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Apple cuts sales forecast, Tim Cook blames it on China sales, trade tensions

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China lands probe on far side of moon and the partial US government shutdown enters 12th day.

Tim Cook says fewer upgrades to iPhones another reason for lower sales

Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer Tim Cook Wednesday announced a cut in the quarterly sales forecast as he blamed the “much larger issue” of the slowing of the Chinese economy, and “the trade tension that has further pressured it”.

Reuters report said the US firm “lowered its forecast to $84 billion in revenue for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 29, below analysts’ estimate of $91.5 billion”.

US News reported Cook as telling CNBC that Apple products have not been targeted by the Chinese government, though some consumers may have elected not to buy an iPhone or other Apple devices because it is an American brand.

Cook said that fewer upgrades to iPhones was another reason for lower sales, added the report.

The announcement led to an 8.5 per cent fall in Apple shares, said a Bloomberg report.

Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg, “The fact that they missed that wasn’t the shock. It was the degree and how confined it was to China. The fact that China basically fell off a cliff was a jaw dropper, and combined with the lack of metrics, it makes investors feel like they’re walking blindfolded in the dark.”

Another Bloomberg report said Apple’s struggle for sales was already visible, “The reduction to the forecast comes after weeks of signals from inside Apple and its supply chain indicating the Cupertino, California-based company is struggling to sell the latest iPhones released in September.”

Donald Trump refuses to back down, partial US government shutdown enters 12th day

A White House meeting between US President Donald Trump and top Congressional leaders Wednesday failed to yield results as a partial government shutdown continued well into its second week. Trump is refusing to lift the shutdown as he demands an allocation of over $5 billion from Congress to build a wall along the 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico — a concession Democrats decline to make.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told CNN that “no progress” was made at the meeting. He was quoted saying, “We had a good discussion on border security issue. I don’t think any particular progress was made today.”

“Democrats intend to introduce a pair of funding bills that would end the shutdown, but without money for a border wall. The proposal includes $1.3bn for border security measures that can be used to repair and replace fencing and existing portions of the wall,” reported The Guardian.

The shutdown which entered its 12th day has already affected 800,000 federal workers who are working without a pay, it added.

Referring to Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Neilsen’s presentation, a Reuters report quoted Senator Dick Durbin as saying “It just was not a credible presentation”.

A BBC report said employees took to Twitter to show their dissatisfaction with the federal government.

https://twitter.com/MofackieB/status/1078113188993003520

In historic first, China lands probe on far side of moon

A Chinese probe named Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the lunar surface Thursday in what’s a historic first. The US and Russia have operated robotic spacecrafts on the moon before, but this is the first time that a probe has landed on the side facing away from the Earth.

The China National Space Administration made an announcement declaring the success of this mission as “the opening of a new chapter in humanity’s exploration of the moon”, said a New York Times report. The lunar explorer touched down the moon’s surface at 10:30 pm Hong Kong time.

Talking about Chinese national pride in this space exploration, the NYT report added, “China’s membership in the elite ranks of space nations has unquestionably been a source of national pride, carefully managed to emphasize the Communist Party’s strong and steady leadership.

On Thursday, Chinese news agency Xinhua tweeted probe images.

“This landing demonstrates China’s ambitions to become a space power and scientific force,” a Washington Post report said.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine took to Twitter to congratulate China on the success of its mission.

CNBC report explaining the meaning of the lunar explorers name said, “The name comes from the Chinese goddess of the moon. In the ancient tale, Chang’e flew to the heavens after taking an elixir, and landed on the moon as her final resting place.”

South China Morning Post report said, “The success of this phase would mark the completion of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme.”

Xi Jinping calls for Taiwan’s reunification, says independence ‘dead-end road’

Chinese President Xi Xinping said Wednesday that China will use force, if necessary, for Taiwan’s reunification, reported The Guardian.

In a speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a key cross-strait policy statement, Jinping was reported saying, “Reunification is the historical trend and it is the right path. Taiwan’s independence is a reversal of history and a dead-end road.”

The Chinese president promised peace and prosperity to the people of Taiwan post reunification, said the report.

“After peaceful reunification, Taiwan will have lasting peace and the people will enjoy good and prosperous lives. With the great motherland’s support, Taiwan compatriots’ welfare will be even better, their development space will be even greater,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the New York Times, Jinping’s statement came a day after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen asked China to peacefully settle disputes over the islands.

BBC quoted her saying Wednesday, “I want to reiterate that Taiwan will never accept ‘one country, two systems’. The vast majority of Taiwanese public opinion also resolutely opposes ‘one country, two systems’, and this is also the ‘Taiwan consensus ‘”.

Although Taiwan is a self governed, de-facto independent, Beijing considers it to be a “breakaway province”, said the BBC report.

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