USS Ford Will Set Sail With Only 2 Out of 11 Weapon Elevators


After years of work, the ship still isn’t 100 percent fixed.

By Kyle Mizokami

Oct 12, 2019

The USS Ford is the first ship with electromagnetically powered elevators designed to lift bombs and missiles between decks.

After years of work only two of the elevators still work.

The Secretary of the Navy originally promised that President Trump could fire him if the elevators don’t work on delivery but has now declared the ship “ready to go”.

The USS Gerald R. Ford will sail from the shipyard this month where she was built to a Navy shipyard, marking a major milestone in her progression into U.S. Navy service. One thing that won’t be ready on the ship, are nine of the eleven electromagnetically powered elevators that carry munitions from the ship’s magazine to the hangar. The Secretary of the Navy claims he told President Trump to fire him if the elevators weren’t fully operational by the time the ship is delivered to the sea service.

The USS Ford is the first of a new class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers. One of several new features onboard the ship are her eleven Advanced Weapon Elevators, or AWEs. Weapons elevators lift bombs, missiles, and other munitions from the magazine below to aircraft waiting in the hangar. Older elevators are hydraulically powered and can lift 10,500 pounds of munitions at 100 feet per minute. The AWEs, by comparison, can lift 20,000 pounds of munitions at a rate of 150 feet per minute. That’s a pretty significant leap in capability.

The AWEs use electromagnetic propulsion to lift, similar in principle to the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults that fling aircraft off the flight deck. EMALS is apparently fixed but AWE is not.

Two of the working Advanced Weapon Elevators.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zachary Melvin

A Navy public affairs officer quoted by U.S. Naval Institute News seems to indicate that the elevators were built for the first time aboard the carrier while being developed, a manufacturing process known as concurrency.

Due to the concurrent nature of development and construction, the shipboard AWEs have been test beds for identifying many of the remaining developmental and production issues for this first-in-class system, including issues with producing the tight tolerances required for the impacted doors and hatches,” Hernandez told USNI News. The Navy is continuing to troubleshoot the problem, building a “land-based test site” and a software twin to fix it.

In March, the Navy delayed the delivery of Ford from July to October in order to get the elevators working. Ford was already two years late and several billion over budget.

The failure to fix the elevators is a problem for the carrier, which is scheduled to undertake its first cruise in 2021. It’s also a problem for Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, who promised President Trump he could fire him if the Navy could not fix the AWEs before delivery. According to USNI News, Spencer discussed the issue with Trump and said:

I asked him to stick his hand out; he stuck his hand out. I said, let’s do this like corporate America. I shook his hand and said, the elevators will be ready to go when she pulls out or you can fire me.”

In a new statement the Secretary of the Navy made no reference to the elevator problem or his offer to be fired if they can’t be fixed, stating that the “crew and ship are ready to go to sea.”

Source: Popular Mechanics “USS Ford Will Set Sail With Only 2 Out of 11 Weapon Elevators”

Note: This is Popular Mechanics’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

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U.S., China agree ‘Phase 1’ trade deal; Trump suspends October tariff hike


Jeff Mason, David Lawder

October 11, 2019 / 4:50 PM / Updated 21 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China agreed on Friday to the first phase of a deal to end a trade war, prompting President Donald Trump to suspend a threatened tariff hike, but officials said the agreement had to be put on paper and more work was required to get it finalized.

The partial accord, covering agriculture, currency and some aspects of intellectual property protections, represented the biggest step toward resolution of a 15-month tariff war between the world’s two largest economies that has hit financial markets and slowed global growth.

Related Coverage

U.S. farmers cheered by apparent trade truce, hope shipments to follow

The announcement did not include many details, however, and Trump said it could take up to five weeks to get the deal written.

We will not sign an agreement unless we get and can tell the president that this is on paper,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said as the two sides gathered with Trump at the White House.

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With Chinese Vice Premier Liu He sitting across a desk from him in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that the two sides were very close to ending their trade dispute.

There was a lot of friction between the United States and China, and now it’s a lovefest. That’s a good thing,” he said.

Trump spoke after two days of high-level negotiations in Washington between Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and a delegation led by Liu on the Chinese side.

Photo WH

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer talks to China’s Vice Premier Liu He during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House after two days of trade negotiations in Washington, U.S., October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Mnuchin said that Trump had agreed not to proceed with a hike in tariffs to 30% from 25% on about $250 billion in Chinese goods that was supposed to have gone into effect on Tuesday.

But Lighthizer said Trump had not made a decision about tariffs that were subject to go into effect in December.

When asked about those tariffs, Trump said: “I think that we’re going to have a deal that’s a great deal that’s beyond tariffs.”

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Trump had previously insisted he would not be satisfied with a partial deal to resolve his two-year effort to change China’s trade, intellectual property and industrial policy practices, which he argues cost millions of U.S. jobs.

U.S. stocks ended more than 1% higher on Friday but well off the day’s highs after the announcement, with the S&P 500 .SPX up 1.09% after rising as much as 1.7% earlier on hopes of a deal.

DUTIES

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are both scheduled to attend a Nov. 16 summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries in Santiago, Chile.

Both sides have imposed duties on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods during their dispute, but there have been positive signs in recent days.

China’s securities regulator on Friday unveiled a firm timetable for scrapping foreign ownership limits in futures, securities and mutual fund companies for the first time. Increasing foreign access to the sector is among the U.S. demands at the trade talks.

Beijing previously said it would further open up its financial sector on its own terms and at its own pace.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed net sales of 142,172 tonnes of U.S. pork to China in the week ended Oct. 3, the largest weekly sale to the world’s top pork market on record.

Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing and Echo Wang in Washington; Writing by Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Paul Simao and Alistair Bell

Source: Reuters “U.S., China agree ‘Phase 1’ trade deal; Trump suspends October tariff hike”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Global Companies, Brands Dare Not Support HK Protests


In its report “Factbox: Global firms take action after China criticism over Hong Kong protests” today Reuters gives a list of major global companies and brands that have taken actions to avoid hurting Chinese Mainlanders’ feelings over Hong Kong protests, including Apple, Nike, Vans, Tiffany, Activision Blizzard Inc. and Givenchy.

US Secretary of State Pompeo says in an interview ““I think American businesses are waking up to the risks inherent in compliance with the Chinese government’s rules”

However, the fact is that it has nothing to do with Chinese government’s rules. It concerns Chinese Mainlanders’ attitude towards Hong Kong protesters’ xenophobia against Chinese Mainlanders. Mainlanders in Hong Kong have been beaten up by the protesters indiscriminatedly simply because they have spoken Mandarin.

Protesters’ hatred of Mainlanders have grown now to the extent of smashing Mainland banks and companies including private ones.

Mainland Chinese media have not shown on TV what Hongkong people have seen on TV screen of protesters beating up Mainlanders and smashing Mainland firms. I think that Mainland government is good in avoiding doing so to upset Mainland Chinese people. Otherwise you may probably see Mainlanders smashing the firms whether Chinese or foreign ones that support Hong Kong protesters.

Hong Kong protesters’ hatred may have been provoked by some people who want to sow discord between Hongkongers and Mainlanders. That is not a big issue as Hong Kong is but small compared with the vast size and huge population of Mainland China. Pompeo, however, has obviously been trying to sow discord between Chinese and American peoples in distorting the Hong Kong issue and putting groundless accusation on Chinese government. He probably forgets that Chinese and American are the two largest and most powerful peoples in the world. Enmity between them may give rise to lots of trouble and even wars between them.

What does he want? Does he want to turn the peoples of the two countries into dead enemies?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-protests-factbox/factbox-global-firms-take-action-after-china-criticism-over-hong-kong-protests-idUSKBN1WP2EW.


The 1% Rules, The 99% Lets Them! That Is US Democracy


Popular Resistance.org describes how US democracy has declined in its article “The 1% Rules, The 99% Lets Them!” by Anne Meador on October 6, 2019.

In the US, one of the wealthiest nation, “16.5 million children go to bed hungry and 20% of community college students are experiencing ‘food insecurity.’”

The article points out 19 problems regarded by it as the “shame of a nation”, only 2 more are listed below:

Never have people been able to use their right to free speech so unencumbered, yet a torrent of lies are now spread so freely and are often unchallenged.”

Never have there been higher corporate profits, yet staggering amounts of poverty and near poverty remain along with stagnant wages.”

For all the problems, please read the article in full at https://popularresistance.org/the-1-rules-the-99-lets-them/.

Source: popularresistance.org “The 1% Rules, The 99% Lets Them!” (summary by Chan Kai Yee)

Note: This is popularresistance.org’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Big Money Killing Freedom of Press: popularresistance.org


Wall Street Is Killing Local Newspapers

By Olivia Snow Smith, Otherwords.org

October 5, 2019 | Educate!

We can’t put a price tag on our free press — but unless we stop them, predatory investors can.

Though lacking the size and prestige of The New York Times or The Washington Post, The Storm Lake Times is arguably just as important.

Two years ago, the small, bi-weekly Iowa paper (circulation: 3,000) won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for taking on agricultural water pollution in the state. If it weren’t for vibrant local papers, stories like these might never come to light.

Unfortunately, all over the country, private equity and hedge funds have been scooping up these cash-strapped papers — and looting them into irrelevance or bankruptcy.

Here’s how it works.

Investors put down a fraction of the purchase price and borrow the rest — and then saddle the company with that debt. Layoffs and cutbacks follow, which leads to a shabbier product. Circulation and revenue decline, then more cuts, and the cycle accelerates.

Eventually the paper is a shadow of its former self, or turned to ashes completely. Wall Street wins, the public loses.

Perhaps the most infamous recent example was the breakdown of the 127-year-old Denver Post. Since private equity firm Alden Global acquired the paper, it has cut two out of every three staff positions — twice the industry rate for downsizing.

To add insult to injury, the firm has been using staff pension funds as its own personal piggy bank. In total, they’ve moved nearly $250 million into investment accounts in the Cayman Islands.

Employees who remain grapple with censorship. Last April, Dave Krieger — editorial page editor of Alden’s Boulder Daily Camera — was fired after self-publishing an opinion piece headlined “Private Equity Owners Endanger Daily Camera’s Future.”

In solidarity, Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett resigned, complaining that his publishers were also censoring stories that might offend Alden.

Alden’s Digital First Media runs many other big papers, putting hundreds of newsroom staff at risk of censorship and layoffs. Millions of readers, in turn, may learn only what Alden deems fit for them.

It’s not a new pattern. In 2008, a year after billionaire Sam Zell bought the Tribune Co. — publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and other venerable publications — the company filed for bankruptcy, saddled with $13 billion in debt in what’s been called “the deal from hell.”

After it emerged from bankruptcy, the company was left in the hands of — you guessed it — private equity.

The march of these buyout barons continues. This summer, New Media Investment Group (owner of GateHouse Media) announced plans to buy Gannett. The $1.38 billion deal would unite one-sixth of all daily newspapers across the country, affecting 9 million print readers.

New Media anticipates cutting $300 million in costs each year, suggesting layoffs comparable to those at The Denver Post are in the offing — even as the company and its investor owners harvest profits.

This is a crisis. This country lost more than a fifth of its local newspapers between 2004 and 2018, while newspapers lost almost half of their newsroom employees between 2008 and 2018.

A few lawmakers are catching on.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) recently introduced the Stop Wall Street Looting Act to curb these abuses, with Warren specifically calling out private equity firms for decimating local newspapers.

Senator Bernie Sanders recently introduced an ambitious plan of his own, calling for a moratorium on major media mergers and encouraging newsrooms to unionize nationwide.

Newspapers have been critical to American democracy since its founding. By allowing huge corporations to gut newspapers in the name of making a buck, we’re putting a price tag on that democracy when we need it most.

Source: popularresistance.org “Wall Street Is Killing Local Newspapers”

Note: This is popularresistance.org’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views. I have only used another title to make the article’s meaning clearer.


Check Out China’s New DF-17 Hypersonic Glide Vehicle: A Real Killer?


Can the U.S. military match it? How capable is it?

by David Axe October 1, 2019

Follow @daxe on Twitter

The People’s Liberation Army on Oct. 1, 2019 revealed a new hypersonic missile that could pose a major threat to U.S. forces in the Pacific region.

The DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle, or HGV, made its public debut as part of the PLA’s sprawling, 15,000-person military parade in Beijing commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

While other countries also are working on hypersonic weapons — meaning powered or gliding precision-guided munitions that can travel faster than five times the speed of sound — the DF-17 apparently is the first or second hypersonic glide vehicle in the regular inventory of any military. Russia claimed it also would deploy an HGV in 2019.

The 16 DF-17s that featured in the parade all were atop what appeared to be DF-16 medium-range ballistic missiles. In actual use, the DF-16 would boost the DF-17 to Mach five or faster, at which point the DF-17 would separate from the booster and angle toward its target, maneuvering to correct its course or evade enemy defenses.

It’s unclear whether the DF-17 carries a warhead. “It is likely that the DF-17 is configured as a conventional munition with its destructive effect derived from the kinetic energy of the HGV,” commented Andrew Tate, an expert with Jane’s.

With a range of potentially a thousand miles or more, the DF-17 could threaten U.S. forces and their allies across the Western Pacific.

Nozomu Yoshitomi, a retired Japanese army general who now is a professor at Nihon University, told Reuters the DF-17 could render obsolete existing defenses. “There is a possibility that if we do not acquire a more sophisticated ballistic missile defense system, it will become impossible for both the United States and Japan to respond,” Yoshitomi said.

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Gen. John Hyten, then the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2018.

Hypersonic weapons are proliferating. In late December 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian military had tested its Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle in order to “successfully verify all of its technical parameters,” state-owned TASS news agency reported.

“On my instructions, the industrial enterprises and the defense ministry have prepared for and carried out the final test of this system,” Putin said, according to TASS. “The test was completely successful: all technical parameters were verified.”

Meanwhile, the United States is just beginning to acquire its first battery of HGVs. The Pentagon in late 2018 awarded Dynetics and Lockheed Martin contracts worth a combined $700 million to build 20 “common” hypersonic vehicles, fit eight with guidance systems and install them on four launchers. The U.S. Army could form its first HGV-launching unit as early as 2023.

The U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force also plan to deploy versions of the same common HGV. The Navy’s would launch vertically from submarines in the same way that subsonic Tomahawk cruise missiles do today.

The Air Force could equip its heavy bombers with the weapons. The flying branch recently proposed its B-1 bombers as launch platforms for hypersonic missiles — this despite the B-1 fleet’s lingering reliability problems.

In rushing to be first, Russia and China could end up fielding an unreliable weapon, one U.S. official has claimed. In July 2018, Michael Griffin, the U.S. Defense Department’s undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, asserted that despite rivals’ progress the United States remained the world leader in hypersonic-weapons research.

The Pentagon determined there was no need to hurry up and equip troops with an unrefined weapon, Griffin told the U.S. Congress. “We didn’t see a need for it.”

America’s hypersonic weapons would mature “through the 2020s,” Griffin said. “You’re going to see our testing pace stepping up, and you’re going to see capability delivery from the early ’20s right through the decade.”

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

Source: National Interest “Check Out China’s New DF-17 Hypersonic Glide Vehicle: A Real Killer?”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China’s tech ambition is ‘unstoppable’ — with or without the trade war, analyst says


Arjun Kharpal September 30, 2019

Key Points

  • For years, Silicon Valley looked down on China tech and believed it was only copying. But today, there is awareness that China is innovating and getting ahead in certain tech arenas,” says Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China.”

  • The world’s second-largest economy is already showing some good progress in its push on homegrown industries such as artificial intelligence and chips.

  • Experts suggest that the U.S. needs a national technology agenda and increased investment in research and development to retain its edge.

Photo Trump, Xi

President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

China is closing in on the U.S. in some areas of technology and could soon even overtake America in certain respects, experts told CNBC.

The world’s second-largest economy is already showing some good progress in its push on homegrown industries such as artificial intelligence and chips.

China is closing the technological gap with the United States, and though it may not match U.S. capabilities across the board, it will soon be one of the leading powers in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, energy storage, fifth-generation cellular networks (5G), quantum information systems, and possibly biotechnology,” U.S.-based think tank the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said in a recent report.

It comes as Beijing gears up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1. With much fanfare expected, the event will see the Asian giant flaunt its military prowess in a parade in Beijing and President Xi Jinping talk up the nation’s progress

China’s digital footprint

A big part of the nation’s development has been technological.

China’s digital economy accounts for over 34% of the country’s gross domestic product. It’s also home to some of the largest technology companies in the world, including e-commerce giant Alibaba and tech conglomerate Tencent.

That’s thanks to an internet boom over the years. The number of internet users in China at the end of 2008 totaled 298 million — or just over 22% of the population at that time, according to official statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). That number rose to 854 million at the end of June this year — or over 60% of the population.

We have a technology grip from the U.S. that is actually being torn apart by China at this point.

Eoin Murray head of investment at Hermes Investment Management

Just over 99% of Chinese web-users access the internet on their mobile devices, according to official government statistics. In the U.S. just over 92% of internet users access it on mobile, separate statistics from eMarketer show.

That mobile focus in China has helped companies roll out products quickly and on a large scale.

And China’s rise is threatening America’s historically strong position in technology.

We have a technology grip from the U.S. that is actually being torn apart by China at this point,” Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes Investment Management told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” last week.

Copycat image changing

But the rise of China’s tech industry has been tarnished by allegations of intellectual property theft and claims that the country’s technology companies have been copycats.

Whether it is Chinese-designed phones that look similar to Apple’s iPhone, or Chinese search or e-commerce companies being compared to Silicon Valley’s Google or Amazon, China has for a long time carried the image of a tech follower.

But that image is changing.

For years, Silicon Valley looked down on China tech and believed it was only copying. But today, there is awareness that China is innovating and getting ahead in certain tech arenas,” Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China,” told CNBC.

There are even signs that some of America’s biggest tech firms have been imitating some Chinese companies now.

Facebook released a short video app called Lasso last year to fend off competition from TikTok, an app owned by Chinese firm Bytedance. TikTok has made major inroads with U.S consumers.

China threat to US tech

Over the past few years, Beijing has publicly stated its ambitions to develop critical future technology, such as artificial intelligence and the next-generation of super-fast mobile networks known as 5G.

Even before the U.S.-China trade war started, Beijing said in 2017 that it wanted to become a world leader in AI by 2030. Some of China’s biggest companies including Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent and Baidu, are all investing heavily in AI. Just last week, Alibaba followed Huawei’s footsteps and released its own AI chip.

The US-China trade war is hurting both sides. China’s ambition is unstoppable to become a global leader in tech, trade war or not.

Rebecca Fannin author of “Tech Titans of China”

Beijing has also said semiconductors will be a key area of the Made in China 2025 plan, a government initiative that aims to boost the production of higher-value products. China wants to make more of the chips it uses.

Meanwhile, Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment-maker, has secured more commercial 5G contracts than its rivals Nokia and Ericsson. 5G promises super-fast data speeds and the ability to support new technologies like autonomous vehicles.

US response

Technology has been a key part of the ongoing U.S-China trade war with one company in particular, Huawei, being caught in the crosshairs.

The Chinese technology giant has been put on a U.S. blacklist known as the Entity List which restricts its access to American technology. But this has only sharpened its focus on trying to make more of the components and software it needs. The company has been releasing its own processors for smartphones and recently unveiled its own operating system, in a bid to become less reliant on the U.S.

Washington’s response to the rise of China’s tech industry has been about containment rather than trying to stay ahead, according to one expert.

So far it has been primarily focused on slowing China down and preventing critical technologies from flowing to Beijing,” Adam Segal, one of the authors of CFR’s report, told CNBC. “While there is a growing recognition in Congress and in the White House that the U.S. needs to do more to accelerate innovation at home, the response so far has fallen short.”

Segal suggested the U.S. should restore federal funding for research and development to its historical average. This would mean increasing funding from 0.7% to 1.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) annually, or from $146 billion to about $230 billion at the 2018 exchange rate, according to Segal.

Fannin echoed some of Segal’s comments and said the U.S. needs a “national agenda” in key technology areas. She added that the current trade war won’t stop China’s rise.

The US-China trade war is hurting both sides. China’s ambition is unstoppable to become a global leader in tech, trade war or not,” Fannin told CNBC.

Source: CNBC “China’s tech ambition is ‘unstoppable’ — with or without the trade war, analyst says”

Note: This is CNBC’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the articles views.