Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is unveiled during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, on Jan. 13, 2018. (AFP/Jewel Samad)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Detroit Auto Show opens on Sunday

DETROIT: The Detroit Auto Show kicks off Sunday, with pickup trucks and SUVs expected to take center stage in a sign of their growing might in the US car market.
Sunday’s agenda for the 30th instalment of the annual show includes an appearance by US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, a Ford vehicle launch and panels and presentations with industry technology experts and gadflies.
General Motors got things off to an early start Saturday night, unveiling its revamped 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickups, billed as the “next generation of strong.”
A short video with twangy music and upbeat testimonials from Silverado owners was followed by the introduction of four of the eight Silverado models at different price points and with slightly different styling.
The Silverado was the second best-selling US vehicle in 2017 after the Ford F-series and ahead of the Ram 1500, in third position. All three are pickups.
“Everything’s just bigger here, so I think that’s what makes us just love our trucks,” said Chris Luce, 24, a Silverado owner from Brighton, Michigan who attended the launch.
Other carmakers seen unveiling pickups, SUVs and large “crossover” vehicles include Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota’s Lexus.
The show is expected to be light on electric cars and to be dominated by spiffed up versions of the bread-and-butter vehicles that dominate the US market.
US car sales fell modestly last year for the first time since the financial crisis but came in at a still-solid 17.2 million, well above the 16 million that many analysts consider good.
While the show is primarily an opportunity to ogle what’s coming next from Motor City, politics is certain to enter the discussion as well.
US carmakers are eyeing negotiations to revamp the North America Free Trade Agreement following President Donald Trump’s vows to cut a better deal for US companies and workers.
The just-enacted US tax cut bill, which will boost corporate profits and includes measures intended to encourage capital spending, will also be in focus.
The show is expected to draw some 700,000 people to the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, opening to the public on January 20 following press and industry days.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.