CHINA'S RETALIATION AGAINST TRUMP TARIFFS WILL HURT NC FARMERS: Monday's tariff increase will hit American farm states, many of which voted for Trump in 2016. Beijing is imposing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork and aluminum scrap and 15 percent on sparkling wine, steel pipe used by oil and gas companies, and an array of fruits and nuts including apples, walnuts and grapes. American farm exports to China in 2017 totaled nearly $20 billion, including $1.1 billion of pork products. There was no indication whether Beijing might exempt Chinese-owned American suppliers such as Smithfield Foods, the biggest U.S. pork producer, which is ramping up exports to China. The tariffs "signal a most unwelcome development, which is that countries are becoming protectionist," said economist Taimur Baig of DBS Group.
CARY DEATHS PROMPT CALLS FOR REGULATION OF BIRTHING CENTERS IN NC: The deaths in Cary are prompting some in the state's medical establishment to rethink the state's hands-off policy toward natural birth centers. North Carolina is one of just eight states that allows natural birth centers to deliver newborns without a state license or state oversight. At the same time the state oversees more than 700 occupational licenses and permits, covering such professions as acupuncture, cosmetology, daycare and funeral services. Greg Griggs, executive vice-president of the N.C. Academy of Family Physicians, suggested that a spike in deaths at one facility seems to meet the definition of a situation that calls for state regulatory intervention. "This is one of the things where we need our regulatory bodies to be able to initiate their own reviews," Griggs said.
HUGE CONFEDERATE FLAG RAISED ON HIGHWAY NEAR CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.: The Virginia Flaggers have raised a Confederate flag on I-64 near Charlottesville. The 30-by-50-foot Confederate battle flag was hoisted into the sky on Saturday on property leased on Interstate 64, according to the group's Facebook page. "The Charlottesville I-64 Spirit of Defiance Memorial Battle Flag was dedicated to the glory of God and will fly in honor and memory of all Confederate soldiers," a post read. The raising of the flag comes after the raising of others in North Carolina by The Sons of Confederate Veterans, who raised a 20-by-30-foot Confederate flag along Interstate 95 in Cumberland County earlier last year, among others.
TRUMP'S REVEALS HIS IGNORANCE OF DACA PROGRAM IN ANGRY EASTER COMMENTS: President Donald Trump on Sunday declared “NO MORE” to a deal to help “Dreamer” immigrants and threatened to pull out of a free trade agreement with Mexico unless it does more to stop people from crossing into the U.S. He claimed they’re coming to take advantage of protections granted certain immigrants. “A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA,” he added. It was not immediately clear what Trump was referring to when he said people are coming to take advantage of the program. The Department of Homeland Security is not issuing new permits, though existing ones can be renewed. The Obama administration allowed sign-ups during a set period of time, and the program is closed to new entrants.
SHADES OF TRUMP: MALAYSIA'S NEW LAW BANNING "FAKE NEWS" IS SHIELD FOR CORRUPTION: Malaysia's parliament on Monday passed a new law prohibiting fake news that critics fear will be abused to silence dissent ahead of a general election. Despite criticism from opposition lawmakers that the anti-fake news legislation will lead Malaysia closer to dictatorship, the bill was approved after a heated debate with 123 lawmakers voting for it and 64 against. The bill originally proposed a 10-year jail term and a fine of up to 500,000 ringgit ($128,000) for offenders, but the government later reduced the maximum prison sentence to six years. Rights activists say the law appears aimed at shutting down discussion of a multibillion-dollar financial scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is widely expected to call for national elections in the next few days.