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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Car Industry Alternative Energy: Electric car batteries with five-minute charging times produced

Batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time, marking a significant step towards electric cars becoming as fast to charge as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles.

Electric vehicles are a vital part of action to tackle the climate crisis but running out of charge during a journey is a worry for drivers. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines.

Read more at: Electric car batteries with five-minute charging times produced | Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars | The Guardian

Monday, January 18, 2021

Global Economy: China Is the Only Major Economy to Report Economic Growth for 2020 - by Grace Zhu and Bingyan Wang

China’s economy expanded by 2.3% in 2020, roaring back from a historic contraction in the early months of the year to become the only major world economy to grow in what was a pandemic-ravaged year.

China’s ability to expand, even as the world struggled to control a deadly virus that has killed more than two million people, underscores the country’s success in largely taming the coronavirus within its borders and further cements its place as the dominant economy in Asia.

Note EU-Digest: On Monday, China reported a year-on-year increase of 6.5% for the fourth quarter of 2020 and a 2.3% increase for all of 2020, surpassing analysts' forecasts and making China the the only major economy to log positive growth in 2020.Fortune magazine predicts that financial experts believe that China's economy will overtake that of the US somewhere between 2026 and 2029.

Read more at: China Is the Only Major Economy to Report Economic Growth for 2020 - WSJ

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Netherlands: "If we reelect Mark Rutte "the Dutch political Houdini" we don't deserve any better" - by Johan Fretz

The self induced fall of the Rutte III cabinet took place in such a slow motion that its impact was spread out over a week. That was precisely Rutte's intention: if you move more slowly towards the ground, the impact will be less hard. Even in his own fall, Rutte remained the merciless strategist. If there was no other option, then only with as little damage to himself as possible.

Earlier this week, he had put on the table a sample of genuine “Rutlet logic”. Before the Christmas holidays, he had pretended that he thought it was all so intense and had to deal with it first. Now, after the holidays, he said that stepping down was a thing of the past. He may have thought we were all stupid and blame him: he has never been punished for anything in ten years. But the dynamics suddenly changed rapidly.

Lodewijk Asscher of thr PVDA labor party, the only one who had said aloud since the beginning that he felt shame and regret about his part in the benefits affair, still resigned. As is so often the case, it is the politicians who prefer integrity over power who pay the highest price, even though Asscher's choice was very justified and inevitable.

In looking back on his years in The Hague, he will have to reflect on the fact that he and his party entered Rutte II so indiscriminately, a cabinet that aimed to develop the public sector and human scale and in which it was established from the outset that such accidents would happen. That is why support for Asscher has crumbled so quickly in recent weeks: the affair reminded many voters how angry they were about this fatal government participation.

Even after Asscher's departure, Rutte continued to stop the fall of his cabinet behind the scenes. After all, it was not necessary from his VVD party viewpoint, and he undoubtedly felt strengthened by the voters behind the forty polled seats, who don't give a damn. But on Friday, Rutte solemnly said at the press conference: “We had to take responsibility,” as if it came from his deep inside. Those who listened more closely heard his cunning again: "Of course, it is always my ultimate responsibility in the end." In other words, I, the Good Samaritan, now fall for other people's sins, but have clean hands myself.What Typical Rutte B.S.

Political reality and public pressure can force a cabinet's resignation, but what they clearly cannot enforce is an inner realization in those responsible that they have failed morally. Mark Rutte does not resign out of regret or shame. He resigns because he had no other option. In doing so he devalues ​​the symbolic value of the fall, which if it had been sincere could have contributed to the healing and the initial restoration of trust in the institutions.

Now our political Houdini PM has again freed himself from the chains underwater and has escaped from the steel box. On March 17 last year, he happily emerges, with that tirelessly cheerful grin that for ten years has kept others from seeing his brutal politics of hollowing out and reckoning behind it. Do we deserve better? If we re-elect him or not ?

Read more in the original Dutch version of "Het Parool" from where this translated version came: Als we Rutte opnieuw herverkiezen, verdienen we niet beter | Het Parool

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Netherlands: Dutch government quits over 'colossal stain' of tax subsidy scandal - by Stephanie van den Berg

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government resigned on Friday, accepting responsibility for wrongful accusations of fraud by the tax authorities that drove thousands of families to financial ruin, often on the basis of ethnicity.

Read more at: Dutch government quits over 'colossal stain' of tax subsidy scandal | Reuters

Thursday, January 14, 2021

EU-China Deal: How should Biden respond to the EU-China deal? - by Jeff Rathke,

The United States has been transfixed by President Trump’s efforts since Nov. 3 to overturn the results of the presidential election, but America’s friends and adversaries alike are moving to position themselves for the Biden administration.

This will constrain the 46th president's room for maneuver — an example is the agreement in principle between the European Union (EU) and China on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), concluded in the last days of 2020. The successful push to conclude the CAI (largely led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel) took many by surprise, because just a few months earlier it was foundering on concerns about China’s international assertiveness and doubts in Europe about the wisdom of tying the EU’s fate more closely to Beijing. Washington should resist the temptation to try to scupper the deal by exploiting divisions in Europe; instead, it should develop a positive agenda with the EU that focuses on achievable priorities in an effective China approach.

Read more at How should Biden respond to the EU-China deal? | TheHill

Monday, January 11, 2021

Politcs and Corporate Funding Don't Mix: Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi, Morgan Stanley Pause Contributions - Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. plan to pause all political contributions, joining a growing list of companies changing or reviewing their donation policies in the aftermath of riots at the Capitol in the past week.

Goldman is still formulating its measures that will probably curtail future political giving to the elected leaders who fought to overturn the 2020 result. A representative for the firm confirmed the plan. JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, said it’s planning a six-month suspension to both Republicans and Democrats. Citigroup said it intends to temporarily stop all political contributions in the current quarter.

Read more at: Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi, Morgan Stanley Pause Contributions - Bloomberg