The current trade war is painful, will hurt China more: China touts an image of unity, when in fact the country is far more fractured than its government would ever admit. The current trade war is painful to the U.S. but in the long run will hurt China more, given China’s dependence on foreign trade. The Chinese economic system is built on sand; the Chinese are over leveraged and completely dependent on ever-expanding global markets, which are now are imperiled. The U.S. remains the world’s economic powerhouse, which influences in some way the economies of virtually every other nation. It is too early to tell whether China or the U.S. will back down on tariffs; regardless, the tariffs imposed by the U.S. have irrevocably changed the world in ways that will be realized only in the years ahead.  READ MORE

More tariffs: China confirmed that it will impose 25 percent tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of imports from the U.S. from Aug. 23, matching an earlier move from Washington in another ratchet higher for the trade war between the two nations. The tit-for-tat protectionist measures are poised to surge even higher, with the U.S. reviewing 10 percent duties on a further $200 billion in Chinese imports that it may even raise to 25 percent after a comment period ends on Sept. 6. Should the U.S. proceed with those tariffs, China’s ready to slap duties on an additional $60 billion of American goods. READ MORE

Beef industry doing well: Despite all the rhetoric and posturing from the current administration on trade and the pushback from foreign trading partners, the beef industry continues to so far being faring reasonably well. That’s the word from Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation, speaking at the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting this week in Denver. READ MORE

Could China cut soybean demand? One ag expert says he has read and heard rumblings out of China that the country could cut its soybean demand by roughly a third of last year’s overall demand, equating to a little over 30 million metric tons. This would mean that by far the world’s largest soybean buyer could theoretically cut the U.S. out of its import program. He says that for now, though he’s going to dismiss this as propaganda intended to give the people of China a feeling of security. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

Cyanobacteria in the Baltic: Florida isn’t the only place dealing with toxic algae blooms. Authorities in Poland recently banned swimming at more than 50 beaches along its Baltic coast after hot weather led to the toxic growth of bacteria in the unusually warm sea. Emergency water rescuers told vacationers not to enter the sea, where thick green-brown cyanobacteria colonies have grown and pose a health threat. Contact may cause allergies and rashes, and drinking contaminated water can lead to digestive problems. Read more HERE and HERE.

And red tide in Florida (and cyanobacteria, too): Thousands of sea creatures now litter many of southern Florida’s typically picturesque beaches. Most are fish, but other creatures are also washing ashore—crabs, eels, manatees, dolphins, turtles, and more. It’s a wildlife massacre of massive proportions. And the cause of both the deaths and toxic, stinging fumes is a bloom of harmful algae that scientists say is the region’s worst in over a decade. READ MORE

About those inland waterways: Nearly $5 billion will be needed over the next 20 years to fund improve inland waterways, and Illinois Soybean Association members are concerned enough that they recently led a “waterway summit” in Washington, D.C. A lack of adequate funding impedes the timely, cost-effective delivery of capital projects, and operations and maintenance resource shortfalls lead to deferred investments, causing system reliability problems, so soybean farmers are among those seeking innovative financing solutions. READ MORE

USDA releases Chesapeake Bay action plan: USDA has released a three-year action plan for helping agricultural producers in the Mid-Atlantic states improve the water quality and overall health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Poultry producers in the Delmarva region have been under fire from environmental activists for years over their management of poultry litter as it relates to waterways in the region. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

The problem with citizen juries and scientific topics: Juries have awarded billions of dollars to people who claim they got cancer from Johnson & Johnson baby powder. The problem with verdicts like these, which try to prove that a particular chemical or product caused an illness like cancer, is that they rely largely on juries, made up of members of the public, combing through and coming to a conclusion about the evidence produced through scientific and medical studies. Within the medical community, however, much of this evidence is messy and still up for debate. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

No increase in elver harvest: A regulatory board decided this week that Maine’s baby eel fishery, the only one of its kind in the U.S. and one of the most lucrative fisheries in the country, will not be allowed to expand next year. Fishermen in Maine are allowed to harvest a total of 9,688 pounds of the elvers per year, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission shot down a proposal to increase that by about 20 percent. READ MORE

African swine fever threatens Chinese pork industry: More than 8,000 hogs have been culled so far, as China continues emergency inspections at pig farms and livestock markets to control the country’s first African swine fever case, announced this past Friday in the Liaoning province. The outbreak, in a major hog production area, poses a major threat to the Chinese pork industry, reports the Liaoning Daily. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SECURITY

Alleged criminal conspiracy supplied ag workers: A federal indictment alleges a criminal conspiracy in which a Nebraska man supplied illegal immigrants to work for ag-related facilities in Nebraska and Minnesota, including Sleepy Eye-based Christensen Farms, one of the largest hog producers in the nation. Dozens of agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations surrounded businesses suspected of employing illegal workers at several sites in southern Minnesota and Nebraska. They executed arrest warrants for 17 people connected to a conspiracy to exploit foreign workers and also detained at least 133 workers believed to be in the country illegally. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Firefighters include trained prisoners and others from around the world: Some 14,000 firefighters are deployed statewide in California to fight 18 fires. The state’s firefighting agency, Cal Fire, employs 5,300 full-time firefighters and hires an additional 1,700 each fire season. Trained prisoners and firefighters from 17 states and around the world fill out the ranks. Firefighters said they have made good progress battling the state’s largest-ever wildfire, the Mendocino Complex Fire, but didn’t expect to have it fully under control until September. READ MORE

Cal Fire mechanic killed: A Cal Fire mechanic who was assigned to the Carr fire died in a vehicle crash in Tehama County early Thursday morning, the eighth death connected to the furious blaze that has scorched roughly 177,000 acres in Northern California, officials said. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

Facebook won’t give up suspect’s password: Facebook bosses are accused of hampering cops probing the murder of a teenage girl. They have failed to hand over a suspect’s ­password despite requests from detectives. The social media giant’s refusal to cooperate over the stab death of schoolgirl Lucy McHugh, 13, has led to calls for a law to force web firms to disclose suspects’ passwords. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Ecuador declares emergency: Ecuador has declared a state of emergency in three provinces because of an unusually high volume of Venezuelan migrants crossing over the northern border with Colombia after fleeing the OPEC nation’s economic crisis. Venezuela’s hyperinflation and chronic product shortages have fueled an exodus of citizens who typically travel by land via Colombia, often continuing south toward Andean nations including Ecuador, Peru and Chile. READ MORE