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Some U.S. solar producers criticize Biden’s tax break as too weak for China



The Biden administration’s rules released Friday to determine which companies and manufacturers can benefit from new tax breaks for the solar industry are being criticized by U.S. solar makers, who say the rules don’t go far enough to try to bring production back from China. .

The rules stem from President Biden’s sweeping clean energy bill, which proposes a combination of tax breaks and other incentives to try to spur the building of more solar plants in the United States and reduce the country’s dependence on China for clean energy goods needed to mitigate the impact. climate change. change.

The Treasury Department, in its guidance released Friday, said it would offer a 10 percent additional tax credit to businesses that assemble solar panels in the United States, even if they import the silicon wafers used to make those panels from foreign countries. Under the Biden administration’s new climate legislation, solar and wind farms can apply for a 30 percent tax credit on the value of their facilities.

Senior administration officials told reporters Thursday they are trying to take a balanced approach that leans towards forcing supply chains back into the United States. But China’s dominance of the global solar industry has led to the cunning calculus of the Biden administration, which wants to boost U.S. solar manufacturing while also ensuring a plentiful supply of low-cost solar panels to reduce carbon emissions.

Officials said the Biden administration would have the opportunity to change the rules as US supply chains get stronger.

“The Domestic Content Bonus under the Inflation Reduction Act will stimulate American manufacturing, including in the iron and steel industry, so American workers and companies continue to benefit from President Biden’s Invest in America program,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “These tax breaks are key to attracting investment and ensuring that all Americans participate in the growth of the clean energy economy.”

Critics said the new rules are not enough to give companies incentives to pull the solar energy supply chain out of China.

Mike Carr, executive director of the Solar Power Coalition for America, which includes U.S.-based solar companies such as Hemlock Semiconductor, Wacker Chemie, Qcells and First Solar, called the move “a missed opportunity to build a domestic solar supply chain.” ”

“Just the fact that today’s announcement is likely to reduce planned investment in critical solar wafer, ingot and polysilicon manufacturing areas,” he said in a statement. “China produces 97 percent of the world’s solar wafers, which gives them substantial control over the production of both polysilicon and cells. We fear this guidance will solidify their dominance over these critical links in the solar energy supply chain.”

The Biden administration has set itself the ambitious goal of generating 100 percent of the country’s electricity from carbon-free energy sources by 2035. more than double the annual rate solar installations.

The United States remains heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturers of low-cost solar modules. although many Chinese factories now produce these goods in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

China also supplies many of the key components of solar panels, including more than 80% of the world’s polysilicon, which most solar panels use to absorb energy from sunlight. And much of China’s polysilicon comes from the Xinjiang region, where the US government has banned imports over concerns about forced labor.

Other companies in the solar supply chain that rely on imported components were more positive about the Finance Ministry’s guidance.

Abigail Ross Hopper, executive director of the Solar Energy Manufacturers Association, said the guidance is an important step forward that “will spark a flood of investment in US-made clean energy equipment and components.”

“The solar industry and energy storage in the US strongly supports building a domestic clean energy supply chain, and today’s leadership will complement the resurgence in manufacturing that began when the historic Inflation Reduction Act was passed last summer,” she said.

Republicans in Congress have already railed against the Biden administration’s climate legislation, saying it does not set hard rules on manufacturing in China and that it can funnel federal dollars to Chinese-owned companies that have set up in the United States.

The Biden administration is also allocating funds to develop the production of semiconductors and batteries for electric vehicles. The guidelines for this money include restrictions on access to so-called foreign entities of concern, such as Chinese-owned companies. But the Inflation Reduction Act contains no barriers to federal dollars going into Chinese solar companies’ operations in the US.

At a congressional hearing on April 25, Representative Jason Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, pointed to the facilities of JinkoSolar, owned by a Chinese manufacturer, in Florida that are eligible for federal tax credits.

“Works at the plant include robots placing strings of solar cells, mostly sourced from China, on the base of a solar panel,” according to a fact sheet published by Mr. Smith.

Mr. Biden also clashed with domestic solar producers over a separate trade case that would impose tariffs on solar products imported by Chinese companies based in Southeast Asia.

Mr. Biden’s decision to lift tariffs for two years angered Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, who said American manufacturers deserved more protection. In recent weeks, the House and Senate have approved a measure to overturn the president’s decision, which Biden is expected to veto.


Here’s what the mail-in ballots mean on results day



Votes are being counted for the Karnataka State Assembly elections. Although the results are expected by evening, mail-in ballots are counted before regular people’s voting begins.

According to early trends, the Congress leads in the count of votes, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in second place, and the Janata Dal (secular) [JD(S)] on the third place.

What is mail-in voting?

Mail-in voting is an option provided to a limited number of voters who can remotely cast their vote on a ballot paper and then mail it back to the election commissioner. These votes are counted before the opening of electronic voting machines (EVM).

The returning officer must print a ballot for eligible voters within 24 hours of the last withdrawal date and then mail it within the next 24 hours.

After receiving it, voters can mark their preference with a check mark or a cross in front of the candidate’s name. They also need to complete a properly certified declaration, Form 13-A. The ballot and declaration are then placed in a sealed cover and sent to the returning officer.

Who can vote by ballot?

Members of the armed forces such as the army, navy and air force, members of the armed forces of the state police (out-of-state employees), civil servants located outside of India and their spouses are only eligible to vote by mail. They cannot vote in person.

Special electors such as the President of India, Vice President, Governors, Allied Cabinet Ministers, Speaker of the House of Representatives and government officials on duty at the polling stations have the option to vote by mail, but they must apply in the prescribed form to avail of this facility. .

Absentee voters who are unable to physically cast their vote due to their service, such as out-of-state rail workers, may cast their vote by mail ballot.

How are mail ballots counted?

At the counting center, each counting table receives a maximum of 500 ballots in each round of counting, with up to four tables dedicated to counting mail ballots only.

Mail-in ballot counting personnel are specially trained in all aspects of mail-in voting. First, postal voter declarations are checked for errors. All legitimate applications are then collected and sealed before the ballots are opened and counted.

After the count, the observer and the returning officer count all score ballots. The process must be filmed to ensure secrecy. The video must be sealed in a separate envelope.

Do mail ballots show real trends?

Mail ballots show trends over a small number of voters. There is no need for early trends to persist after the opening of the EVM.

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American Airlines pilots vote to sanction strike



American Airlines pilots have voted overwhelmingly to sanction the strike as they try to secure a new contract ahead of the summer travel season.

However, the likelihood of job termination remains low as aviation industry workers face a number of hurdles before they can legally leave their jobs.

Capt. Ed Seecher, president of the Allied Pilots Association, said the pilots are determined to push for schedule changes that will “improve the airline’s operational reliability and efficiency.”

“We will strike if necessary to secure the best contract in the industry that our pilots have earned and deserve—a contract that will ensure the success of American Airlines,” Sicher said.

The union announced the results of the vote on Monday. It says 99% of the pilots voted to allow the strike, with 96% of the 15,000 US pilots participating in the vote during April. On Monday, the pilots planned to hold information pickets at ten major airports.

“Pilots want a better quality of working life. They want to know that if they have a four-day trip planned, they will return home with their families in four days.”

– Dan Koller, Allied Pilots Association Representative

The American woman and the union have been trying to secure a contract since January 2019. The airline said in a statement that it is confident the deal can be “finished quickly.”

“The finish line is just around the corner,” an airline spokesman said in an email. “We understand that the strike resolution vote is one of the important ways that pilots express their desire to make a deal, and we respect the communication of the results of the vote.”

Like rail workers, airline employees are subject to a different set of collective bargaining rules and have a harder time quitting their jobs than most other private sector workers. American pilots first had to go through mediation with a government board and get legal clearance to strike.

Both sides are still in so-called “direct negotiations” and have not yet asked for mediation, which would be a preliminary step before the strike.

American Airlines and the pilots’ union have been trying to secure a contract since 2019.

Dan Koller, a union spokesman, told HuffPost that the strike authorization was “not about money.” Instead, it was primarily about the schedule, which he called “chaotic and unpredictable” for the workers.

“Pilots want a better quality of their working life,” Koller said in an email. “They want to know that if they have a four-day trip planned, then in four days they will return home with their families. They want to know that if they bid on a layover in, say, New Orleans and plan to meet friends there, the airline won’t fly them to Buffalo instead in the blink of an eye.”

Koller said the talks have dragged on for so long only in part because of the pandemic, which caused a sharp slowdown in air travel ahead of a strong recovery. “American Airlines management has been slow with COVID-19 and continues to do so as the industry recovers,” Koller said.

American Airlines said it was “working expeditiously” to complete the contract. “We remain focused on addressing the few issues needed to reach the agreement our pilots deserve,” the spokesman said.

Airlines have struggled to retain pilots and other crew due to low unemployment and a strong travel economy, giving workers more leverage in negotiations. Pilots from US competitor Delta recently signed a new carrier contract that includes 34% salary increase for four years.

Industry contracts tend to build on each other, and Delta’s agreement could be the basis for agreements not only at American, but also at United and Southwest.

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‘Subversive’ art is a crime in Hong Kong



The city boasts of its “world-class museums,” but officials confiscated the sculpture without due process.

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