BEIJING – A city in southeast China hit by COVID-19 told residents on Saturday to stay home and closed various venues, as infections spread in the country’s latest hotspot during a key holiday travel season. The government of Xiamen, in a series of notices, told residents not to leave home unnecessarily, closed parks, scenic spots and sports venues, and halted mass activities including tours, fairs and performances. The measures – short of a full lockdown…"COVID-hit Chinese city tells residents to stay home as holiday starts"
PARIS – The International Monetary Fund’s ethics committee and board need to look into a report alleging its chief Kristalina Georgieva pressured staff to boost China’s ranking in a flagship report while at the World Bank, a French finance ministry source said on Friday. Georgieva has headed the IMF since 2019, during which it has seen its role ramped up, distributing around $650 billion in new Special Drawing Rights, its quasi-currency, as part of a…"IMF chief in spotlight after China rigging report"
LONDON – Economists at investment funds expressed dismay on Friday at revelations that World Bank leaders put “undue pressure” on staff to boost China’s ranking in its influential “Doing Business 2018” report, and the series’ subsequent cancellation. They said the World Bank’s discontinuation of the “Doing Business” reports, which rate countries according to how easy it is to do business in them, could make it harder for investors to assess where to put their money.…"Bad for business: World Bank China rigging scandal rattles investors"
MOSCOW – Russia, China, Pakistan and other regional states called on the United States on Friday to engage with the Taliban and fund aid to Afghanistan, though they also urged the former insurgents to yield power to a more inclusive government. The fate of Afghanistan dominated a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, formed 20 years ago as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet central Asian states, but which has lately expanded into…"Regional powers at summit demand U.S. fund Afghan aid"
– The British government will on Friday consider easing England’s COVID-19 rules for international travel, a late-season boost for airlines, holiday and tourism companies which say they will not survive another winter of onerous rules and red tape. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news EUROPE * Spain will give a third vaccine dose to nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups, while data showed…"Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus"
BERLIN – The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will have tight COVID-19 countermeasures in place to ensure the safety of all participants, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday. Just over a month after the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an open letter that next year’s Winter Games would also require strict measures amid the ongoing pandemic. “While the pandemic is far from over, I would like to…"Olympics-Beijing 2022 Games to have rigorous COVID-19 measures-IOC"
HONG KONG – For his last class in Hong Kong in July, liberal studies teacher Fong showed his students calligraphy by the territory’s late democratic activist Szeto Wah: “Choose the right path and stick to it.” He emigrated to Britain days later. Fong is one of many teachers that left Hong Kong before the school year began in September, some saying they felt disillusioned and threatened by the authoritarian turn the city has taken since…"Hong Kong teachers exit under shadow of security law, schools scramble to fill gaps"
– The United States is developing a “new system for international travel” that will include contact tracing for when it eventually lifts travel restrictions that bar much of the world’s population from entering the country, a senior White House official said on Wednesday. DEATHS AND INFECTIONSEUROPE * Spain will give a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, and released data that showed…"Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus"
WASHINGTON – Australia and the United States have reached new force posture agreements that will see greater air cooperation through rotational deployments of all types of U.S. military aircraft to Australia, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Thursday. Speaking at a joint news conference after meetings between the U.S. and Australian foreign and defense ministers in Washington, Dutton said the two sides would be “significantly enhancing our force posture cooperation, increasing interoperability and deepening…"Australia agrees on increased U.S. air deployments in Australia"
LONDON – International investors that have been piling into China in recent years are now bracing for one of its great falls as the troubles of over-indebted property giant China Evergrande come to a head. The developer’s woes have been snowballing since May. Dwindling resources set against 2 trillion yuan ($305 billion) of liabilities have wiped nearly 80% off its stock and bond prices and an $80 million bond coupon payment now looms next week.…"Analysis: Investors brace for a great fall in China"