26 May 19
The Irish Sun
THE ‘trade war’ between the US and China is about a lot more than simply slapping tariffs on one another.
There is now a decades long tradition of Chinese firms choosing to flout the law on things like copyright, patents and other forms of intellectual property that American firms have created.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese mobile phone company Huawei had their Android license yanked by Google
Why this is done is obvious. The Chinese, like any country, want what is best for their people. If they are good enough to have to manufacture all of these things then what’s the big deal if they ‘borrow’ some ideas, right down to the root tech and how it works — and come out with some of their own version of things?
Lots of US presidents were upset about this. They didn’t want it happening, but they were also powerless to stop it as business interests generally outweighed anything that might be gained by trying to stop it.
The Chinese have been excellent at playing a cat and mouse game with Americans. They would come to an agreement, say one thing, do another and then the whole fracas would start all over again.
That was before Trump came in and turned it into a game that is being played more in the ‘for keeps’ stakes.
Tariffs and trade wars are bad for everybody and American consumers will pay for them, but the US position is increasingly clear and that is a good thing — a deal is a deal, you break one part of it and the whole thing is off.
That’s the way the world was before we all fell for acceptance of an endless nuance in which nothing is every truly right or wrong. Recently the Chinese sought major changes to what had already been agreed so the US turned around and said no and raised tariffs on them.
This week it got a little more complicated when Huawei, the massive electronics firm and maker of many phones the world over, had their Android license yanked by Google meaning that they can only use a free open source version.
Existing phones will be OK, and the open source operating system may be good enough for many too, but removing access to the Play Store and the likes is something that will put many users off from buying an expensive high end phone in which the basic expectation is curtailed.
What might surprise us all is if Huawei turn around and come up with their own operating system or some other solution that nobody was expecting.
You see, in business there is a strong reason to innovate and that innovation can take any form. Chess legend Gary Kasparov writes a blog for IT security firm Avast and said that the low-cost electronics industry “put an authoritarian Chinese regime with no transparency regarding separation between its government and its companies in the position to influence key elements of our digital world”.
Huawei is facing allegations of spying, intellectual property theft, and dumping below-cost phones on the market with the government’s backing. Beyond phones, the UK government is dealing with a scandal over whether Huawei should be allowed to build state-of-the art 5G networks in the country due to potential security risks.
A recent article called security holes in Huawei routers “a smoking gun”, adding: “The fights may be old ones, but these new battlefields are tilted in favour of the bad guys because they don’t have to play by the rules. As long as that remains the case, individuals need to stay vigilant.”
Gives you a bit to think about when it comes to trade wars and what phone you should use!
l I FOUND my mojo again — just a little — and cycled in and out of work this week (about ten miles each way). It wasn’t too bad but showed me how much fitness had been lost in the time I took off.
Not to be perturbed I went and did a minor session in the gym and ended up clapped with delayed onset muscle soreness which is that special kind of hurt you get when you don’t exercise for ages then do a load all at once! I was talking to a friend who is the same age as me and he reckons there are lots of forces working against middle age men.
An obvious one is hormone levels, then you have general stress levels, working and family commitments and the many other things that must be done because unless you are very fortunate you still have a million other things to do with your life too! I think any of these things can be used as excuses though, the real challenge was and always will be within ourselves.
I was talking to Sarah Outen when I did some cover work on the radio last week and she rowed the Indian Ocean on her own (youngest person to ever do it) and then circumvented the whole globe too! A story like that gets me amped up so hopefully it will help lead the charge to a good week of training!
ANDY’S DEATH IS JUST TRAGIC
SOME of you may have heard about the death of Andy Mann, who was a finalist in the Voice of Ireland a few years ago.
I knew him to see — he shared studio space with my friend Greg and last year he was meant to take a spare ticket we had for Electric Picnic but didn’t go in the end.
I’d go out to see Greg from time to time and Andy would be there working away on his stuff which was good. He was a nice bloke, positively disposed, a talented musician and loved by many.
His death comes only months after the apparent suicide of his ex-girlfriend Alli MacDonnell. She had four kids, including a two-year-old with Alli. The two events are both individually and together a heartbreaking tragedy.
I just want to take a moment today to say that if you are reading this and ever have a thought dark enough to want to kill yourself to please call the Samaritans on 116 123 and please just put off whatever you are thinking of doing for 48 hours to reconsider.
I don’t have the expertise to offer advice on how to deal with the things that people who are suicidal are thinking, but I do know the loss of a good person and Andy seemed like that to me.
IT’S NOT JUST THE RIP-OFF REPUBLIC
RIP-off goods are prolific.
In fact, over three per cent of all world trade is in knock-offs.
The OECD keeps tabs on this and the most common fake goods are footwear followed by clothing, leather goods and electrical equipment.
If you are wondering about ‘leather goods’ think women’s purses, which is where the rump of that stat comes from.
Fake goods are a $509billion-a-year market! For the EU, counterfeit trade represented 6.8 per cent of imports from non-EU countries.
The majority of fake goods picked up in customs checks originate in mainland China and Hong Kong. Other major points of origin include the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand and India.
The countries most affected by counterfeiting in 2016 were the United States, whose brands or patents were concerned by 24 per cent of the fake products seized, followed by France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany.
BAD LUCK ISN’T ABOUT CHANCE TO MAKE CLAIM
lI GOT hit by a van making an illegal turn last week and got a bruised leg and a few broken bits on my bike.
The guy was decent and acknowledged he was in the wrong and seemed really surprised when I didn’t demand we call the cops or turn it into a chance for a big claim.
Recently I heard a person say, ‘If you wouldn’t sue your brother or sister for the same thing then why do that to a stranger’ — and it kind of stuck with me.
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Every bit of bad luck isn’t about a chance to make a windfall claim. Sometimes you have bad luck, that’s all there is to it.
In any case, I wasn’t badly injured, and things are getting sorted. It’s very different than the last time a few weeks ago where a guy just drove up behind me at a red light and hit my bike.
Not only that — he tried to say it was my fault! Some people . . .