comments.

“It’s completely misleading to say, as the US side does, that because of its economic slowdown, China is eager to reach an agreement,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“I would like to once again call on the US to work together with China, to meet halfway, and to strive for a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement, on the basis of mutual respect and equality.”

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that top American and Chinese trade negotiators are due to speak by telephone “this week”, the second such call in two weeks.

Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had a phone conversation last week with China’s Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.

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Geng said that an economic agreement was in the interest of both sides, and “by no means a unilateral request of the Chinese side”.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month agreed to resume trade talks after discussions collapsed in early May when the American side accused Beijing of reneging on key commitments.

But no face-to-face talks have yet been scheduled.

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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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