Insurance claims at $9 billion from California fires
Insurance claims from last month’s California wildfires already are at $9 billion and expected to increase, the state’s insurance commissioner announced Wednesday.
About $7 billion in claims are from the Camp Fire that destroyed the Northern California city of Paradise and killed at least 86 people, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least a century. The rest is from the Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California.Collectively, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 20,000 structures, with the vast majority in and around Paradise. On Tuesday, state and federal authorities estimated it will cost at least $3 billion just to clear debris.
“As the claims get perfected, as individuals get access to their former homes and neighborhoods, as they dialogue with their insurance companies and share more information about the scope of their loss, we expect these numbers to rise,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said of the $9 billion estimate.There are more than 28,000 claims for residential personal property, nearly 2,000 from commercial property and 9,400 in auto and other claims for the fires.
Trump comments upend US approach to China trade talks
The United States and China have taken pains this week to emphasize that their trade talks are entirely separate from the U.S. case against a top Chinese technology executive. But with a few words, President Donald Trump obliterated the distinction.
Trump said Tuesday he’d wade into the case against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei, if it would help produce a trade agreement with China.
“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump told Reuters in an interview.The comment suggests Meng could be a political pawn in negotiations and makes things more awkward for Canada, which arrested her on America’s behalf during a Dec. 1 layover at the Vancouver airport.
Responding to Trump’s comment, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday: “Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is, and will always remain, a country of the rule of law.”
UN chief calls for compromise, sacrifice at climate talks
The United Nations secretary-general called on countries to make comp-romises in tackling global warming, amid concern that the U.N. conference on the issue could end without a substantial agreement.
In his second dramatic appeal at the talks in Poland in the space of 10 days, Antonio Guterres told ministers and senior diplomats from almost 200 countries they should consider the fate of future generations.
“This is the time for political compromises to be reached,” he said. “This means sacrifices, but it will benefit us all collectively.”His call came as the two-week meeting in Katowice shifted from the technical to political phase, with ministers taking over negotiations.
Campaign groups warned of the risks of failure and accused powerful players such as the European Union of not pushing hard enough to reach an agreement.
— Associated Press