China envoy urges EU to develop its ‘strategic autonomy’

first_imgBRUSSELS (AP) — China’s European Union envoy is urging the 27-nation bloc to deepen its ties with his country even further and says he hopes the EU’s desire for “strategic autonomy” will guide its foreign policy in the future. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner and they are also economic competitors. But Chinese Ambassador Zhang Ming said Wednesday that China-EU ties have “stood the test of time.” The term “strategic autonomy” has sown confusion over Europe’s intentions. Some see it as a by-word for acting independently from the United States, others for greater trade protectionism or even for breaking away from the NATO military alliance. EU foreign ministers are still trying to establish exactly what it means.last_img read more

3 reasons to refinance your mortgage

first_imgIs it always a great idea to refinance your mortgage? If you don’t have a lot of experience in this area, this one might have you stumped. Here are three reasons you should refinance…You could lower your monthly payment: When you bought your house, your lender gave you an interest rate that was highly affected by your credit score (other factors also included). If your credit was good but not great, you probably didn’t get the best possible rate. If you’ve made improvements to your credit score in the time since you purchased your home, it’s quite possible that you could now get a lower rate which could lead to a lower payment and more money left in your wallet every month.You’re looking to sell at some point: With a cash-out refinance, your new mortgage would be for more than you owe on your home. This could be helpful if you’re looking for some extra cash to improve your home’s value. Additions or upgrades can be nice if you’re looking to sell your home in the next few years. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay closing costs again, so it may not be worth it.You could save a lot over time: If you’re currently paying on a 30-year mortgage with a not-so-great interest rate, it could be worth your time to try and get a lower rate on a 15-year mortgage, especially if you have no plans on moving. Your monthly payment will be higher, but depending on the rate you get, you could save yourself a bundle in the long-run. 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Panelists discuss changes in South LA community

first_imgThe Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, in partnership with Visions and Voices, held an event titled “Voices of South L.A.” on Thursday night in Annenberg Auditorium.Coming together · Panelists discussed the importance of USC students engaging with the surrounding community at the Voices of South L.A. event, which took place Thursday evening in the Annenberg Auditorium. – Benjamin Dunn | Daily TrojanThe panel discussion centered on the comprehensive model for change that various activists and USC individuals have tried to implement in and around South Los Angeles to promote economic and social improvement.Featured in the panel were the voices of Erin Aubry Kaplan, a chronicler of African American life in Los Angeles; Francisco Ortega, policy advisor to the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission; Alberto Retana, executive vice president at Community Coalition; and Sahra Sulaiman, a documentary photographer and researcher for Streetsblog LA.The panelists have taken significant action around the L.A. community, working to improve the conditions of the neighborhood by creating and working for various initiatives.Ortega explained that students must understand the importance of transitioning their current perspectives on the individuals who live in the surrounding area. He also said that students must replace their current lack of interaction with the natives of the area by taking strides to treat them as neighbors, rather than strangers.“South L.A. needs its people, its community to understand that they have the power,” Ortega said.Ortega posed a pivotal question to the audience, asking how South Los Angeles can use the power of the people to act as a transformative agent for greater reform. He commented on how difficult it is to achieve change among residents of the neighborhood.“But how do we tap into that power if most of the people in South L.A. are afraid of crime, are afraid to walk around, are afraid to play in the streets, are afraid to come out, are afraid to engage to meet with people or to organize?” Ortega asked.Sulaiman began by stating the importance of communal respect in Los Angeles. She reiterated the lack of empathy among those who try to understand the complexities of the South L.A. residents.“You have to respect the knowledge of the people in the community — who they are, who they represent and how they’ve been there,” Sulaiman said.She also spoke about the disconnect within the community, urging students to lay a foundation of trust in order to foster communication between themselves and the surrounding residents.Kaplan commented on the misconceived notion of perception in the community.“There is a struggle for both the people who live in the community and those who are not from the community to perceive themselves in a way that can make tangible change,” Kaplan said.Ortega posed a question to the audience which transitioned the focus of reform in South Los Angeles to a difference in attitudes.“Are you looking at this [issue of poverty and injustice in South Los Angeles] as disparity or equity?” Ortega asked. “Disparity just means there is difference.”He also said that activism required a greater commitment in order to truly bring about change.“Are we building a movement or are we just contributing to charity? You must ask yourselves if you are really trying to change the equation,” Ortega said.Dayna Grundy, a sophomore majoring in human biology, enjoyed how the event focused on community interaction.“It was a great place where a community of students and advocates came together to discuss possible problems and solutions in Los Angeles,” Grundy said.Ortega commented on the impact the event will hopefully have on USC students.“Today’s event is important in bridging the South L.A. community with one of its most beloved neighbors, USC,” Ortega said.Voices of South L.A. is one in a three-part series of events including Food, Recreation and the Arts as Social Justice and the South Los Angeles Walking Tour.last_img read more

NHL playoff predictions 2019-20: Preseason Stanley Cup picks from SN’s experts

first_img (Getty Images) (Getty Images) The 2019-20 NHL season begins Oct. 2. But let’s be realistic, all anyone wants to know is who will hoist the Stanley Cup in eight months time.It’s a tough 82-game stretch on just advancing to the postseason and then a grueling, heavy campaign to reach the pinnacle. Who will advance is anyone’s guess — hello, St. Blues.  Sean FarrellSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay Lightning Western Conference champColorado AvalancheStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerNikita KucherovWhy Tampa Bay will win: The younger members of the Lightning were schooled about competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs after one of the best regular-season performances in NHL history. Lesson learned; there are enough key elements remaining from Tampa Bay’s run to the 2015 Final that this supremely talented team will be ready to answer the bell come April.Steve KournianosSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champToronto Maple LeafsWestern Conference champWinnipeg JetsStanley Cup champWinnipeg JetsConn Smythe winnerMark ScheifeleWhy Winnipeg will win: The Jets will get a bounceback season from Connor Hellebuyck in net, fix whatever minor internal issues they seem to have and use their heavy game and firepower to overwhelm the field.Dave McCarthySeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champColorado AvalancheStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerSteven StamkosWhy Tampa Bay will win: They’ve learned. Their team is basically the same. They’re not going to let what happened in the first round last season happen again.Mike MurphySeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champDallas StarsStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerAndrei VasilevskiyWhy Tampa Bay will win: Despite losing Anton Stralman to the Panthers in free agency, the Bolts’ blue line has more depth than it did last year with Kevin Shattenkirk and Luke Schenn now in the fold. Furthermore, Tampa Bay’s top-nine forwards are arguably the best group in the NHL. The Lightning have it all: offense, defense, goaltending and an enviable amount of center depth. The Blues may have won the Cup last year, but Tampa will be the team that all other teams are measured against.Murray PamSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champVegas Golden KnightsStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerBrayden PointWhy Tampa Bay will win: Lightning players will take nothing for granted after being humbly swept in the first round of last season’s playoffs. The 2019 Presidents’ Trophy winner, by a long shot, returns with a roster largely intact. Late off-season free-agent signings of 2019 Stanley Cup champ Patrick Maroon and d-man Kevin Shattenkirk only add to Tampa’s deep core from top to bottom.  Lyle RichardsonSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champNashville PredatorsStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerVictor HedmanWhy Tampa Bay will win: After dominating last season, the Lightning will be keen to atone for getting swept out of the opening round of the 2019 playoffs. Few teams can match their depth. They won’t be caught flat-footed again.Jace MallorySeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champDallas StarsStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerNikita KucherovWhy Tampa Bay will win: The Lightning learned a tough lesson last year — dominating the regular season doesn’t automatically grant you wins in the postseason, not even in the first round. They will bounce back from an embarrassing playoff with another solid regular season en route to capturing their second Stanley Cup title.Tommy McArdleSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champCalgary FlamesStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnercenter_img Ryan PikeSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champColorado AvalancheStanley Cup champColorado AvalancheConn Smythe winnerNathan MacKinnonWhy Colorado will win: After a rough start to the 2018-19 season, the Avalanche turned a corner midway through the calendar year and found another level to their game. They wildly outplayed a strong Calgary Flames club in the first round of the playoffs, then spent the off-season improving their team. What was already a talented, deep team added Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky. As long as Philipp Grubauer doesn’t take a step backward, the Avalanche are going to be a tough out for the other 30 NHL clubs. NHL 2019-20 PREDICTIONS:SN staff projects final standings, awards, Stanley Cup winnerStanley Cup predictions for 2019-20Despite the pitfalls and hurdles, Sporting News’ hockey experts decided to take a leap and give you their picks for who will take home hockey’s most coveted prize.Jackie SpiegelSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champToronto Maple LeafsWestern Conference champDallas StarsStanley Cup champToronto Maple LeafsConn Smythe winnerJohn TavaresWhy Toronto will win: In last season’s predictions, the Maple Leafs were my pick for 2020 and I am not making any changes. This team is stacked with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen up front, possibly the strongest defensive core in years led by Morgan Rielly and Tyson Barrie and Frederik Andersen in net. As long as they don’t face the  Bruins in the first round . . . Toronto should make a run all the way to the franchise’s first Cup in 53 years.Brandon SchlagerSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champTampa Bay LightningWestern Conference champSan Jose SharksStanley Cup champTampa Bay LightningConn Smythe winnerSteven StamkosWhy Tampa will win: Lightning coach Jon Cooper and Co. will face an intense amount of scrutiny all season after a first-round dud against the Blue Jackets ended their historic 2018-19 season. This team could go 82-0-0 and it wouldn’t matter if not accompanied by a deep playoff run and that elusive Stanley Cup. Following an offseason of tweaks, we don’t need to rehash why the Lightning are still the most potent and well-rounded roster in the NHL — but that won’t last much longer. It’s high time Tampa gets over the hump.Sammi SilberSeriesWinnerEastern Conference champWashington CapitalsWestern Conference champSan Jose SharksStanley Cup champWashington CapitalsConn Smythe winnerBraden HoltbyWhy Washington will win: I promise D.C. bias has nothing to do with this pick; the Capitals’ lineup is stacked. The top-6 has Alexander Ovechkin still going strong, Evgeny Kuznetsov ready to bounce back and T.J. Oshie returning from a collarbone injury. On the bottom-6, there’s Carl Hagelin, Lars Eller, Richard Panik, Garnet Hathaway and Brendan Leipsic providing reliable secondary scoring. Defenseman Michal Kempny will help bolster the blue line as he makes his return from injury with Jonas Siegenthaler playing excellent hockey and Radko Gudas providing much-needed physicality. And of course, Braden Holtby is Braden Holtby in the playoffs. The series will go to seven games for sure, but San Jose will witness a Boston Bruins-like ending in June. Why Tampa Bay will win: It’s hard to imagine the Lightning will have another disastrous playoff collapse like they did last year. Assuming they will easily capture the No. 1 seed in the East again, Tampa will benefit from playing the No. 8 seed rather than being sent into the Atlantic Division meat-grinder in the first round. It’s hard to bet on anyone else.last_img read more