The first shipment of Australian coking coal was set to arrive at a southern Chinese port on Wednesday night following breakthrough trade talks this week, reflecting the gradual restoration of bilateral economic and trade ties. Experts urged Australia to seize this important opportunity to inject more positive factors into their economic cooperation for mutual benefit.China Australia Photo: VCGThe Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that China will restart and resume dialogues and exchanges with Australia, expand cooperation and control differences to boost the rebuilding of mutual trust and bring relations back to a normal track.The bulk vessel Magic Eclipse, which is reportedly carrying the coal from Australia, departed from Hay Point on January 24 before heading to a port in Zhanjiang, South Chinas Guangdong Province. The ship is due to arrive at 10 pm (Beijing time) on Wednesday, according to MarineTraffic, a vessel tracking platform.The first batch of the Australian coal will be delivered to a local production base of Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (Baosteel) in Zhanjiang, insiders said. An employee with the company declined to comment when being reached by the Global Times on Wednesday, but said that the company is paying close attention to Australian coal imports.Its the first shipment of Australian coal in over two years, after former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison sabotaged bilateral relations.The resumption of Australian coal exports came after video talks between Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and his Australian counterpart Don Farrell on Monday."The breakthroughs are within expectations, reflecting the general trend of the restoration of China-Australia economic and trade relations," Wang Shiming, a professor at the School of Politics and International Relations of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.The strained bilateral relationship in recent years caused much damage to the Australi...
Swedens central bank announced another hefty rate hike on Thursday, taking it to its highest level since 2008 to fight double-digit inflation.People crossing the road in Sodermalm, Stockholm, Sweden, on November 30, 2022. (File photo: AFP)"Monetary policy needs to be tightened to bring down inflation," the bank said, warning that a further increase was to be expected in the coming months after raising the rate by a half-percentage-point to three percent.Swedish inflation hit 12.3 percent in December, its highest level in 30 years and six times higher than the banks 2.0 percent target."Even disregarding energy prices, inflation is high and rising," the bank said.While the bank had launched asset purchases in recent years to stimulate the economy, the monetary institution will begin doing the opposite in April, selling government bonds.Swedens economy slowed considerably in the fourth quarter, with gross domestic product unexpectedly shrinking by 0.6 percent. The krona has also depreciated sharply against other main currencies.The bank said that for 2023, it expected Sweden to see a recession of 1.1 percent, non-adjusted inflation of 8.6 percent and rising unemployment.Central banks worldwide have been raising borrowing costs in efforts to tame runaway prices, at the risk of causing recession as the moves slow economic activity.In April last year, Swedens key rate was still at zero percent.In a country where many mortgages are indexed against the key rate, the sharp increase has had a major impact on households and has raised fears of a housing market crash after a decade of soaring prices.
British firefighters postponed strike action to vote on an improved pay offer, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said on Thursday, giving some relief to the government after a wave of walkouts across multiple sectors caused widespread disruption.File photo: AgenciesThe FBU said the new pay offer for firefighters was for a 7-percent rise backdated to July last year and for another 5-percent increase from July 1 this year. The union will now ballot its members on the new offer.Pay disputes have been raging in Britain since last summer, causing hundreds of thousands of workers to strike after inflation hit more than 10 percent, its highest level for four decades.Britains healthcare system was hit by its worst ever strike earlier this week. The previous week teachers and railway workers had walked out.The government has resisted awarding pay rises in line with inflation, saying it would be unaffordable and in turn further fuel price rises.The FBU said while the new offer would boost wages, it still amounted to a real terms pay cut."Frontline firefighters and control room staff will make the decision on whether this pay offer is considered a real improvement," the FBU said.Should they reject the new offer, the strikes will be back on, it said.
Singapore will drop a requirement for travelers who are not fully vaccinated to show COVID-19 test results or purchase coronavirus travel insurance from February 13, the governments virus taskforce said on Thursday.Photo: AgenciesMasks will also not be required to be worn on public transport, the health ministry said in a statement, as authorities lowered the disease outbreak response level to "green" from "yellow," indicating COVID-19 is not threatening.However, masks will still be mandatory in healthcare settings, where there is interaction with patients and in indoor patient-facing areas."Within Singapore our COVID situation has remained stable over the recent months, despite increased travel over the year-end holidays and Chinas shift from zero COVID," Lawrence Wong, deputy prime minister and co-chair of the virus taskforce, told a media briefing."Our population has developed a high level of hybrid immunity," he said.Around 80 percent of the city-states 5.6 million population have achieved minimum COVID-19 vaccination protection, and around half are up to date with their additional booster shots, health ministry data showed."Weve had to deal with many unexpected curveballs and surprises along the way. But we managed to reach this point together because we all did our part," Wong said.The public can also remove COVID-19 contact-tracing apps, and the government has deleted identifiable data from its servers and database, health minister Ong Ye Kung said.Since April last year, Singapore had lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions with many international events returning to the city-state, attracting tourists and businesses.The Asian financial hub is expecting the tourism sector to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
JAKARTA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Four people were killed and several houses and buildings destroyed after a 5.4 magnitude earthquake jolted eastern Papua province on Thursday, a disaster agency official said."The jolts of the quake were felt strongly here. They damaged houses, a restaurant and buildings," Jonathan Koirewoa, manager of the operation control center for the provincial disaster management and mitigation agency, told Xinhua via phone."Four people were killed during the earthquake. Now we are carrying out risk assessments of the quake," he said.The countrys meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency reported the earthquake struck at 13:28 p.m. local time (0628 GMT) with its epicenter located 1 km southwest of the provincial capital of Jayapura and a depth of 10 km.The earthquake did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami, it said.Several aftershocks occurred after the main shock, according to the agency.
The release of gas emanating from a leak on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea, September 28, 2022. /CFPU.S. officials have rejected the report by a veteran U.S. investigative journalist who claimed Washington was behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year.In a self-published report on his page on Substack web service, Seymour Hersh wrote that U.S. Navy divers helped by Norway had planted explosives on the pipelines running under the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany last June and detonated them three months later.White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson described the report as "complete fiction," while a Central Intelligence Agency spokesperson called the report "completely and utterly false."Asked about Hershs claim that Oslo supported the operation, the Norwegian foreign ministry said: "These claims are false."The pipelines are multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects designed to carry Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.Sweden and Denmark, in whose exclusive economic zones the blasts occurred, have both concluded the pipelines were blown up deliberately, but have not said who might be responsible.The United States and NATO have called the incident "an act of sabotage." Moscow has blamed the West for the unexplained explosions that caused the ruptures. Neither side has provided evidence.On Wednesday, Russias foreign ministry said the United States had questions to answer over its role in explosions on the pipelines.Construction of Nord Stream 2, designed to double the volume of gas that Russia could send directly to Germany under the sea, was completed in September 2021, but was never put into operation after Berlin shelved certification just days before Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine last February.Hersh alleged the decision to bomb the pipelines, which were shut down but contained residual gas, was made in ...
Three Chinese citizens were rescued in good condition after Mondays devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a press briefing on Thursday.This aerial view shows collapsed buildings during ongoing rescue searches in Hatay, southeastern Turkey, on February 8, 2023. (File photo: AFP)The Chinese government is ready to continue to provide relief, resettlement and reconstruction assistance to Türkiye and Syria, added Mao.
JAKARTA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- A 5.4-magnitude earthquake jolted Indonesias eastern province of Papua on Thursday, the countrys meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency said.The earthquake hit at 1:28 p.m. local time (0628 GMT) with its epicenter located 1 km southwest of the provincial capital of Jayapura and a depth of 10 km, the agency said.The earthquake did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami, it said.
German inflation picked up slightly in January, preliminary data showed Thursday, as the impact of a one-off energy subsidy the month before wore off.
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. entertainment giant the Walt Disney Company has announced 7,000 job layoffs from its global workforce.The job cuts represent around 3.2 percent of Disneys 220,000 employees worldwide.In this Friday, April 30, 2021, file photo, visitors exit The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo: AP)The company is targeting 5.5 billion U.S. dollars in cost savings, including 3 billion dollars in content savings, Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said Wednesday in his first earnings call since returning to the company.Iger noted that the reorganization would result in a more cost-effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to the companys operations.The Mouse House is the latest on the list of major U.S. companies that have announced mass job cuts in recent months.Disney on Wednesday reported revenue of 23.51 billion dollars for its first quarter of fiscal 2023, up 8 percent year over year.Diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations for the quarter increased to 0.7 dollars from 0.63 dollars in the prior-year quarter. Excluding certain items, diluted EPS for the quarter decreased to 0.99 dollars from 1.06 dollars in the prior-year quarter.Disney reported 161.8 million Disney+ paid subscribers worldwide, a decrease of 2.4 million subscribers during the first quarter. Its Disney+s first subscriber loss since the launching of the companys flagship streaming service in 2019.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he has sent Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, to quake-hit Türkiye. Guterres also said he will issue a flash appeal early next week to support humanitarian needs, Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday."We have coordinated the deployment of over 4,948 search and rescue experts and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) emergency response teams soon after the earthquake shook Türkiye and Syria," Griffiths said Thursday on Twitter. Martin Griffiths, of the United Kingdom, speaks as the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, during a Security Council meeting on the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine , Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at United Nations headquarters. (Photo: AP)
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a military parade on Wednesday to celebrate the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean Peoples Army, the Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday. In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center left, with his daughter attends a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (Photo: AP)
The death toll from a huge earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria climbed above 15,800 on Thursday, as rescuers raced to reach survivors stuck under rubble in freezing weather.Officials and medics said 12,873 people had died in Turkey and 2,992 in Syria from Mondays 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the confirmed total to 15,865.A destroyed building in Antakya, southern Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (Photo: AP)
Two children were killed and six others seriously injured after a city bus crashed into a daycare center in Laval, north of Montreal, Canada on Wednesday morning.The incident occurred at the Garderie Educative Sainte-Rose on Dufferin Terrace in Lavals Sainte-Rose district, and the bus was from the Société de transport de Laval (STL), according to local authorities. The driver of the bus, a 51-year-old man employed by the STL, was arrested and charged with homicide and dangerous driving, the police said. Stéphane Boyer, the mayor of Laval, said the driver had been employed by the STL for about 10 years but didnt have any prior incidents on his record.The incident happened at about 8:30 a.m. (1:30 GMT), when parents usually drop off by their kids at daycare centers."Everyone is terribly saddened by what has occurred," Quebecs Families Minister Suzanne Roy said. "When you leave your children at the daycare for the day, you know that theyre in good hands ... when an event like that can happen, it shakes us and shatters us."Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later also said he was "devastated" by the accident, adding that he "cant imagine what the families are going through.""No words can take away the pain and fear that parents, children and workers are feeling, but we are here for you," Trudeau said.(With input from agencies)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of enduring allied support, at talks hosted by Frances Emmanuel Macron. Ukraines President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (L) poses with Frances President Emmanuel Macron (C) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) upon his arrival at the Elysee presidential palace for a working diner in Paris, France, February 8, 2023. (Photo: AP)Scholz said that Germany and its partners had backed Ukraine "financially, with humanitarian aid and with weapons" since February last year. "We will continue to do so as long as necessary," he told reporters. The assurance came after Zelenskyy urged France and Germany to deliver combat planes and heavy weaponry "as soon as possible" as he visited Paris after a trip to the UK where he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and signed a Declaration of Unity regarding allied cooperation and mutual support between the two countries."The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we can return to peace in Europe," he said in Paris alongside the leaders of France and Germany. (With input from agencies)
BEIRUT (AP) — For years, the people of Aleppo bore the brunt of bombardment and fighting when their city, once Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan, was among the civil war’s fiercest battle zones. Even that didn’t prepare them for the new devastation and terror wreaked by this week’s earthquake.The natural disaster piled on many human-made ones, multiplying the suffering in Aleppo and Syria more broadly.Fighting largely halted in Aleppo in 2016, but only a small number of the numerous damaged and destroyed buildings had been rebuilt. The population has also more recently struggled with Syrias economic downslide, which has sent food prices soaring and residents thrown into poverty.Syrian Civil Defense workers and security forces search through the wreckage of collapsed buildings after a devastating earthquake rocked Syria and Turkey, in Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (Photo: AP)The shock of the quake is all too much.Hovig Shehrian said that during the worst of the war in Aleppo, in 2014, he and his parents fled their home in a front-line area because of the shelling and sniper fire. For years, they moved from neighborhood to neighborhood to avoid the fighting.“It was part of our daily routine. Whenever we heard a sound, we left, we knew who to call and what to do,” the 24-year-old said.“But … we didn’t know what to do with the earthquake. I was worried we were going to die.”Monday’s pre-dawn 7.8-magnitude quake, centered about 70 miles (112 kilometers) away in Turkey, jolted Aleppans awake and sent them fleeing into the street under a cold winter rain. Dozens of buildings across the city collapsed. More than 360 people were killed in the city and hundreds of others were injured. Workers were still digging three days later through the rubble, looking for the dead and the survivors. Across southern Turkey and northern Syria, more than 11,000 were killed.Even those whose buildings still stood remain afraid to return. Many are sheltering in schools. A Maroni...
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares fell Thursday in Asia after Wall Street gave back some of its recent gains on persisting uncertainty over interest rates and inflation.Benchmarks declined in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney but rose in Hong Kong and Shanghai.A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japans Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Tokyo. (Photo: AP)Wall Street retreated Wednesday following a set of mixed earnings reports. The pullback also followed comments Tuesday by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who signaled that an exceptionally strong U.S. jobs report last Friday would not oblige the central bank to return to a more aggressive stance on raising interest rates to tame inflation.Another Fed official, John Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said Wednesday that he still thinks the Fed’s main interest rate hitting a target of 5% to 5.5% by the end of the year is “a very reasonable view.” The federal funds rate is now at a range of 4.50% to 4.75%. Williams spoke at a CFO Network summit hosted by the Wall Street Journal.“Traders are keeping a close eye on policymakers’ remarks to position accordingly ahead of key upcoming inflation figures and job market data before next month’s rate decision," Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a commentary.Tokyos Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% to 27,510.17 and the Kospi in Seoul lost 0.1% to 2,482.03. Australias S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.6% to 7,487.30. Shares also fell in Bangkok, Taiwan and Singapore.Hong Kongs Hang Seng index gained 0.3% to 21,352.10, while the Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.6% to 3,252.02.On Wednesday, the S&P 500 fell 1.1% to 4,117.86 and the Nasdaq fell 1.7% to 11,910.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave back 0.6% to 33,949.01.The Fed has been saying that it plans to hike interest rates a couple more times and then hold them at a high level at least through the end of the year. Williams warned that inter...
SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- South Koreas bank lending to households logged the highest monthly fall in January due to higher policy rates, central bank data showed Thursday.Debts, owed by households to the deposit-taking banks, came to 1,053.4 trillion won (834.6 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of January, down 4.6 trillion won (3.6 billion dollars) from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).Busan, South Korea (Photo: VCG)It marked the fastest reduction since relevant data began to be compiled in 2004.The BOK began to tighten its monetary policy stance in August 2021, hiking its key rate from a record low of 0.50 percent to 3.50 percent.Home-backed loans to households stood unchanged at 798.8 trillion won (632.9 billion dollars) at the end of January, but credit and other secured loans tumbled 4.6 trillion won (3.6 billion dollars) last month.Bank corporate loans gained 7.9 trillion won (6.3 billion dollars) in January, after declining 9.4 trillion won (7.4 billion dollars) in the previous month.Bank lending to the self-employed dwindled 900 billion won (713.1 million dollars) in January amid higher borrowing costs.Outstanding deposits of banks came in at 2,198.0 trillion won (1.74 trillion dollars) at the end of January, down 45.4 trillion won (36 billion dollars) from a month earlier.
The United States has a longstanding practice of exerting frequent long-arm jurisdiction over other countries, including both its allies and countries with which it has hostile or strained relations.
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a military parade on Wednesday to celebrate the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean Peoples Army, the Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday.In this photo provided by the DPRK government, DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, center, acknowledges military top officials during a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (Photo: AP)
When US President Joe Biden suggested that Republicans want to slash Medicare and Social Security, the GOP howls of protest during his State of the Union address showcased a striking apparent turnaround for the party that built a brand for years trying to do just that.
BRASILIA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Brazil expects its 2022-2023 harvest season to yield up to 310.6 million tons of grain, 38.2 million tons more than the last harvest, the state-run National Supply Company (CONAB) said Wednesday.A harvester unloads newly-collected soybeans in the fields on the outskirts of Brasilia, Brazil, Feb. 4, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)"The beginning of the corn and soybean harvest in the state of Rio Grande do Sul confirms the forecasts of a sharp drop in productivity due to the low rainfall," CONAB President Guilherme Ribeiro said in a report.On the other hand, crops in the countrys central western region, such as the Mato Grosso state, have benefited from the "favorable weather," he noted.Even so, CONAB estimates an increase in both cultivated area and productivity, which is expected to result in a harvest in the first crop of 26.5 million tons and the second crop of 95 million tons.The harvest season for soybean, the countrys main export product, has already begun in several regions of the South American country.Regarding rice, CONAB forecasts that the output will reach 10.2 million tons.
ANKARA/DAMASCUS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Mondays devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria has risen to 15,383, according to data released by authorities and rescuers.A man walks through the rubble of destroyed buildings in Antakya, southern Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (Photo: AP)The number of people killed in Türkiye due to the devastating earthquake has reached 12,391, the countrys Anadolu agency reported on Thursday, citing the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.In Syria, at least 1,262 were killed and 2,285 injured in government-held areas, said the Syrian Health Ministry. Media reports also cited rescue workers as saying that at least 1,730 were killed and over 2,850 injured in the opposition-held region in Syria.A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Türkiyes southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time (0117 GMT), followed by a magnitude 6.4 quake a few minutes later in the countrys southern province of Gaziantep and a magnitude 7.6 earthquake at 1:24 p.m. local time (1024 GMT) in Kahramanmaras Province.On Wednesday, an 82-member Chinese rescue team arrived at Adana Airport in Türkiye at 4:30 am local time (0130 GMT) after flying over 8,000 km on a chartered Air China plane.
This photo taken on Feb. 7, 2023 shows a damaged building in Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras Province, Türkiye. (Photo: Xinhua)HATAY, Türkiye, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese rescue team, working with local partners, rescued a pregnant woman from a collapsed 8-story building early Thursday here.
SYDNEY, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Australia Post has announced that in the first half 2023 financial year, its revenue was 4.69 billion Australian dollars (about 3.25 billion U.S. dollars), down 2.4 percent from the same period last year, which is largely driven by an ongoing decline in letter volumes.Photo taken on Oct. 1, 2021 shows a delivery vehicle of Australia Post in Sydney, Australia. The harsh reality of millions of Australians being in lockdown for months due to COVID-19 has proven a blessing for the nations online grocery business, which has never been busier. (Photo: Xinhua)Meanwhile, the group profit before tax plunged to 23.6 million Australian dollars (about 16.4 million U.S. dollars), seeing an 88.2 percent drop from 199.8 million Australian dollars (about 138.5 million U.S. dollars) for the six months up to Dec. 31, 2021 (1H22), according to its press release on Wednesday.The national postal service provider regarded the shrinking profit "considerably lower than the prior corresponding period, largely the result of a record first-half letters loss of 189.7 million Australian dollars, compared to 69.9 million Australian dollars in 1H22."According to Australia Post, letters revenue now makes up just 18.8 percent of the groups total revenue, down from 19.5 percent in 1H22.In early January this year, Australia Post lifted the basic postage rate from 1.1 Australian dollars (about 0.76 U.S. dollars) to 1.2 Australian dollars (about 0.83 U.S. dollars). But the group said that this increase will only partially offset the substantial letters losses."Every year its costing Australia Post more to deliver fewer letters. We know letters are in an unstoppable decline, thanks largely to digital communications, yet letter costs are rising due to the increasing number of delivery points we service every day," said Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Paul Graham.The chief executive anticipated that annual volumes will decline fur...