Japan PM candidates differ on same-sex, women rights issues

TOKYO – Candidates to become Japan’s next prime minister all said they would have better policies to fight the pandemic and reduce the income gap during television debates on Friday, but they were split on diversity issues from same-sex marriage to married couples having separate surnames. Whoever wins the Liberal Democratic Party presidency on Sept. 29 will become prime minister because of the LDP’s majority in the lower house of parliament, and campaigning began in…

"Japan PM candidates differ on same-sex, women rights issues"

England eases COVID-19 rules for international travellers

LONDON – England set out measures to boost international travel on Friday, abandoning expensive COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, scrapping its traffic light system and adding eight countries to its safe list. Travellers returning to England from Turkey, Pakistan, and the Maldives will not have to quarantine on their return as they are removed from the so-called COVID red list for travel, British transport minister Grant Shapps said. Shapps also said under the…

"England eases COVID-19 rules for international travellers"

Lula retains solid lead over Bolsonaro for 2022 Brazil race, poll shows

BRASILIA – Brazil’s leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains ahead of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro by a significant margin in voter preferences for the 2022 elections, a survey by pollster Datafolha showed on Friday. Voter support for Lula slipped to 44% from 46% in July, and Bolsonaro gained a percentage point to 26%, according to the poll, which asked voters to chose as if the election were now. In a simulated runoff…

"Lula retains solid lead over Bolsonaro for 2022 Brazil race, poll shows"

IMF chief in spotlight after China rigging report

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"

Bad for business: World Bank China rigging scandal rattles investors

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"

Regional powers at summit demand U.S. fund Afghan aid

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"

UAE could invest further $1.4 billion in Britain this year, UK trade official says

DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates could invest at least a further 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) in the United Kingdom this year after pledging 10 billion pounds this week to its investment partnership with the British government. The UK’s Trade Commissioner to the Middle East, Simon Penney, told on Friday there was “line of sight” on a minimum of one billion pounds of transactions between now and the end of the year. “The expectations…

"UAE could invest further $1.4 billion in Britain this year, UK trade official says"

Biden approval drops to lowest of presidency: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK – Public approval of U.S. President Joe Biden has dropped to the lowest level of his presidency, with Americans appearing to be increasingly critical of his response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest /Ipsos opinion poll. The national poll, conducted Sept. 15-16, found that 44% of U.S. adults approved of Biden’s performance in office, while 50% disapproved and the rest were not sure. Biden’s popularity has been declining since mid-August as…

"Biden approval drops to lowest of presidency: Reuters/Ipsos poll"

Biden says he expects Congress to deliver spending, infrastructure bills

– U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday expressed confidence that Congress will deliver both an infrastructure and supplementary spending bills to his desk that would infuse trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy. Biden’s speech comes as Democrats write a $3.5 billion spending bill that funds child care, community college and other social programs with an increase in taxes on companies and the very wealthy, and debates a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

"Biden says he expects Congress to deliver spending, infrastructure bills"

China applies to join Pacific trade pact in bid to boost economic clout

BEIJING -China has filed an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the country’s commerce ministry said on Thursday, as the world’s second-biggest economy looks to bolster its clout in trade. Commerce Minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to join the free trade agreement in a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, the Chinese ministry said in a statement. The CPTPP was signed by 11 countries including Australia,…

"China applies to join Pacific trade pact in bid to boost economic clout"