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Published: July 19, 2018 3:06 p.m. ET

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Fitch is expecting a 0.8% decline in overall capex spending next year that may mark an inflection point in the current cycle

Corporate news editor

The tit-for-tat trade tariffs being imposed by the U.S. and China governments and European Union are likely to dampen capital spending by U.S. companies in 2018 and lead to a decline in spending in 2019 that may mark an inflection point in the late-stage business cycle.

That’s the view of Fitch Ratings in a report published Thursday, that warns that U.S. manufacturing activity will be hurt by the current tensions.

“The escalation of the US-China trade dispute and the notable absence of constructive negotiations point to a continuation of trade-related uncertainty for U.S. businesses through the second half of the year,” said Fitch Group Credit Officer for U.S. companies, Bill Warlick, lead author of the report.

Fitch is expecting about 3% growth in aggregate capital spending in 2018, half the 6% growth recorded in 2017. The rating agency expects that rate to swing to a negative 0.8% in 2019, amid warnings of changing business strategies and delays in capital projects.

Read also: Why Trump isn’t backing down in the trade fight — in one chart

Read also:

Fitch noted the raft of big U.S. companies that have been vocal on the risks posed by tariffs, including General Motors Co. Court Master Trainers In Black Black Lacoste Free Shipping Genuine Cheap Sale Manchester Great Sale f9gD2bA
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PAPERS
Education
Proposals in states like Washington and North Dakota aim to streamline education from pre-k to Ph.D.
by Zach Patton | April 2011

It’s not exactly controversial to say that most state education systems could use some major repairs -- if not a complete overhaul. One such reform is currently being discussed in Washington state, where Gov. Christine Gregoire has proposed a plan that would radically rebuild the entire education structure in her state. The idea is attractively simple: a single state Education Department to handle everything from pre-kindergarten programs to post-graduate studies.

“Today in our state, we do not have an education system,” Gregoire said when she announced the proposed shift in January. “We have a collection of agencies that deal with the subject of education.” Washington currently has eight education agencies and 14 major strategic plans, according to the governor’s office. Gregoire’s proposal would create a cabinet-level education secretary, appointed by the governor, atop one seamless agency. The governor says that bringing all of the state’s education efforts under one umbrella -- “from the preschool to the Ph.D.” -- would save money and resources, and help ensure the best possible education experience for students.

Such a reorganization would give Washington the most centralized education department in the nation. Massachusetts has a single education secretary, but the state also has separately elected boards for each level of the education system. Legislators in North Dakota are debating a bill that would create a unified system similar to the proposal in Washington, but because the idea represents such a sweeping change from the current model, the plan attracted immediate controversy. The State Board of Higher Education and a public school administrators’ group have vowed to fight it, which would require a constitutional amendment. And in Washington, teacher unions have also raised concerns about Gregoire’s proposal. The voter-elected state schools superintendent, whose position would have been eliminated, railed against the plan as a power grab by the governor. (Gregoire has since said she’s no longer seeking to eliminate the superintendent position.)

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Still, ideas like the ones in Washington and North Dakota are inherently sensible, says Jack Jennings, president and CEO of the Center on Education Policy, a national advocacy group for public education. “The vision is the right vision,” he says. “But it’s difficult to achieve, largely because elementary and secondary education is a completely different kind of creature from post-secondary.” Even within higher education, Jennings says, it would be difficult to consolidate management of the “enormous variety” of institutions, from two-year community colleges to multi-campus research universities, not to mention for-profit proprietary schools like the University of Phoenix.

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BI ACCOUNTS
Rob Price
Feb. 4, 2015, 8:24 AM
Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales at a news conference before the London Wikimania conference in 2014.
Carl Court/Getty Images
"A substance comprised of pigments suspended in a carrier is paint."

Can you spot the mistake in the above sentence?

Answer: It's the use of the term "comprised of." It's a conflation of "comprised" and "composed of," and it's not technically correct. The sentence should say, "A substance consisting of pigments suspended in a carrier is paint." (Or, more clumsily, "Paint comprises pigments suspended in a carrier.")

"Comprised of" is in common usage, however, and most people don't realise it's wrong. But Bryan Henderson is on a mission to change that. Backchannel reports that the 51-year-old software engineer is an extraordinarily active contributor to Wikipedia , making 47,000 edits over the past decade — almost exclusively to correct other editors' incorrect usage of "comprised of."

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"and nobody came back and scolded me for it," he was hooked. He initially identified 15,000 incorrect uses of the term using Google and began methodically working through them. There was a backlash from editors, which "came as quite a surprise," as other Wikipedia users were irked to be corrected on a mistake they didn't realise they had made.

But Henderson persevered, and he wrote scripts that would hunt down uses of the term and flag them for him to correct. He has now corrected every single misuse of "comprised of" on English-language Wikipedia — no mean feat, considering the site has more than 4.7 million articles. Nonetheless, between 70 and 80 new ones appear on the site each week, according to Backchannel , and Henderson spends about an hour every Sunday night hunting them down.

He has even inspired his brother to take up a similar cause. Robin Henderson now keeps an eye out for the incorrect term "based around" (it should be "based on") on Wikipedia — though he says he doesn't have the same "search and destroy" attitude as Bryan.

Henderson (who lives in San Jose, California) has also written extensively on "comprised of," justifying his actions with a 6,000-word mission statement on his user page . Here some of the reasons — in his words — "comprised of" is "poor writing":

In Wikipedia parlance, Henderson — editing under the user name Giraffedata — is a "WikiGnome." It's a type of editor who is happy to "make useful incremental edits without clamouring for attention," according to the Wiki page on them . He has received numerous accolades from the community for his work.

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"for personal taste" — it's because "the fact that lots of other people feel the same way is what makes it seem like a good edit to me."

"If I can spare any readers [the] discomfort [of seeing it] without hurting anyone else, why wouldn't I?"

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