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News Wrap: China urges U.S. to make a deal to end trade war

In our news wrap Wednesday, China said its trade war with the U.S. is hurting both countries. A spokesman in Beijing also said that when it comes to international treaties, the U.S. “breaks promises” and “violates rules.” Meanwhile, Hong Kong protesters staged a sit-in at the subway station where pro-democracy supporters were attacked last month, spraying fire extinguishers at approaching police.

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  • William Brangham:

    In day's other news: Before President Trump spoke today, China called for the U.S. to meet it halfway on a trade deal.

    A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing said the tariff war is hurting both countries. He said the U.S. should follow China's example in approaching trade talks.

  • Geng Shuang (through translator):

    China has a good reputation for abiding by international treaties. The United States, in contrast, often breaks promises, overthrows consensus and violates rules.

    A country that habitually goes back on its word, breaks its promises and withdraws from treaties has no right at all to talk about fulfilling commitments with China.

  • William Brangham:

    The two countries are scheduled to hold their next round of trade talks in September.

    Protesters in Hong Kong staged a sit-in today at the subway station where pro-democracy supporters were attacked last month. Police with riot shields faced off with the crowd at the station's entrance. Protesters, in turn, sprayed fire extinguishers to slow their approach.

    Two more American service members have been killed in Afghanistan. NATO announced the deaths today, but gave no details.

    And the death toll from Saturday's suicide bombing in Kabul rose to 80, as more victims died of their wounds. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.

    Wildfires kept burning today across Brazil, and President Jair Bolsonaro suggested they're the work of nonprofit groups that oppose his Amazon development policy. He gave no evidence to support that claim. More than 74,000 fires have ravaged Brazil this year, up 80 percent from last year. Smoke has caused near-blackout conditions in Sao Paulo and elsewhere.

    In Australia, Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell will stay behind bars, after a court denied his appeal. Last March, the former Vatican finance minister was sentenced to six years in jail for sexually abusing two choir boys back in the 1990s. Today, an appeals court in Melbourne ruled 2-1 to uphold those convictions, based on the testimony of one of the victims.

  • Anne Ferguson:

    Justice Maxwell and I accepted the prosecution's submission that the complainant was a very compelling witness, was clearly not a liar, wasn't a fantasist, and was a witness of truth. He didn't seek to embellish his evidence or tailor it in a manner favorable to the prosecution.

  • William Brangham:

    Pell is the highest ranking Catholic worldwide to be found guilty of sexually abusing children. He could still appeal to Australia's highest court.

    Back in this country, President Trump ordered expedited action to wipe out federal student loan debt for some 25,000 American veterans who are permanently disabled. He signed the order at the AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. and he said veterans won't be taxed on the forgiven debt. The action affects just a fraction of 1 percent of overall student loan debt in the U.S., which exceeds $1.5 trillion.

    New numbers on the nation's fiscal outlook say federal deficits are surging. The Congressional Budget Office projected today the deficit will top $1 trillion a year starting next year, and deficits over the next decade will be more than $800 billion higher than expected. The CBO cited the recent budget deal that lifted the debt limit and eliminated planned spending cuts.

    And on Wall Street today, stocks jumped after major retailers reported strong earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 240 points to close at 26202. The Nasdaq rose 71 points, and the S&P 500 added nearly 24.

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