Philippines protests hundreds of Chinese ships around disputed island – CNN

Philippines protests hundreds of Chinese ships around disputed island – CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)The Philippines government has filed a diplomatic protest with China over the presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels near a Philippines-administered island in the South China Sea.

As many as 275 Chinese ships and boats have been spotted this year around Thitu island, also known as Pag-asa island in the Philippines, said Jason Ramon, chief of public affairs for the Philippine military’s western command, to CNN Philippines.
Armed forces spokesperson Edgard Arevalo cautioned that it was difficult to quantify how many ships are around the island at any one time, as Chinese vessels “come and go” from the area. “The information that we got is the more likely intention is to establish their presence in the area,” he told CNN Philippines on Monday.
Philippines presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Manila had several questions for Beijing about the presence of so many vessels.
“We will ask them first why. First, if they acknowledge such fact as determined by us. Number 2, ask them why they are doing it. Number 3, we will politely ask them not to … not to do what they are doing,” Panelo said, according to CNN Philippines.
China’s ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, said Beijing was trying to verify how many vessels were around Thitu. They might be “unarmed” fishing vessels, he said, according to CNN Philippines.
Thitu island is in the disputed Spratlys chain, which includes Chinese-controlled atolls and reefs that Beijing has built up and developed with buildings, ports and runways over the past several years.
Philippines opposition lawmaker Gary Alejano said Saturday that the Duterte administration should not let China establish any long-term presence around Thitu.
“China is establishing a norm there which we cannot alter later on. Every day is a wasted opportunity to assert our sovereignty if we do not act now,” he said, according to CNN Philippines.
Besides the Philippines, China, Taiwan and Vietnam have also laid claim to Thitu. It has a civilian population of more than 100, as well as some military personnel, according to the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative.
The island is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Palawan, one of the main Philippine islands, which will be hosting exercises between the US and Philippine militaries in the next two weeks.
Manila has been in an awkward dance between Beijing and Washington for years over the South China Sea.
Under the previous government of Benigno Aquino, Manila won a landmark case against China at an international tribunal, which ruled that many of Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea were unlawful.
However, the administration under current President Rodrigo Duterte has moved closer to Beijing, even as the president voiced concerns about China’s territorial ambitions.

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Taiwan scrambles jets to confront Chinese fighters after rare incursion – CNN

Taiwan scrambles jets to confront Chinese fighters after rare incursion – CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)Taiwan has accused China of “reckless and provocative” action, after two Chinese air force jets crossed a maritime border separating the island from the mainland.

The island’s military scrambled fighter planes after it said two Chinese J-11 fighter jets crossed the border within the waters of the Taiwan Strait, known as the median line, at about 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“Two PLAAF J-11 jets violated the long-held tacit agreement by crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait. It was an intentional, reckless and provocative action. We’ve informed regional partners and condemn China for such behavior,” the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement
If confirmed as intentional, the Chinese incursion would be the first of its kind in years, said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the center of Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Chinese jets flew across the center line frequently in 1999,” Glaser said. “Since then, there have been occasions when PRC jets flew toward the center line and then veered off. They haven’t crossed it in a long time. By some accounts 20 years.”
She said there was one instance in 2011 when Chinese planes accidentally crossed the line.
According to local Taiwan media, the Sunday incident triggered a 10-minute standoff between jets from the two sides.
China and Taiwan have been separately governed since the end of a brutal civil war in 1949. Beijing views the self-governed island as part of its territory.

Weekend activities

On Saturday, the Japanese Self-Defense Force announced it had also scrambled fighters after the Chinese air force flew between Japan’s islands of Okinawa and Miyako.
Japan’s Self Defense Forces said in a statement the Chinese air force had sent four Xian H-6K long range bombers, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic countermeasures aircraft, one Tupolev Tu-154 MD electronic intelligence plane and at least two fighter jets through international airspace between Japanese islands on Saturday.
It isn’t the first time China has flown planes over the Miyako Strait — in March 2018, it conducted drills with bombers and fighter jets in the same area
In the past 12-months China’s military has ramped up the number of drills and exercises it conducts around Taiwan, including sailing the aircraft carrier Liaoning through the strait.
In a speech in January, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Taiwan independence was a “dead end,” warning he didn’t rule out force as a method of reunification.
Speaking on Wednesday, Taiwan President Tsai said her government had submitted a request to buy new F-16 fighters and M1 heavy tanks from the United States, which she said would “greatly enhance” the island’s defense capabilities.
The Chinese government has yet to respond to statements made by Japan or Taiwan, but in a press conference last Thursday, Ministry of Defense spokesman Wu Qian said potential US sales to Taiwan were “dangerous.”
“We will strive for peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts. However … we will take all necessary measure to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect peace and stability across the strait,” he said.

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Asian stocks rally as China’s factory bounce lifts confidence – Investing.com

Asian stocks rally as China’s factory bounce lifts confidence – Investing.com

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A videographer films an electronic board showing the Japan's Nikkei average and related indexes at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A videographer films an electronic board showing the Japan’s Nikkei average and related indexes at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks powered higher on Monday as positive Chinese factory gauges and signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks boosted sentiment, although another defeat for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal added to sterling’s woes.

Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open higher, with Britain’s gaining 0.4 percent, Germany’s adding 0.8 percent and France’s rising 0.9 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 1 percent and the rallied 2.4 percent.

Australian stocks climbed 0.6 percent, South Korea’s gained 1.3 percent and Japan’s advanced 1.4 percent.

The markets took heart after China’s official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) released on Sunday showed factory activity unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in March.

A private business survey, the Caixin/Markit PMI, released on Monday also showed the manufacturing sector in the world’s second biggest economy returning to growth.

If sustained, the improvement in business conditions could indicate that manufacturing is on a path to recovery, easing fears that China could slip into a sharper economic downturn.

“Our view is the impact of policy easing is gradually kicking in, pushing up sequential growth indicators such as PMI first,” wrote China economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:).

“In particular, the larger-than-expected tax and fee cuts and improving financial conditions have likely helped boost business sentiment in the manufacturing space.”

Stocks in Asia also took their cues from Wall Street, with the posting its best quarterly gain in a decade on Friday amid trade optimism. ()

The United States and China said they made progress in trade talks that concluded on Friday in Beijing, with Washington saying the negotiations were “candid and constructive” as the world’s two largest economies try to resolve their drawn out trade war.

“The ongoing U.S.-China trade conflict has provided a steady stream of conflicting signals for the markets. But as a whole the negotiations appear to be headed towards a conclusion,” said Soichiro Monji, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“Hopes that the United States and China would reach an agreement on trade as early as this month are enabling stocks to begin the quarter on a positive tone.”

In the currency market, the against a basket of six major currencies stood at 97.147 after going as high as 97.341 on Friday, its strongest since March 11.

The greenback had benefited from the flagging pound, which was on track to post its fourth day of losses in the wake of the ongoing Brexit saga.

Sterling took its latest knock after British lawmakers rejected Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, sounding its probable death knell and leaving the country’s withdrawal from the European Union deeper in turmoil.

The pound crawled up 0.15 percent to $1.3055 having posted three sessions of losses.

The Australian dollar advanced 0.35 percent to $0.7122. The is sensitive to shifts in the economic outlook for China, the country’s main trading partner.

The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.1239 while the dollar gained 0.2 percent to 111.035 yen.

Safe-haven government bonds retreated as risk aversion in the broader markets eased.

The benchmark edged up to a six-day high of 2.444 percent, pulling away from a 15-month low of 2.340 percent brushed on March 25.

The Treasury 10-year yield had sunk as the Federal Reserve halted its drive to hike rates and as risk aversion, driven by concerns about a global economic slowdown, gripped financial markets towards the end of March.

The slide had pushed the 10-year yield below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007 late last month.

This phenomenon – when the spread between short- and long- dated yields turns negative – is known as a curve inversion and has preceded every U.S. recession over the past 50 years.

The 3-month/10-year yield spread has since pulled back from negative territory and stood around 3 basis points.

prices added to Friday’s gains, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures gaining 0.6 percent to $60.52 per barrel.

Oil prices posted their biggest quarterly rise in a decade during January-March, as U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela as well as OPEC-led supply cuts overshadowed concerns over a slowing global economy. [O/R]

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China’s factory activity unexpectedly grows in March, a private survey shows – CNBC

China’s factory activity unexpectedly grows in March, a private survey shows – CNBC

October 12, 2016: A a Chinese worker making soft toys at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.

STR – AFP – Getty Images

October 12, 2016: A a Chinese worker making soft toys at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.

Manufacturing activity in China expanded unexpectedly in March at its fastest pace in eight months, a private survey showed on Monday.

poll of economists.

A reading below 50 signals contraction, while a reading above that level indicates expansion.

New orders climbed to their highest level in four months, while the index for new export orders returned to expansionary territory, “showing that both domestic and external demand rebounded moderately,” wrote Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin.

Markit and Caixin said in a joint press release that staffing levels at factories rose in March to mark their first expansion since October 2013. Some firms also hired additional workers to support greater production and new business developments, they added.

“Overall, with a more relaxed financing environment, government efforts to bail out the private sector and positive progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks, the situation across the manufacturing sector recovered in March,” said Zhong.

Results of the private survey came after data on Sunday showed the official Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.5 in March from February’s three-year low of 49.2. It marked the first expansion in four months, according to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

The manufacturing numbers come amid ongoing tariff talks between the U.S. and China aimed at resolving their trade differences. High-level trade negotiations between the two economic powerhouses are set to resume in Washington this week following last week’s talks in Beijing.

The Caixin PMI is a private survey focused on smaller businesses and offers a first glimpse into the operating environment. It is closely watched as an alternative to the official PMI.

Despite the strength of China’s March manufacturing data, there are still reasons to be cautious about the country’s near-term outlook, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.

The breakdown of both the official and private PMI indexes suggests a slight recovery in external demand, with most of the improvement coming from a pick-up in domestic demand, wrote Evans-Pritchard in a note on Monday.

“We suspect that this was driven by stronger fiscal support since local governments have stepped up bond issuance recently,” he added. “On that note, the official PMI for the construction sector rose last month, consistent with an acceleration in infrastructure spending.”

China’s growth could still weaken in the near-term as indicated by recent credit growth data and a sharp decline in land sales purchases, Evans-Pritchard said.

Results of the Caixin PMI survey for the services sector are due to be released on Wednesday.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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China Factory Gauge Rebounds as Business Confidence Improves – Bloomberg

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China Floats Cloud Concession to Foreign Tech Firms in U.S. Trade Talks – The Wall Street Journal

China Floats Cloud Concession to Foreign Tech Firms in U.S. Trade Talks – The Wall Street Journal

BEIJING—China is offering foreign technology firms better access to the country’s fast-growing cloud-computing market, people briefed on the matter said, as Beijing fashions a compromise in a tech sector the U.S. wants opened as part of a trade deal.

Premier Li Keqiang disclosed the proposal to allow trial operations for foreign cloud-service providers at a Monday meeting with about three dozen corporate chieftains, including those from International Business Machines Corp., Pfizer Inc., Rio Tinto PLC, BMW AG and Daimler AG….

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Britain shows how China aims to use Huawei to spy – Washington Examiner

Britain shows how China aims to use Huawei to spy – Washington Examiner

Rebuking Huawei’s claim that it is a harmless provider of consumer telecommunications services, British cybersecurity specialists on Thursday ruled that the firm’s inclusion in 5G network facilitation would be dangerous.

This supports active U.S. efforts to exclude Huawei from global 5G networks. China is aggressively resisting the U.S. on this, because Huawei is its primary intended proxy for cyberespionage in the 21st century.

But this report, under the auspices of Britain’s NSA equivalent, is especially important for two reasons. First, because it comes from the NSA’s top foreign partner and some of the world’s top cybersecurity experts. Second, because it represents forensic insight into how China would use Huawei to conduct espionage operations.

The report’s takeaway is clear: It offers only “limited assurance that all risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks can be sufficiently mitigated long-term.” This is thanks to “significant technical issues in Huawei’s engineering processes.” Specifically, Huawei has failed to embrace “universally applied… configuration item types (source code, build tools, build scripts etc). Without good configuration management, there can be no end-to-end integrity in the products as delivered by Huawei.”

The report adds that even where Huawei has been told specifically how to close down these backdoors, its product “continues to demonstrate a significant number of major defects. The NCSC therefore remains concerned that Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security competence and associated processes are failing to improve sufficiently.” With typical British understatement, the report notes that this is exacerbated because of “the currently unknown trajectory of Huawei’s [research and development] processes.”

Of course, Huawei’s failure to resolve identified issues is not coincidental. It reflects the Chinese government’s interest in creating backdoors in hidden cyber-telecommunications spaces that will allow Chinese intelligence collection in the future. The report hints as much by asserting that

The number and severity of vulnerabilities discovered, along with architectural and build issues, by the relatively small team… is a particular concern. If an attacker has knowledge of these vulnerabilities and sufficient access to exploit them, they may be able to affect the operation of the network, in some cases causing it to cease operating correctly. Other impacts could include being able to access user traffic or reconfiguration of the network elements.

No excrement, Sherlock.

Here, “access user traffic or reconfiguration of the network elements” should translate as “use 5G network access to turn the network or significant elements therein into one big Chinese signal intelligence targeting and collection program. But the report shows that China is trying to be crafty: fixing limited issues to gain a pretense of concern for western security, but simultaneously creating new backdoors.

Fortunately, this report shows the gambit is failing. Reports like this one will help the U.S. and U.K. educate their allies as to the risks of entertaining Huawei’s sour claim of mutual interest. Huawei is a Chinese intelligence cutout in foundation, intent, and action. It must be restricted as such.

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China Agrees to Buy a Boatload of Airbus Planes – Motley Fool

China Agrees to Buy a Boatload of Airbus Planes – Motley Fool

But the recently announced deal for 300 aircraft may not be as significant as it seems at first glance.

Adam Levine-Weinberg

In early 2018 — two months after Boeing (NYSE:BA) announced a deal to sell 300 jets to China — French President Emmanuel Macron announced that China was close to finalizing orders for 184 Airbus (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) A320-family planes. He also said that France was hoping to strike additional deals to sell A350 or A380 widebody jets to China.

However, 2018 came and went with no order. But on Monday, in conjunction with a state visit to France by China’s President Xi Jinping, China placed an even bigger order for Airbus jets than the one discussed last year.

More orders coming Airbus’ way

While there are numerous different state-owned and private airlines in China, the government has ultimate authority over aircraft orders. China periodically places large orders with Boeing and Airbus, and it tends to use these orders as a “carrot” in political and economic negotiations with those aircraft manufacturers’ home countries.

Under the deal announced this week, China plans to buy 300 Airbus aircraft — 290 A320-family planes and 10 A350s. Neither party specified which variants of these aircraft families will be acquired. In all likelihood, details like that are still being hammered out: The two sides have only reached a “general terms agreement” thus far, not a binding firm order.

An Airbus A320neo flying over an ocean

Airbus and China have announced an order for 290 A320-family jets. Image source: Airbus.

The deal with China should help the European aerospace giant get its order backlog moving in the right direction again. In the first two months of 2019, Airbus’ backlog shrank, as it booked new orders for just four aircraft, offset by 103 cancellations.

That said, the 300 orders announced this week are not necessarily all new, as Flightglobal noted recently. Airbus has a substantial number of orders from undisclosed customers in its official backlog already, including nearly 600 A320-family orders and two dozen A350-family orders.

Bad news for the 737 MAX? Not necessarily…

China’s big Airbus deal comes in the shadow of the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets, following two fatal crashes in the span of five months. Aviation regulators in China have been among the most aggressive in addressing this safety crisis. China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX, and it has stopped taking applications for airworthiness certifications of new 737 MAX aircraft. Chinese regulators have also made it clear that they will independently evaluate any design changes proposed by Boeing, rather than just following the FAA’s lead.

The combination of the big Airbus order and China’s response to the Boeing 737 MAX crashes might make it seem like Boeing is in trouble in the fast-growing Chinese market. But here as elsewhere, any dip in orders for the Boeing 737 MAX is likely to be temporary.

First, China’s aviation market is massive and growing rapidly. Airbus expects China to need an additional 7,400 aircraft over the next 20 years, including more than 6,000 single-aisle planes (like the A320neo and 737 MAX families). Boeing’s estimates are even more bullish. Airbus alone cannot meet all of that demand. While a homegrown Chinese jet will soon be available as a third option, it will take a while for production to ramp up — and in any case, it’s not as technologically advanced as the 737 MAX and A320neo families.

Second, Boeing opened a 737 MAX completion center in China just a few months ago. This new facility currently installs interiors for the numerous 737s destined for Chinese airlines. In the future, the jets will also be painted there. If China stops ordering 737 MAX aircraft, this work will go away.

Third, as noted above, aircraft orders are often used by China as a bargaining chip. With China eager to roll back U.S. tariffs on various Chinese imports, a long-term move away from Boeing jets — and the 737 MAX in particular — would be hard to pull off. Thus, once Boeing demonstrates that it has addressed any safety vulnerabilities for the 737 MAX, it could be in line for another big order from China.

Airbus should be pleased about landing a big order from China. But the deal announced this week doesn’t reflect a change in the balance of power in the aircraft manufacturing industry.


Adam Levine-Weinberg has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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The Qingjiang biota—A Burgess Shale–type fossil Lagerstätte from the early Cambrian of South China – Science Magazine

The Qingjiang biota—A Burgess Shale–type fossil Lagerstätte from the early Cambrian of South China – Science Magazine

Report

  1. Dongjing Fu1,
  2. Guanghui Tong1,
  3. Tao Dai1,
  4. Wei Liu1,
  5. Yuning Yang2,
  6. Yuan Zhang1,
  7. Linhao Cui1,
  8. Luoyang Li1,
  9. Hao Yun1,
  10. Yu Wu1,
  11. Ao Sun1,
  12. Cong Liu1,
  13. Wenrui Pei1,
  14. Robert R. Gaines3,
  15. Xingliang Zhang1,*

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Early Life and Environment, Department of Geology, Northwest University, Xi’an 710069, PR China.

  2. 2College of Resource and Environmental Engineering, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, PR China.

  3. 3Department of Geology, Pomona College, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.
  1. *Corresponding author. Email: xzhang69{at}nwu.edu.cn

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Mar 2019:

Vol. 363, Issue 6433, pp. 1338-1342

DOI: 10.1126/science.aau8800

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U.S. stock futures drop ahead of jobs data as gloomy China trade report adds to global growth fears – MarketWatch

U.S. stock futures drop ahead of jobs data as gloomy China trade report adds to global growth fears – MarketWatch

U.S. stock futures fell on Friday, pointing to a fifth straight session of losses for Wall Street, after a slump in Chinese exports piled onto concerns about slowing global growth.

Investors are also braced for U.S. jobs data due later.

How did major indexes fare?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

YMM9, -0.47%

fell 98 points, or 0.4%, to 25,405, while S&P 500 futures

ESM9, -0.44%

were down 10.6 points, or 0.4%, to 2,744.50. Nasdaq-100

NQH9, -0.57%

 futures dropped 37 points, or 0.5%, to 7,019.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.78%

 fell 200.23 points, or 0.8%, to 25,473.23. The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.81%

dropped 0.8% to 2,748.93 and the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -1.13%

 shed 1.1%, to 7,421.46.

With one session left, the Nasdaq is facing a 2.2% drop for the week, while the Dow industrials and S&P 500 are off around 2% each.

What’s driving the market?

Tumbling 4.4%, Chinese stocks logged their worst one-day percentage drop since October on Friday, after the nation reported a 20% drop in February exports on the heels of a 9.1% gain in January. Officials attributed the plunge to sagging demand and some distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday. But economists said that even adding those two months together, the data looked weak.

And China’s biggest brokerage, Citic Securities, hit People’s Insurance Group of China

601319, -9.98%

 with a rare sell rating, citing concerns over valuations, according to Reuters. Those shares slid 4% in Hong Kong, after falling as much as 10% at one point.

China’s news adds to global growth concerns, with investors still reeling from a more dovish-than-expected European Central Bank, which announced new measures to support a slowing economy on Thursday. That included fresh long-term loans to European financial institutions and a surprise pledge to hold off on any interest-rate increases until at least the end of the year.

Read: Why the ECB’s surprise policy moves sent a shiver through global stock markets

Other data on Friday showed German manufacturing orders fell sharply in January, though December data was revised upward.

Investors are also bracing for U.S. jobs data Friday, with February nonfarm payrolls due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, alongside the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings. Economists polled by MarketWatch are forecasting the creation of 178,000 new jobs, and a downward revision for January’s 304,000 spike.

And uncertainty was lingering over a U.S.-China trade deal. Washington and Beijing have yet to set a date for a summit to resolve their trade dispute, the U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Branstad said negotiators need to further narrow the gap in their positions, including over enforcement of a potential deal, before any summit arrangements are made.

Read: U.S. ambassador to China says no date yet for summit, trade deal not ‘imminent’

How did other markets trade?

Asian stocks closed lower across the board, led by that big loss for the Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -4.40%

 and a 2% drop for the Nikkei 225

NIK, -2.01%

Investors sought shelter in perceived safe haven assets such as the Japanese yen

USDJPY, -0.37%

which weighed on the U.S. dollar

DXY, -0.12%

Gold prices

GCJ9, +0.53%

 also benefited.

Oil

CLJ9, -1.71%

prices fell along with equities.

European stocks tracked global equities lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index

SXXP, -0.76%

falling 0.5%.

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