How China’s Latest Economic Stimulus Plan Undid Beijing’s Efforts to Clean Its Air
Simon Denyer, THE WASHINGTON POST
China may have declared a “war on pollution” nearly three years ago, but when push comes to shove, it is still the economy that matters. Concerned about slowing growth, China’s government has propped up the economy this year with a massive stimulus spending package. That has caused a property and investment boom, turned the taps of heavy industry back on and undermined efforts to clean up air in the capital. In effect, it is a cease-fire in the war on air pollution.
The TV Network at the Forefront of Beijing’s Foreign Propaganda Offensive
Michael Holtz, YAHOO NEWS
Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping’s message to the newly established China Global Television Network sounds simple enough. It’s one he’s repeated over and over to state media during his nearly five years in power. Experts on Chinese media say the new network will be at the forefront of Beijing’s foreign propaganda offensive, one of Xi’s top priorities as he seeks to expand his country’s international reach and burnish its global image.
China Ready to Step Up Scrutiny of US Firms If Trump Starts Feud: Sources
China is prepared to retaliate should President-elect Donald Trump take punitive measures against Chinese goods and trigger a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, according to people familiar with the matter. Options include subjecting well-known US companies or ones with large Chinese operations to tax or antitrust probes, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Other possible measures include anti-dumping investigations and scaling back government purchases of American products, the people said.
Russian Billionaires, Including Some Tied To Putin, Have Gained $29 Billion Since Trump’s Election
Dan Alexander, FORBES
Russia’s richest men, some of whom have close ties to President Vladimir Putin, have gained $29 billion since the election of Donald Trump, thanks to the rising value of Russian stocks and currency. Altogether, Russia’s billionaires have added an estimated $29 billion since Trump’s election, more than the combined gains of billionaires in any country besides the United States.
US Hits Russia with New Sanctions Amid Hacking Feud
The outgoing Obama administration on Monday blacklisted five Russians, including a senior law enforcement official close to President Vladimir Putin, as the two nations’ feud over US election hacking escalated. The economic sanctions against the five Russians are not related to the US intelligence agencies’ findings, officials said, and instead are connected to a 2012 US law punishing Russian human rights violators. Americans are now banned from doing business with the men and any assets they may have in the United States are now frozen.
Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal
Susanne Craig and Jo Becker and Jesse Drucker, THE NEW YORK TIMES
On the night of Nov. 16, Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, met with Jared Kushner, a major New York real estate investor who will soon serve as a senior advisor to his father-in-law, President-elect Donald J. Trump. According to two people with knowledge of the get-together, Mr. Wu toasted Mr. Trump and declared his desire to meet the president-elect, whose ascension, he was sure, would be good for global business. Anbang, which has close ties to the Chinese state, has seen its aggressive efforts to buy up hotels in the United States slowed amid concerns raised by Obama administration officials who review foreign investments for national security risk.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma: China-US Relationship Should Be “More Friendly”
Ryan Knutson and Laura Stevens, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., met with Donald Trump for about half an hour on Monday. After the meeting, Mr. Ma said he spoke to Mr. Trump about efforts to support 1 million small businesses by selling more US goods, especially agricultural products from the Midwest, to China through Alibaba’s trading platform. “We think that China and USA relationship should be strengthened, should be more friendly,” Mr. Ma said. Last month, the US Trade Representative named Alibaba to a list of global marketplaces known for counterfeit and pirated goods.
Venezuela Congress says Maduro “Abandoned Post”; Congress called “Disobedient”
Venezuela’s opposition-led Congress on Monday approved a resolution declaring that President Nicolás Maduro had “abandoned his post,” a symbolic move unlikely to break a year-long stalemate between the executive and the legislature. The opposition won a sweeping majority in 2015 elections as a result of anger over the country’s deep economic crisis, but has been hamstrung by a hostile Supreme Court that has shot down nearly every measure it has approved. The court last year ordered Congress to halt a political trial of Maduro meant to declare him responsible for the country’s crisis, and the president has dismissed the legislature’s moves against him as unconstitutional.
Ex-Venezuela Political Prisoner Still Raising Voice for Others’ Freedom
Vanessa A. Alvarez, NBC NEWS
A former political prisoner in Venezuela says he will continue to denounce his country’s current government from his home in the US as he recounted some of the harrowing experiences he constantly replays in his head. As one of at least 100 known political prisoner cases in Venezuela, Francisco Marquez, 30—a dual US-Venezuelan citizen—says he was one of the lucky ones. Marquez was arrested on June 19, 2016 while traveling the country in an effort to collect signatures for a recall referendum against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. “People need to know that Venezuela is a country that systematically tortures its political and common prisoners,” he said.