Pence, Xi trade barbs in speeches at Pacific summit
By JIM GOMEZ and STEPHEN WRIGHT
Sunday, November 18
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence traded barbs in speeches at a summit of world leaders Saturday, outlining competing visions for global leadership as trade and other tensions between them simmer.
Pence said there would be no letup in President Donald Trump’s policy of combating China’s mercantilist trade policy and intellectual property theft that has erupted into a tit-for-tat tariff war between the two world powers this year.
The U.S. has imposed additional tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods and China has retaliated. Pence reiterated Trump administration threats to more than double the penalties.
“The United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways,” Pence said, accusing Beijing of intellectual property theft, unprecedented subsidies for state businesses and “tremendous” barriers to foreign companies entering its giant market.
Pence announced the U.S. would be involved in ally Australia’s plan to develop a naval base in Papua New Guinea, where the summit is being held. China has been intensely wooing Papua New Guinea and other Pacific island nations with aid and loans for infrastructure.
“Our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific will prevail,” Pence said.
The vice president harshly criticized China’s global infrastructure drive, known as the “Belt and Road Initiative,” calling many of the projects low quality that also saddle developing countries with loans they can’t afford.
The U.S., a democracy, is a better partner than authoritarian China, he said.
“Know that the United States offers a better option. We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt, we don’t coerce, compromise your independence,” Pence said. “We do not offer constricting belt or a one-way road. When you partner with us, we partner with you and we all prosper.”
Xi, who spoke before Pence, anticipated many of the U.S. criticisms in his speech. He said countries are facing a choice of cooperation or confrontation as protectionism and unilateralism spreads.
Xi expressed support for the global free trading system that has underpinned his country’s rise over the past quarter century to the world’s second-biggest economy after the U.S.
“The rules made should not be followed or bent as one sees fit and they should not be applied with double standards for selfish agendas,” Xi said.
“Mankind has once again reached a crossroads,” he said. “Which direction should we choose? Cooperation or confrontation? Openness or closing doors. Win-win progress or a zero sum game?”
Responding to a chorus of criticism of China’s international infrastructure drive, Xi said it was not a trap or power grab.
“It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, it is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone,” Xi said. “It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members, nor is it a trap as some people have labeled it.”
Leaders of 21 Pacific Rim countries and territories that make up 60 percent of the world economy are meeting in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, for an annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
They are struggling to reach agreement on a joint declaration, particularly whether to push for changes to the World Trade Organization, which sets the rules for trade and can penalize nations that breach them.
WTO member nations have been unable to reach agreement on further freeing up trade for years and the organization is in danger of atrophy.
Two thirds of its members claim developing nation status that allows them to take advantage of benefits and exemptions to obligations not granted to advanced economies, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The U.S., meanwhile, believes the WTO’s arbitration body has made decisions beyond its mandate.
APEC is also facing questions about its future. Malaysia’s 93-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said it will become irrelevant if developing nations continue to be left behind by globalization and free trade.
China’s territorial claims to most of the South China Sea that borders Southeast Asian nations were also a target in Pence’s speech.
China has demanded the U.S. stop deploying ships and military aircraft close to its man-made islands in the disputed waters after American and Chinese ships nearly collided near a contested reef in September. But Pence stressed Saturday that the U.S. won’t back off.
“We will continue to fly and sail wherever international law allows and our national interest demands,” he said. “Harassment will only strengthen our resolve. We will not change course.”
Washington will continue to support efforts by Southeast Asian nations to negotiate a legally binding “code of conduct” with China “that respects the rights of all nations, including the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” Pence said.
Pacific summit ends with no communique as China, US differ
By STEPHEN WRIGHT
Sunday, November 18
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — An acrimonious meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea failed to agree Sunday on a final communique, highlighting widening divisions between global powers China and the U.S.
The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on the role of the World Trade Organization, which governs international trade, officials said. A statement was to be issued instead by the meeting’s chair, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
“The entire world is worried” about tensions between China and the U.S., O’Neill told a mob of reporters that surrounded him after he confirmed there was no communique from leaders.
It was the first time leaders had failed to agree on a declaration in 29 years of the Pacific Rim summits that involve countries representing 60 percent of the world economy.
Draft versions of the communique seen by The Associated Press showed the U.S wanted strong language against unfair trade practices that it accuses China of. China, meanwhile, wanted a reaffirmation of opposition to protectionism and unilateralism that it says the U.S. is engaging in.
The U.S. has imposed additional tariffs of $250 billion on Chinese goods this year and Beijing has retaliated with its own tariffs on American exports.
“I don’t think it will come as a huge surprise that there are differing visions” on trade, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Those prevented there from being a full consensus on the communique.”
The two-day summit was punctuated by acrimony and also underlined a rising rivalry between China and the West for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific, where Beijing has been wooing impoverished island states with aid and loans.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches on Saturday.
Pence professed respect for Xi and China but also harshly criticized the world’s No. 2 economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices. He accused China of luring developing nations into a debt trap through the loans it offers for infrastructure.
The world, according to Xi’s speech, is facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation as protectionism and unilateralism grows. He said the rules of global institutions set up after World War II such as the World Trade Organization should not be bent for selfish agendas.
Pence told reporters that during the weekend he had two “candid” conversations with Xi, who is expected to meet President Donald Trump at a Group of 20 summit at the end of this month in Argentina.
“There are differences today,” Pence said. “They begin with trade practices, with tariffs and quotas, forced technology transfers, the theft of intellectual property. It goes beyond that to freedom of navigation in the seas, concerns about human rights.”
The U.S. is interested in a better relationship “but there has to be change” from China’s side, Pence said he told Xi, who responded that dialogue is important.
China’s foreign ministry rejected the U.S. criticism that it was leading other developing nations into debt bondage.
“The assistance provided by China has been warmly welcomed by our partners in this region and beyond,” Wang Xiaolong, a foreign ministry official, told a news conference.
“No country either in this region or in other regions has fallen into a so called debt trap because of its cooperation with China. Give me one example,” he said.
China is a relative newcomer to providing aid, and its loan-heavy, no-strings attached approach has unsettled Western nations that have been the mainstay donors to developing nations and often use aid to nudge nations towards reforms.
In Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea’s capital, the impact of China’s aid and loans is highly visible. But the U.S. and allies are countering with efforts to finance infrastructure in Papua New Guinea and other island states. The U.S. has also said it will be involved in ally Australia’s plan to develop a naval base with Papua New Guinea.
On Sunday, the U.S., New Zealand, Japan and Australia said they’d work with Papua New Guinea’s government to bring electricity to 70 percent of its people by 2030. Less than 20 percent have a reliable electricity supply.
“The commitment of the United States of America to this region of the world has never been stronger,” Pence said at a signing ceremony. A separate statement from his office said other countries are welcome to join the electrification initiative provided they support the U.S. vision of a free and open Pacific.
China, meanwhile, has promised $4 billion of finance to build the the first national road network in Papua New Guinea, among the least urbanized countries in the world.
Trump says report on Khashoggi’s death coming in 2 days
By DEB RIECHMANN
Sunday, November 18
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Saturday that his administration will release a full report in the next two days about the death of a Saudi journalist, which has created a diplomatic conundrum for the president: How to admonish Riyadh for the killing yet maintain strong ties with a close ally in the Middle East.
“We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” Trump said. That will include “who did it,” he said.
Reporters asked Trump about the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat has said the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with it.
American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a U.S. official familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Others familiar with the case caution that while it’s likely that the crown prince was involved in the death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.
“The United States government is determined to hold all those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable,” the State Department said in a statement. “Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.”
The statement added: “The U.S. government has taken decisive measures against the individuals responsible, including visa and sanctions actions. We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable who planned, led and were connected to the murder. And, we will do that while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”
Intelligence officials have been providing information to Trump about the death for weeks and he was briefed again by phone Saturday by CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as he flew to California. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders provided no details of his call but said the president has confidence in the CIA.
Before his call on Air Force One, Trump told reporters that when it came to the crown prince, “as of this moment we were told that he did not play a role. We’re going to have to find out what they have to say.” That echoed remarks by national security adviser John Bolton, who said earlier this week that people who have listened to an audio recording of the killing do not think it implicates the crown prince.
Also before leaving on his trip, Trump said Saudi Arabia was “a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development.”
“I have to take a lot of things into consideration” when deciding what measures to take against the kingdom, he said.
Trump has called the killing a botched operation that was carried out very poorly and has said “the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups.”
But he has resisted calls to cut off arms sales to the kingdom and has been reluctant to antagonize the Saudi rulers. Trump considers the Saudis vital allies in his Mideast agenda.
But members of Congress are pushing Trump for a tougher response to the killing. The administration this past week penalized 17 Saudi officials for their alleged role in the killing, but American lawmakers have called on the administration to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia or take other harsher punitive measures.
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters traveling with him Saturday for a summit of Pacific Rim nations in Papua, New Guinea, that the “murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent press, and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States, often criticized the royal family. Turkish and Saudi authorities say he was killed inside the consulate by a team from the kingdom after he went there to get marriage documents.
The equivalence test: A new way for scientists to tackle so-called negative results
November 19, 2018
Ph.D Candidate in Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Kevin E. Omland
Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Evangeline Shank receives funding from The Maryland Ornithological Society.
Kevin Omland receives funding from the National Science Foundation and the American Bird Conservancy.
Thomas Mathew receives funding from NIH (past funding).
Partners: University of Maryland, Baltimore County provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
A paleontologist returns to her lab from a summer dig and sets up a study comparing tooth length in two dinosaur species. She and her team work meticulously to avoid biasing their results. They remain blind to the species while measuring, the sample sizes are large, and the data collection and the analysis are rigorous.
The scientist is surprised to find no significant difference in canine tooth length between the two species. She realizes that these unexpected results are important and sends a paper off to the appropriate journals. But journal after journal rejects the paper, since the results aren’t significantly different. Eventually, the scientist gives up, and the paper with its so-called negative results is placed in a drawer and buried under years of other work.
This scenario and many others like it have played out across all scientific disciplines, leading to what has been dubbed “the file drawer problem.” Research journals and funding agencies are often biased toward research that shows “positive” or significantly different results. This unfortunate bias contributes to many other issues in the scientific process, such as confirmation bias, in which data are interpreted incorrectly to support a desired outcome.
A new method: Equivalence
Unfortunately, publication bias issues have been prevalent in science for a long time. Due to the structure of the scientific method, scientists often focus only on differences between groups – like the dinosaur teeth from two different species, or a public health comparison of two different neighborhoods. This leaves studies that focus on similarities completely hidden.
However, pharmaceutical trials have found a solution for this problem. In these trials, researchers sometimes use a test known as TOST, two one sided test, to look for equivalence between treatments.
For example, say a company develops a generic drug that is cheaper to produce than the name-brand drug. Researchers need to demonstrate that the new drug functions in a statistically equivalent manner to the name brand before selling it on the market. That’s where equivalence testing comes in. If the test shows equivalence between the effects of the two drugs, then the FDA can approve the new drug’s release on the market.
While traditional equivalence testing is very helpful for preplanned and controlled pharmaceutical tests, it isn’t versatile enough for other types of studies. The original TOST cannot be used to test equivalence in experiments where the same individuals are in multiple treatment groups, nor does it work if the two tests groups have different sample sizes.
Additionally, the TOST used in pharmaceutical testing does not typically address multiple variables simultaneously. For example, a traditional TOST would be able to analyze similarities in biodiversity at several river locations before and after a temperature change. However, our new TOST would allow to test for similarities in multiple variables – such as biodiversity, water pH, water depth and water clarity – at all of the river sites simultaneously.
The limitations of the traditional TOST and the pervasiveness of the “file drawer problem” led our team to develop a multivariate equivalence test, capable of addressing similarities in systems with repeated measures and unequal sample sizes.
Our new equivalence test, published in October, flips the traditional null hypothesis framework on its head. Now, rather than assuming similarity, a researcher starts with the assumption that the two groups are different. The burden of proof now lies with evaluating the degree of similarity, rather than the degree of difference.
Our test also allows researchers to set their own acceptable margin for declaring similarity. For example, if margin were set to 0.2, then the results would tell you if the means of the two groups were similar within plus or minus 2 percent.
A step in the right direction
Our modification means that equivalence testing can now be applied across a wide range of disciplines. For example, we used this test to demonstrate equivalent acoustic structure in the songs of male and female eastern bluebirds. Equivalence testing has also already been used in some areas of engineering and psychology.
The method could be applied even more broadly. Imagine a group of researchers who want to examine two different teaching methods. In one classroom there is no technology, and in another all of the students’ assignments are done online. Equivalence testing might help an school district decide if they should invest more in technology or if the two methods of teaching are equivalent.
The development of a broadly applicable equivalence test represents what we think will be a huge step forward in scientists’ long struggle to present real and unbiased results. This test provides another avenue for exploration and allows researchers to examine and publish the results from studies on similarities that have not been published or funded in the past.
The prevalence of publication bias, including the file drawer problem, confirmation bias and accidental false positives, is a major stumbling block for scientific progress. In some fields of research, up to half of results are missing from the published literature.
Equivalence testing provides another tool in the toolbox for scientists to present “positive” results. If the scientific community takes hold of this test and utilizes it to its full potential, we think it may help mitigate one of the major limitations in the way science is currently practiced.
Gavin Moodie, Adjunct professor, RMIT University: Thanx for this. I think the technique should be tried in education, but I am not yet convinced that the example given would add much to the education literature.
The effects of Information and communications technologies on education have been examined numerous times and there is an extensive literature on it. For example, Hattie (2009: 201) did a meta analysis of 81 meta analyses of 4,875 studies of computer assisted instruction to find an effect size of 0.37. Since the mean effect size of all methods was 0.4, computer assisted instruction is not an improvement on the average method.
Higgins, Katsipataki, Kokotsaki, Coleman, Major and Coe’s (2013: 11th to 12th pages) meta analysis of the cost effectiveness of digital technologyfound a moderate impact for moderate cost, based on extensive evidence.
Numerous articles have been published reporting no marked difference in learning between online learning and face to face teaching-learning. These have been very important in establishing the acceptability of online learning as an alternative to face to face teaching-learning, tho of course completion rates remain from 15% to 30% lower for fully online learning.
And of course publication bias can be measured and accounted for. See, for example, Schneider and Preckel (2017: 584-585).
Hattie, John (2009) Visible learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, Routledge, London and New York.
Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M., Kokotsaki, D., Coleman, R., Major, L.E., & Coe, R. (2013). The Sutton Trust – Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit. Manual. London: Education Endowment Foundation. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/teaching-learning-toolkit
Schneider, M., & Preckel, F. (2017). Variables associated with achievement in higher education: a systematic review of meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 143(6), 565-600.