China's Xi gets chance to tighten hold on economy at meeting
President Xi Jinping, China’s most influential figure in decades, gets a chance to stack the ranks with allies who share his vision of intensifying pervasive control over entrepreneurs and technology development at a meeting of the ruling Communist Party that starts this weekend.
China's youth face bleak job market as COVID slows economy
China’s 11 million university graduates are struggling in a bleak job market this summer as repeated shutdowns under China’s zero-COVID lockdowns forced companies to retrench and driven many restaurants and other small employers out of business.
Solomon Islands leader defends new security pact with China
The Solomon Islands prime minister has confirmed that his government has signed a new security agreement with China, but told lawmakers it would not undermine the peace and harmony of the region, as has been feared by the opposition and countries including the United States and Australia.
Chinese leaders promise more economic support after slowdown
Chinese leaders have promised tax cuts and support for entrepreneurs to shore up slumping economic growth as the country grapples with a wave of bankruptcies and defaults among real estate developers caused by a campaign to rein in surging debt.
UK fraud agency probes Liberty Steel owner's Greensill links
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office says it's investigating suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering within the business empire of Liberty Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta, including its financing arrangements with bankrupt Greensill Capital U.K. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the fraud office said Friday it will not be providing any further comment into its probe into the activities of businesses within the Gupta Family Group Alliance.
China legislature endorses reducing public vote in Hong Kong
It adds to a crackdown against a protest movement in Hong Kong calling for greater democracy. Hong Kong news reports said earlier the committee will pick one-third of the members of the Legislative Council, or LegCo. AdBeijing wants to see “patriots ruling Hong Kong,” the premier said. “The Hong Kong people will be disenfranchised” under the latest changes, said Emily Lau, a former Hong Kong legislator. ___AP writers Zen Soo in Hong Kong and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.
EXPLAINER: What's happened so far at China's annual congress
BEIJING – Midway through its annual session, China’s ceremonial parliament is focusing on boosting the economy, building self-reliance in technology and further squeezing room for political opposition in Hong Kong. SETTING AN ACHEIVABLE GROWTH TARGETThe party set a growth target of “over 6%”, as the world’s second-largest economy shrugs off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. AdBEEFING UP THE MILITARYThe government announced a 6.8% rise in military spending to 1.4 trillion yuan ($217 billion), continuing a tradition of roughly tracking the economic growth target. WHAT'S NEXTThe annual session, which has been reduced from two weeks to one because of the pandemic, finishes on Thursday. Li will give the premier's annual news conference after the congress closes.
Chinese exports surge as global demand recovers from virus
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)BEIJING – China’s exports surged 60.6% over a year earlier in the first two months of 2021, after factories reopened and global demand started to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. AdForecasters say the Chinese export surge should decelerate as demand for masks and other medical supplies eases and overseas competitors return to global markets. Then, global exports tumbled 17.2% in 2020's first two months from the previous year. This year, China’s global trade surplus for January and February was $103.3 billion, compared with a $7.1 billion deficit in the same period last year. China’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed by 17.7% from the same time last year to $20.9 billion.
China sets moderate new energy goals for climate change
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)BEIJING – China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, announced generally moderate new energy and climate targets on Friday that give little sign that it will step up its pace in combatting climate change. The 18% target is the same as in the previous five-year economic plan. The country uses carbon emissions per unit of economic output, or carbon intensity, instead of absolute emission reduction targets. Government planners offered a few more specifics in a summary of the new five-year plan. It sets a target for non-fossil energy to account for 20% of total energy consumption by 2025, which will require further investment in solar and wind energy.
Tech rebound pulls stocks out of a slump and to weekly gain
The S&P 500 gained 2% after clawing back from a 1% skid that followed a 1% surge at the start of trading. "The bad thing being higher interest rates and the good being an improvement in the economy.”The S&P 500 rose 73.47 points to 3,841.94. That may have helped ease some bond investors inflation worries, at least for now. By Friday afternoon, the vast majority of stocks in the S&P 500 had rebounded. Five Big Tech stocks alone make up more than 21% of the S&P 500 by market value, so weakness for tech can hold back S&P 500 index funds even if many stocks within it are rising.
China boosts defense spending by 6.8% amid debt, pandemic
China is increasing its defense spending by 6.8% in 2021 as it works to maintain a robust upgrading of the armed forces despite high government debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING – China is increasing its defense spending by 6.8% in 2021 as it works to maintain a robust upgrading of the armed forces despite high government debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A national budget report issued Friday said China would spend 1.355 trillion yuan ($210 billion) on defense in the coming year. AdThe government says most of the spending increases go toward improving pay and other conditions for troops while observers say the budget omits much of China’s spending on weaponry, most of it developed domestically. The People's Liberation Army exercises a strong political role as the military branch of the ruling Communist Party.
China sets growth target 'over 6%,' tightening HK control
2 leader set a healthy economic growth target Friday and vowed to make the nation self-reliant in technology amid tension with the U.S. and Europe over trade and human rights. Another official announced plans to tighten control over Hong Kong by reducing the public's role in government. But he avoided aggressive targets that might weigh on economic growth. ___AP writers Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, and Zen Soo in Hong Kong contributed to this report. Ad___This story corrects the current size of the Hong Kong legislature to 70 members, not 35.
The Latest: Tennessee won't mandate vaccines in its schools
(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s governor says that once coronavirus vaccines become available, they will be optional in the state’s K-12 public schools. It’s just going nowhere,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, said Monday during a meeting with members of the Mississippi Senate. State health officials said fatality updates on Tuesday are typically higher because of lag in reporting from the weekends. That includes more than 1,000 on intensive care units and more than 570 on ventilators, according to state Health Department data. —-MADRID — Spain is reporting a new daily record of 537 coronavirus deaths since the resurgence of the pandemic.
Trump skips Southeast Asia summit for third year in a row
U.S. President Donald Trump skipped a virtual summit with his Southeast Asian counterparts on Saturday, the third year in a row that the U.S. is being represented at a lower level. (VNA via AP)HANOI – President Donald Trump skipped a summit with his Southeast Asian counterparts for the third year in a row on Saturday, with rival China set to expand its influence with a massive free trade deal in the region. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said Trump regretted he was unable to attend the online summit with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but stressed the importance of ties with the region. Trump attended the ASEAN summit in 2017, but sent only representatives during the last two meetings. At the separate summit later Saturday, China, Japan and South Korea sought deeper regional cooperation to battle the pandemic.
Asia Today: 39 new cases in S. Korea; China defends record
(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)SEOUL SEOUL, South Korea (AP) South Korea on Friday reported 39 new cases of the coronavirus as infections continued to spike after rigid social distancing rules were relaxed. The additional figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the countrys total to 11,668 with 273 deaths. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: FIVE NEW CASES IN CHINA: China on Friday reported five new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought by Chinese citizens from outside the country. China has reported 4,634 deaths among 83,027 cases since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year. Despite criticism of its initial handling of the outbreak and allegations it withheld crucial information, China has repeatedly defended its record.
Trump strikes China over virus, Hong Kong and student visas
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Washington. He noted that the U.S. contributes about $450 million to the world body while China provides about $40 million. Tensions over Hong Kong have increased over the past year as China has cracked down on protesters a nd sought to exert more control over the former British territory. Trump said the administration would begin eliminating the full range of agreements that had given Hong Kong a relationship with the U.S. that mainland China lacked, including exemptions from controls on certain exports. Still, the country has insisted that its control of Hong Kong is an internal matter, and it has disputed that it mishandled the response to the virus.
Wall Street up as recovery hopes overshadow virus worries
Asian shares are rising as some regions in Japan resume near-normal business activity, with hopes for economic recovery overshadowing worries over the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)TOKYO Stocks surged on Wall Street in morning trading Tuesday, driving the S&P 500 to its highest level in nearly three months, as hopes for economic recovery overshadow worries about the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 was up 2% to 3,015 points. The S&P 500 was coming off a solid week and is on track for a second-straight month of gains. Fears of a crushing recession due to the coronavirus sent the S&P 500 into a skid of more than 30% from its February high.
Key points about China's legislative session
Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, attends the opening session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, May 22, 2020. The National Peoples Congress session is more a chance for the authoritarian ruling Communist Party leadership to directly communicate its message than an occasion to debate or pass laws. The premier traditionally caps off the session with his sole annual news conference broadcast live nationwide. Discussion may be more limited this year by social distancing requirements, although it isnt clear how strictly they are being enforced. At Thursdays opening session of the CPPCC, rank-and-file members wore masks but sat in rows as usual with little space between them.
Wall Street ends a choppy day mostly higher; crude oil falls
(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)BANGKOK Stock indexes finished mostly higher Friday as Wall Street shook off an early slide, closing out a solid week of gains for the market. Energy stocks fell the most as crude oil prices closed lower after six straight gains. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 2% to settle at $33.25 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, fell 2.6% to settle at $35.13 a barrel. The choppy trading on Wall Street followed a downbeat day in Asia.
The Latest: Nevada's shuttered casinos could reopen June 4
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Sisolak has set a tentative June 4 date for reopening the states shuttered casinos, including the famous glitzy casinos of Las Vegas. Tate Reeves says he is adding another week to his statewide safer at home order because of the coronavirus pandemic. ___ROME All residents of nursing homes in Lombardy, Italys worst-stricken region in the COVID-19 pandemic, have now been tested for the infection. State health officials plan another round of testing at the facility next week.
China boosts spending for virus-hit economy, takes up HK law
2 leader on Friday promised higher spending to revive its pandemic-stricken economy and curb surging job losses but avoided launching a massive stimulus on the scale of the United States or Japan. Also Friday, legislators took up a proposed national security law for Hong Kong that activists complain might be used to suppress political activity. That is in line with expectations for higher spending but a fraction of the $1 trillion-plus stimulus packages launched or discussed by the United States, Japan and Europe. Also Friday, the government announced the military budget, the world's second-biggest after the United States, will rise 6.6% to 1.3 trillion yuan ($178 billion). Wang said Beijing had to take action because activities in Hong Kong threatened national security, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
New infections show virus accelerating across Latin America
(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)BEIJING The coronavirus pandemic accelerated across Latin America on Friday, bringing a surge of new infections and deaths, even as curves flattened and reopening was underway in much of Europe, Asia and the United States. Brazil reported more than 20,000 deaths and 300,000 confirmed cases, making it the third worst-hit country in the world by official counts. Armando Sepulveda, manager of San Cristobal Mauseleum in the massive Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec, said his burial and cremation business has doubled in recent weeks. With almost 109,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,100 dead as of Thursday night, Peruvian media showed images of patients slumped in wheelchairs receiving oxygen. ___Sherman reported from Mexico City.
China focused on jobs as national legislature meets
As job losses surge, China is joining the United States and other governments in rolling out stimulus spending to revive its virus-battered economy. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)BEIJING As job losses surge, China is joining the United States and other governments in rolling out stimulus spending to revive its virus-battered economy. One closely watched indicator: Whether Beijing will skip for the first time setting an economic growth target given uncertainties over what lies ahead. Banks that lent to finance stimulus spending after the 2008 global crisis have a mountain of nonperforming loans. The final economic impact will be mainly determined by the development of the epidemic in Europe and the United States, Ma said.
Stocks end lower on Wall Street as US-China tensions weigh
Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street rose amid Chinese trade tension with Washington and Australia. Oil prices closed higher, extending a string of gains. Oil prices closed higher for the sixth day day in a row. European stock indexes closed broadly lower after shedding some gains. Asian stock markets finished lower.
China considers bill limiting Hong Kong opposition activity
Such legislation was last proposed in 2003 under Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, bringing hundreds of thousands of the territory's citizens out in protest. Opposition in Hong Kong's Legislative Council, however, made it unlikely such a bill could pass at the local level. Hong Kongs South China Morning Post newspaper said a draft resolution would be brought before the National People's Congress on Friday afternoon and voted on at the end of its session on May 28. The decision to circumvent Hong Kong's Legislative Council to enact the security legislation is an unprecedented and highly controversial intervention," Johnny Patterson, director of the non-governmental organization Hong Kong Watch, said in a statement. Thursday saw the opening session of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body.
China's economy struggles as consumers tighten belts
Chinese leaders are counting on consumers to power the economy, replacing trade and investment as Beijing fights a tariff war with Washington. Communist leaders are counting on consumers to power China's economy, replacing trade and investment. But shoppers, spooked by the tariff war and possible job losses, are cutting spending on cars, real estate and other big-ticket purchases. Economic growth sank to a three-decade low of 6% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in September. Chinese leaders don't want to use credit-fueled stimulus and "leave themselves vulnerable to future economic and financial sanctions," he said.
Caught between human rights and trade, Angela Merkel lands in China
BEIJING - Angela Merkel was welcomed by Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday amid calls for the German Chancellor to take a stronger line on China's human rights record. According to state-run CGTN, Merkel is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the trip. China is one of Germany's largest trading partners, buying almost $100 billion of German exports in 2017. In a letter to Merkel ahead of her visit, prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong also wrote to her to ask for help. Speaking in Beijing on Friday, Merkel said the rights of Hong Kong citizens "must be respected."