In our news wrap Wednesday, U.S. and Chinese officials have concluded their latest trade talks without visible signs of progress. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called President Trump’s Tuesday accusations that China had reneged on trade promises “laughable.” Also, the U.S. Treasury Department announced financial sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
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And, in the day's other news: As we mentioned, stocks did turn south after Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated that today's rate cut might not herald a trend.
The Dow Jones industrial average plunged over 333 points to close at 26864. The Nasdaq fell 98 points, and the S&P 500 shed 33. All three indexes were down 1 percent.
And speaking of trade, U.S. and Chinese officials have finished their latest trade talks without visible signs of progress.
The meeting in Shanghai today was aimed at ending an ongoing tariff war. It wrapped up 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Just yesterday, President Trump accused the Chinese of reneging on promises, and he warned them against waiting to see if he is reelected. Today, Beijing answered:
Hua Chunying (through translator):
It's just laughable, because it's obvious to all who went back on his word and has been capricious in more than a year of trade talks.
It's useless to ask other people to take medicine when you are sick yourself. I think the United States should show more sincerity and honesty on the issue of trade talks.
The two sides say that they will meet again in Washington come September.
The foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is now under U.S. economic sanctions. The Treasury Department announced it today. It said Zarif is helping Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to carry out — quote — "his reckless agenda." Zarif countered that he was sanctioned because he is a threat to America's agenda.
In Western Afghanistan, a roadside bomb ripped open a bus today, killing at least 32 people. It happened on a highway between the provincial capitals of Herat and Kandahar. Local hospitals were crowded with at least 17 wounded. Officials said most of the dead were women and children. The Taliban denied responsibility.
Back in this country, the U.S. Senate confirmed Kelly Craft to be ambassador to the United Nations. The longtime Republican activist is currently ambassador to Canada. She will also be the first major political donor to serve as U.N. ambassador.
And Puerto Rico's outgoing Governor Ricardo Rossello has named his choice for a successor. Pedro Pierluisi is a former delegate to U.S. Congress. He was nominated to be secretary of state in Puerto Rico and would become governor when Rossello resigns on Friday. But he faces opposition over his ties to Puerto Rico's highly unpopular financial oversight board.