Monthly Archives: May 2017

The biggest loser from TPP’s demise is in town, and Trump is offering a small consolation

By Ana Swanson

President Trump holds up an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States and Vietnam are slated to announce trade deals worth between $15 billion and $17 billion on Wednesday afternoon, when President Trump and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc meet at the White House.

Speaking at a dinner for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night, Phuc said that the new deals would be concentrated largely in the high-tech sector. Even as Vietnam exports products like fish, seafood, apparel and footwear to the United States, it is a hungry consumer of U.S. corn, soybeans, planes and machinery, he said.

But the newly announced deals may be little comfort for Vietnam after the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-country trade deal that Trump officially withdrew from shortly after he entered office.

Economists say Vietnam would have been one of the biggest winners of the deal. A 2016 study by the Peterson Institute of International Economics found that the Obama-era trade deal would have increased Vietnam’s gross domestic product by 8.1 percent by 2030, the most of any country in the deal, and expanded its exports by one-fifth. Economists expected the deal to expand access to foreign markets for Vietnamese producers of apparel, footwear and seafood, as well as stimulate economic reforms within the country.

In comparison, the TPP would have boosted U.S. GDP 0.5 percent and Japanese GDP 2.5 percent by 2030, Peterson estimated. Even countries with smaller economies, like Brunei and Peru, would not see as large of a percentage increase as Vietnam would have, according to Peterson’s estimates.

The deal also had strategic implications for Vietnam, a country of 90 million nestled against China’s southern border. By excluding China, at least initially, the makers of the TPP sought to strengthen rival economies and balance …read more

Read more here::

After 19 male-led superhero movies, how much progress does Wonder Woman represent?

By Connor Behrens

Marvel and DC Comics have made a combined 19 superhero movies since they started turning their respective comic characters into interconnected movie franchises in 2008. Of those 19, a women has played the movie’s top role in exactly zero.

That changes June 2, when DC/Warner Bros. releases “Wonder Woman,” with Gal Gadot playing the titular character.

The film, directed by Patty Jenkins — one of only three women to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million — is another step forward for women in the superhero and science fiction sphere, coming on the heels of Katherine Waterston’s starring role in “Alien Covenant” and a pair of new Star Wars movies (“The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One”) that, respectively, featured Daisey Ridley and Felicity Jones playing the films’ main protagonists.

But while one is better than none, the fact remains that DC and Marvel made a combined 19 superhero movies with men in the lead before starring a woman. (Warner Bros.’ relatively new DC Extended Universe has made 4, whereas Marvel has made 15).

So will “Wonder Woman” be an irregularity, or is the film’s breakthrough the beginning of a new era of frequent female protagonists in a field of films that have thus far been male-dominated?

Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, leads a team that has been taking a truth lasso to the numbers since 1998. And while she has found Hollywood still functions far from parity, there are minor signs of improvement.

Overall, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that women made up 29 …read more

Read more here::

White supremacists love Vikings. But they’ve got history all wrong.

By David Perry In early May, the white supremacist Jeremy Christian — who is accused of killing two men in Portland, Ore., on Friday — posted on Facebook, “Hail Vinland!!! Hail Victory!!!” “Victory” makes sense. Bigots feel empowered these days. But why “Vinland?” Why was this accused attacker talking about the short-lived Viking settlement in North America? It […] …read more

Read more here::

How Trump’s tax reform push could make American liquor great again

By Tom Acitelli America’s growing ranks of craft distillers think that an excise tax cut from Washington could spur unprecedented growth in their industry, putting their small-batch, traditionally made whiskeys, gins, vodkas, brandies and more into more hands and on more menus than ever. It’s not so much drunk talk. Just look at what happened with craft beer. In […] …read more

Read more here::