Yuan rises 0.5 percent after US drops currency manipulation charges

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   657

Chinese 100 yuan or renminbi (RMB) notes and coins in Beijing, China, 5 August 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Beijing – The renminbi (the official name of the Chinese currency, commonly known as ‘yuan’) rose by 6.8954 units per dollar or 0.45 percent – its highest level since August – hours after the United States government decided to drop China from its currency manipulator list.

The daily trading rate set by the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, was 0.0309 yuan higher on Tuesday, compared to the previous day.

The PBOC does not allow the yuan to fluctuate by more than two percent from the reference rate marked each day.

Washington included Beijing in its “currency manipulators” list on Aug. 5 after the yuan dropped below the psychological barrier of 7 units per dollar for the first time in more than a decade.

The significant drop in the yuan was seen as a response to new tariffs on Chinese products announced by Washington four days earlier.

However, the US Department of the Treasury on Monday announced the withdrawal of China from the list as a gesture of goodwill before the signing of the “first phase” of an agreement to resolve the bilateral trade war in the US capital later this week.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

However, the US has not completely written off its suspicions over China and moved China to the so-called “Monitoring List,” in which it classifies those trade partners that merit “close attention” because of their monetary policies.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua acknowledged that the strengthening of the yuan against the dollar came just after the gesture made by the US.

The agency quoted an analyst who attributed the appreciation in the national currency to the improvement in the country’s economic inertia and the counter-cyclical adjustments carried out by the government.

After 22 months of trade war and the ensuing exchange of tariffs, Trump announced mid-December that the first phase of a pact with China had been finalized.

According to the agreement, the US will keep its 25-percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, along with reduced charges of 7.5 percent on additional imports worth $120 billion.

Ever since the announcement of a possible agreement in October, negotiations between the Asian and American superpowers have seen several upheavals, including the spread of contradictory information and mutually-lobbed veiled criticism.

Trade tensions between the two world economies – which began in March 2018 – go beyond bilateral relations and have had global consequences.

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest forecasts in October, downgraded global growth projections for the year to 3 percent, 0.2 percent less than that in July, weighed down by doubts about a possible resolution of the trade dispute. EFE-EPA

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Detroit bus driver dies of COVID-19 days after posting rant vs coughing passenger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

A bus driver in the United States (US) died 11 days after he posted a video on Facebook complaining about a coughing passenger.

50-year-old Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video on March 21 recounting an incident where an woman in her late fifties coughed several times without covering her mouth.

“I feel violated, I feel violated for those folks that was on the bus when this happened,” he said on his video.

He also advised everyone watching the video to take the pandemic seriously.

He reiterated his anger to the old woman who coughed without covering her mouth saying it was those kinds of people who are not taking the situation seriously.

“This is real, I’m out here. We are all here. We are moving in this city back and forth, trying to do our jobs and be professional about what we do,” he said.

“We’re out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families. But for you to get on the bus, and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”

A week after his Facebook rant, Hangrove, a father of six, died on April 1 due to complications from COVID-19.

His video has already been viewed more than half a million times. Netizens are also rallying for the frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. AAC

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Irene Wang)

19 people killed in massive forest fire in southwestern China

UNTV News   •   March 31, 2020

A massive forest fire in southwestern China has killed 19 people, according to a state media report on Tuesday (March 31).

Eighteen firefighters and a local guide were confirmed dead, from a group of 21 firefighters who went to fight the blaze that had spread over more than 1,000 hectares of land near Xichang, a city in Sichuan province.

The fire started on a farm on Monday (March 30) afternoon and quickly spread to nearby mountains due to strong winds, according to local reports.

Flames and heavy smoke were seen drifting into the sky, posing a threat to a nearby town — including a gas storage station about 70 meters away from parts of the fire.

“This place (the gas station) is by far the most dangerous place in this forest fire in Xichang,” said Zhang Shanhu, a member of the local fire and rescue team.

Police have evacuated more than 1,200 people from the area, and local authorities have organized over 2,000 people to fight the blaze. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang)

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