Indian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Team Disqualified From Major International Tournament For Cheating


One of the largest e-sports organisations in the world, Optic Gaming has had its Indian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team disqualified for cheating from the Extremesland 2018 Asia Finals. Optic India’s Nikhil ‘Forsaken’ Kumawat was discovered to have an unauthorised program on his PC during the team’s match against Revolution in the Group C elimination match of the $100,000 tournament. According to reports, it seems that suspicious activity from his PC was flagged by the event’s anti-cheat platform prompting administrators to investigate.

Kumawat reportedly closed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and hurriedly deleted a program running the background. This prompted a deeper investigation that threw up the retrieved program which would not run. However Kumawat’s behaviour as witnessed by the event organisers and his PC being flagged by the anti-cheat system was enough to disqualify Optic India.

Needless to say, Kumawat has been released from Optic India. Optic set up shop in India earlier in the year with an announcement to put together an all-Indian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. According to a prepared statement from the company in May, it partnered with two local Indian e-sports companies, AFK Gaming and SoStronk to discover the necessary talent for its Indian squad.

As per the selection process highlighted by Optic, candidates would “undergo an extensive evaluation based on psychometric and theoretical tests in addition to role-based and in-game analysis”. This was led by Ali Saba, Optic Gaming Scouting Director, with support from Prashant ‘Aequitas’ Prabhakar and the SoStronk team. Evidently this wasn’t enough.

This comes at a time when Indian e-sports doesn’t seem to have evolved as fast as it audience has. Be it the likes of bigger companies like Nodwin failing to pay its vendors, Ucypher blocking every Tekken 7 video on YouTube in a ham-fisted attempt to protect its reality show, or the travesty that was the Indian selection process for the Asian Games, there seems to be little to cheer about for e-sports fans in India.


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Indian Spec Nissan Kicks Vs Global Spec Kicks SUV: What’s Different


The Indian-spec Nissan Kicks is bigger in size and is based on a more robust platform.




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Though the Nissan Kicks is based on the Renault Captur, gets a fair dose of alterations.

The Indian-Spec Nissan Kicks was unveiled today and we finally get a sense of how this new Hyundai Creta Rival looks like. The new Nissan Kicks has been among the highly anticipated models for the Japanese car maker as the company will finally dive into a segment that’s been trending in the country and the sales too tell us that story. So far, the Indian car market has only seen near identical models coming from the Renault-Nissan alliance but the new Nissan Kicks, though based on the Renault Captur, gets a fair dose of alterations, to the design as also the features on offer. Having said that, the India-Spec Nissan Kicks is largely different from the one sold in the international markets, predominantly in the area of mechanicals and mass.


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Also Read: Nissan Kicks SUV Unveiled In India; Launch In 2019

It’s build on a different platform:

The Nissan Kicks which is sold in the global markets is developed on the Nissan ‘V Platform’ which also underpins some of the hatches and sedans of the Renault-Nissan JV like the Nissan Micra, Nissan Sunny, Renault Pulse and Renault Scala. However, the Indian-Spec Nissan Kicks is underpinned by the more robust B0 Platform on which also the Renault Captur has been developed and will be highly localised which will help in keeping price in check.

Also Read: Nissan Announces New Strategy For India With Kicks SUV To Lead Charge

The India-Spec Kicks Is Bigger:

The Nissan Kicks sold in the global markets is close to a crossover in terms of the design and dimensions but Nissan has made it look more robust and SUV like for India. The India-spec Nissan kicks though has a relatable silhouette and the B0 Platform has added more mass to it. It’s 89 mm longer at 4384 mm than the global model along with being slightly wider and taller at 1813 mm and 1656 mm, respectively. Wheelbase too is more and stands at 2673mm and this means there will be more space at the rear.

Also Read: Nissan Kicks India Unveil Highlights; Images, Features, Specifications

It gets a revised face:

The additional width has made the front of the India-spec Nissan Kicks look more butch. It gets a redesigned front bumper with skid plates finished in faux silver and LED headlamps with boomerang shaped daytime running lights (DRLs) at the inner corner. The grille is still the ‘V-Motion’ Nissan family grille but has a different honeycomb mesh design and is flanked at wider ends. The Indian version also sees projector headlamps and that adds to the appeal of the car.

The Side profile retains character:

Not much has changed in terms of design on the side save for the larger wheelbase at 2673 mm  and 17-inch twin-five-spoke alloy wheels. It retains all the design cues such as pop-out wheel arches, blacked out pillars, dual-tone floating roof and the roof rails are finished in orange adding a dash of funk.

Changes To The Rear:

The rear of the Indian-Spec Nissan Kicks has been mildly updated. It gets a re-profiled bumper and a bold chrome embellishment above the licence plate and given its size, it looks a little more angular around the corner. Moreover, the Indian-spec model also gets a shark-fin roof antenna. In a bid to build onto the anticipation some more as this compact SUV is yet to launch (in January 2019), Nissan has only given us a view of the exteriors of the Nissan Kicks, while the interiors are still under wraps. 

Also Read: Nissan Kicks India Launch Scheduled For January 2019, Hyundai Creta Rival

Though, it’s obvious that the India-spec Nissan Kicks will be more spacious given the larger wheelbase and we have been told that the cabin will be more up-market compared to the global model. It’s likely to feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen unit which will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and will get an auto-climate control system. Moreover, the interior will be finished with premium materials.

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As for the powertrains, expect the same combinations seen of the Renault Captur to make it under the hood of the India-spec Nissan kicks. A 110 bhp, 1.5-litre diesel mated to six-speed manual gearbox and a 106 bhp, 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox are expected to be the workhorses for the Nissan Kicks in India. However, we hope Nissan to consider the CVT transmission at a later date.

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YouTube Back After Global Outage, Tweets “Thanks For Your Patience”


New Delhi: 

YouTube is working again after a global outage that reportedly lasted around 45 minutes. The hugely-popular video platform suffered a serious outage this morning with its users confronting error messages as they tried to login, upload or watch content on the platform. Many users complained of seeing ‘500 Internal Server Error’ messages popping up on the screen.

YouTube has not offered an explanation as to what went wrong, but the company did acknowledge the outage in a short statement.

“Thanks for your reports about YouTube. We’re working on resolving this and will let you know once fixed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will keep you updated.”

The Google-owned website with a billion hours of content watched every day – suddenly crashed on Wednesday. #YouTubeDOWN was among the top trends on Twitter India at the time of filing the copy.

 

 





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As Pakistan Calls On IMF For Bailout, China Has Advice For Global Lender


Beijing: 

China today said the global lender IMF should “objectively and professionally” evaluate its planned investments in Pakistan to ensure that any financial package does not affect close ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

Cash-strapped Pakistan has approached the International Monetary Fund or IMF for a bailout, and has agreed to share the details of huge Chinese loans obtained for the CPEC project.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar told reporters on Sunday that Islamabad is ready to share details of the debt related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC with the IMF as he formally sought a bailout package from the international lender.

Reacting to the move by its all-weather ally Pakistan to approach the IMF for the bailout package, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “As a member of the IMF, China supports the organisation having cooperation with Pakistan in objectively and professionally evaluating the situation on the ground in Pakistan.”

“Also, we support the IMF (helping Pakistan) in coping with the current difficulties. Their measures shall not affect normal bilateral cooperation between China and Pakistan,” he said, adding the CPEC projects have been undertaken by the two governments under the principle of “consultation and contribution for shared benefits”.

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CPEC project: An IMF team is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on November 7 to negotiate the bailout package (Reuters)

Mr Umar landed in Islamabad on Sunday after meeting IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Indonesia for a bailout package for Pakistan. He said the decision to approach the global lender was taken after consultations with friendly countries.

An IMF team is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on November 7 to negotiate the programme, likely to cover a period of three years, Mr Umar said.

The Chinese official said that judging from the debt structure already released by the Pakistani government, their debt incurred from the CPEC is not high. “So, it is not the reason for Pakistan’s financial difficulties,” he said.

After the new Pakistan government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan took over, China has agreed to extend the CPEC projects to Balochistan province to address criticism that only the dominant Punjab province has grabbed most Chinese investments.

India has also protested to China over CPEC as it traverses through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir or PoK.





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India’s Data Localisation Decision Leaves Global Digital Payment Firms in a Bind


With the government on Monday saying it will not relax the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) October 15 deadline for data localisation, the road ahead has become tough for global digital payment providers who have sought more time to comply with the guidelines.

The RBI guidelines say that all digital payment firms like Google Pay, WhatsApp and others must store data locally for their businesses. The deadline to comply with the norms ended on Monday.

In a statement, WhatsApp said that in India, almost 1 million people are testing WhatsApp payments to send money to each other in a simple and secure way.

“In response to India’s payments data circular, we’ve built a system that stores payments-related data locally in India,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told IANS.

“WhatsApp payment is useful for people in their daily lives and we hope to expand the feature to all of India soon so we can contribute to the country’s financial inclusion goals,” the spokesperson added, without mentioning if the Facebook-owned company has finally submitted a compliance report sought by the RBI.

With over 200 million users, India is the largest market for WhatsApp.

Google Pay has reportedly asked the government for more time on this.

In September, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai wrote to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, advocating free flow of data across borders as such a step will encourage global companies to contribute to India’s digital economy.

Pichai said that the free flow of data across borders would also benefit Indian start-ups looking to expand globally.

“Free flow of data across borders – with a focus on user privacy and security – will encourage start-ups to innovate and expand globally and encourage global companies to contribute to India’s digital economy,” Pichai wrote.

“The Google team in India will be in touch with your office to follow up on some of the specific topics we discussed during our meeting,” said Pichai, thanking Prasad for his visit in August to Google’s Mountain View campus in the US.

On Monday, sources said the government is not in favour of extending the deadline for RBI’s data localisation plan. “The government is also not in favour of the data-mirroring idea,” they added.

According to India’s largest digital payment provider Paytm, all payments data of the Indian users must be processed and stored only within the country and must not be allowed to go out of the country, not even for processing.

“We have complied with this mandate since day one and have welcomed this initiative right from the beginning,” a Paytm spokesperson told IANS.

“It is important that we do not become mere Internet colonies for global companies and make every organisation accountable towards the security and privacy of data of our fellow countrymen,” the spokesperson added.

This is a key matter of national interest, said Paytm, adding that we must discourage inappropriate use and transfer of data.



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Window For Safeguarding Global Growth Narrowing


The IMF kicked off its annual meeting with World Bank on the Indonesian resort island of Nusa Dua (AFP)

Nusa Dua, Indonesia: 

The window of opportunity for safeguarding global growth is “narrowing” as trade disputes deepen and emerging markets face fiscal crisis, the IMF said Saturday, warning countries against worsening things by weaponising currency and interest-rate policies.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had downplayed the global concerns expressed at an International Monetary Fund meeting held this week in Bali under the shadow of US-China tensions, saying the world would benefit if Beijing is forced to changes its trade policies.

But the IMF said in a communique that while global growth currently remained “steady”, the risks are “increasingly skewed to the downside amid heightened trade tensions and ongoing geopolitical concerns”.

The Fund kicked off its annual meeting with the World Bank on the Indonesian resort island earlier in the week in a gloomy mood, preoccupied by the trade tussle between the world’s two biggest economies, and tightening financial conditions faced by emerging markets.

On Tuesday, it cut its outlook for global GDP growth by 0.2 percentage points to 3.7 percent for 2018 and 2019, citing the trade war.

“The window of opportunity (is) narrowing,” the 189-country organisation said, adding that members would “refrain from competitive (currency) devaluations and will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes” — a line apparently aimed at the US and China.

Mnuchin this week said he had told the head of China’s central bank about his concerns over the weakness of its currency.

US President Donald Trump has accused Beijing of depreciating its currency to absorb the impact of US trade tariffs.

But Mnuchin, speaking on the Bali meeting’s sidelines, declined to comment on whether Washington would declare Beijing a “currency manipulator” in a Treasury report due out next week.

That would be a first for China, triggering a process that could lead to punitive steps.

Differing Opinions

Mnuchin also pushed back against the growing global angst over the US-China trade fight, saying that pressuring Beijing into adopting more open trade policies would be good for all.

“Our objective with China is very clear: it’s to have a more balanced trading relationship,” he said.

“I think that if we are successful, this is very good for US companies, US workers, Europeans, Japan, all of our other allies, and good for China.”

The argument gained little traction in Bali on Saturday.

“Trade conflict would be bad for all economies, not just the US and China,” Japanese central bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda said.

“This type of thing will not be good for the US economy, the China economy, but also for the economies of Asia and the world.”

Tensions have soared recently with Trump’s administration rolling out billions of dollars in tariffs against China in a bid to tackle its trade deficit and rein in what Washington considers unacceptable Chinese trade practices.

Mnuchin said Washington’s ultimate goal was a “free, fair and reciprocal relationship” with Beijing.

Attention has begun to turn toward hopes that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit next month in Argentina and bury the hatchet with some sort of agreement.

Mnuchin said no decision had been made yet and the US was not — “for the moment” — requiring any Chinese concessions before Trump agrees to a meeting.

“To the extent that we can make progress toward a meeting, I would encourage that and that’s something we are having discussions about,” he told reporters.

World markets also have been roiled by a plunge in some emerging market currencies — including Turkey and Argentina — as domestic financial crises and higher US interest rates lure returns-hungry investors to the dollar.

The IMF statement said it would push to improve the World Trade Organisation and boost confidence in the global trading system.

It added that it would continue to help countries deal with the social and economic costs of “pandemics, cyber risks, climate change and natural disasters, energy scarcity, conflicts, migration, and refugee and other humanitarian crises”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Global Internet Shutdown Likely Over Next 48 Hours: Report


Internet users can face difficulties in accessing internet in the next 48 hours. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

Internet users across the globe may experience widespread network failures as the key domain servers are slated to undergo routine maintenance over the next 48 hours.

Russia Today reported that global internet users might experience network connection failures as the main domain servers and its related network infrastructure will be down for some time.

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will carry out maintenance work during this time period by changing the cryptographic key that helps protect the internet’s address book or the Domain Name System (DNS). This has been necessitated to counter the rising incidents of cyber attacks, the ICANN said.

In a statement, the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) said the global internet shutdown is necessary for ensuring a secure, stable and resilient DNS. “To further clarify, some internet users might be affected if their network operators or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have not prepared for this change. However, this impact can be avoided by enabling the appropriate system security extensions,” it added.

Internet users could face difficulties in accessing web pages or making any transactions in the next 48 hours. Also, users could face inconvenience accessing the global network if they use an outdated ISP.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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US Grounds Global Fleet Of F-35 After South Carolina Crash


F-35 flight operations have been temporarily suspended for an inspection of a fuel tube within the engine

WASHINGTON: 

The Pentagon grounded the global fleet of F-35 stealth fighters on Thursday, as a result of the first ever crash of the costliest plane in history.

A Marine Corps F-35B was completely destroyed in a crash during training in South Carolina on September 28. The pilot safely ejected.

According to Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the F-35 program, the US and its international partners — including Britain and Israel — have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations for a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft.

“The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina,” DellaVedova said in a statement.

He added that suspect fuel tubes would be removed and replaced. If good tubes are already installed, then those planes would be returned to operational status. 

Inspections were expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Britain, however, said the measure did not affect all of its F-35s, and that some flying missions had been “paused,” not grounded.

“Safety is our paramount concern, therefore the UK has decided to pause some F-35 flying as a precautionary measure while we consider the findings of an ongoing enquiry,” a British Defense Ministry spokesman said.

“F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth are continuing and the program remains on schedule to provide our armed forces with a game-changing capability.”

The South Carolina crash came only one day after the US military first used the F-35 in combat, when Marine Corps fighters hit Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

“The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents,” DellaVedova said.

“We will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernize the F-35.”

On Wednesday, Defense News reported that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had ordered the Air Force and Navy to make 80 percent of the fleet of key fighters, including the F-35, mission capable within a year.

The order sent ripples through the halls of the Pentagon, where officials have long bemoaned a general lack of readiness for key equipment.

Launched in the early 1990s, the F-35 program is considered the most expensive weapons system in US history, with an estimated cost of some $400 billion and a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.

Once servicing and maintenance costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft’s lifespan through 2070, overall program costs are expected to rise to $1.5 trillion.

Proponents tout the F-35’s radar-dodging stealth technology, supersonic speeds, close air support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information.

But the program has faced numerous delays, cost overruns and setbacks, including a mysterious engine fire in 2014 that led commanders to temporarily ground the planes.

So far, the US military has taken delivery of 245 F-35s, most of them to the Air Force.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Donald Trump Sceptical Of UN Global Warming Report, Says Hasn’t Read It Yet


Washington: 

US President Donald Trump said he has yet to read a UN report warning of global warming-caused chaos unless drastic action is taken and added that he is skeptical.

The landmark report released Monday said that time is running out to avert climate-induced disaster. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) declared it had “high confidence” in its predictions.

At the White House, Trump said he has not read it yet.

“It was given to me and I want to look who drew it, you know — which groups drew it, because I can give you reports that are fabulous and I can give you reports that aren’t so good,” he told reporters.

“But I will be reading it, absolutely.”

It was Trump’s first reaction to the report, which says that the Earth surface has warmed one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) and is on track toward an unliveable 3C or 4C rise.

The Trump administration has dismantled emissions reduction policies domestically, and vowed to ditch the Paris treaty on attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. However, Washington did not obstruct the report, as some had expected.

Many in Trump’s Republican party are self-described climate change skeptics, questioning whether the overwhelming consensus of scientists around the world about manmade causes for ever-rising temperatures is accurate.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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US-China Trade War Taking A Toll On Global Growth, Says IMF


IMF has cut global growth forecasts, citing the US-China tariff war as one of the reasons

Nusa Dua, Indonesia: 

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019, saying that the US-China trade war was taking a toll and emerging markets were struggling with tighter liquidity and capital outflows.

The new forecasts, released on the Indonesian resort island of Bali where the IMF and World Bank annual meetings are getting underway, show that a burst of strong growth, fuelled partly by US tax cuts and rising demand for imports, was starting to wane.

The IMF said in an update to its World Economic Outlook it was now predicting 3.7 percent global growth in both 2018 and 2019, down from its July forecast of 3.9 percent growth for both years.

The downgrade reflects a confluence of factors, including the introduction of import tariffs between the United States and China, weaker performances by eurozone countries, Britain and Japan, and rising interest rates that are pressuring some emerging markets with capital outflows, notably Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia and Mexico.

“US growth will decline once parts of its fiscal stimulus go into reverse,” IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said in a statement. “Notwithstanding the present demand momentum, we have downgraded our 2019 US growth forecast owing to the recently enacted tariffs on a wide range of imports from China and China’s retaliation.”

With much of the US-China tariff war’s impact to be felt next year, the Fund cut its 2019 US growth forecast to 2.5 percent from 2.7 percent previously, while it cut China’s 2019 growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent. It left 2018 growth forecasts for the two countries unchanged at 2.9 percent for the United States and 6.6 percent for China.

Obstfeld said he was not concerned about the Chinese government’s ability to defend its currency against further weakening but told a news conference that Beijing would face a “balancing act” between actions to shore up growth and ensuring financial stability.

If China and the United States were to resolve their trade differences, it “would be a significant upside to the forecast.”

The eurozone’s 2018 growth forecast was cut to 2.0 percent from 2.2 percent previously, with Germany particularly hard hit by a drop in manufacturing orders and trade volumes.

Obstfeld said the IMF does not see a generalized pullback from emerging markets, nor contagion that will spill over to those emerging economies which have stronger economies and have thus far avoided major outflows, such as some in Asia and some oil and metals exporting countries.

“But there is no denying that the susceptibility to large global shocks has risen,” Obstfeld said. “Any sharp reversal for emerging markets would pose a significant threat to advanced economies.”

Brazil will see a 0.4 percentage-point drop in GDP growth to 1.4 percent for 2018 as a nationwide truckers strike paralyzed much of the economy. Iran, facing a new round of US sanctions next month, also saw its growth forecast cut, the IMF said.

Some energy-rich emerging market countries have fared better due to higher oil prices, with Saudi Arabia and Russia receiving upgrades to growth forecasts.

The IMF said the balance of risks was now tilted to the downside, with a higher likelihood that financial conditions will tighten further as interest rates normalize, hurting emerging markets further at a time when US-led demand growth will start to slow as some tax cuts expire.

Trade tensions are expected to continue although Fund officials view US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement as a positive sign.

“Where we are now is we’ve gotten some bad news. Our probability that we would attach to further bad news has gone up,” Obstfeld said.

TRADE WAR RISKS

In a new simulation exercise to show trade war risks to the global economy, the IMF modelled the effect of an all-out US-China trade war, coupled with threatened global US automotive tariffs and retaliation from trading partners.

The model also includes the effects of a reduction in business confidence that reduces investment and leads to a tightening of financial conditions.

It found that global GDP output under this scenario would fall by more than 0.8 percent in 2020 and remain roughly 0.4 percent lower in the long-term compared to levels without the effects of a trade war.

The repercussions for the United States and China would be particularly severe, with 2019 GDP losses of more than 0.9 percent in the United States and 1.6 percent in China in 2019.

The exercise assumes that US President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on the remaining $267 billion worth of Chinese goods imports not already under punitive tariffs and China retaliates in kind. It also assumes that Trump imposes a 25 percent tariff on imported cars and auto parts.

Adjustments would occur as domestic production displaces higher-priced imports, the model shows, but in the long run, the US GDP would still be 1.0 percent below a baseline without these tariffs, while China’s GDP output would be one half percent below the baseline.
 

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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