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Clyde K. Valle

Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

Brazil’s recession has deepened as the country’s economy shrank by 1.7% in Q3 of 2015 compared with the previous quarter.

The country’s GDP dropped 4.5% on an annual basis as investments fell 15%.

Brazil’s unpopular President Dilma Rousseff has been trying to cut spending and raise taxes and this new fall in economic activity will make the latter harder.

Dilma Rousseff’s government is also entangled in a massive corruption scandal.Brazil recession 2015

The drop in economic activity was largely due to a drop in investment, which fell by 15% compared with a year ago.

That has been falling for nine quarters in a row.

Unemployment is at a six-year high and inflation is running at 10%, meaning household spending is being squeezed.

Brazil’s credit rating was cut to junk in September because of mounting political turmoil and the difficulties faced by Dilma Rousseff’s government in tackling growing debt.

The rating means most of the world’s major investors cannot lend to Brazil.

In September, the Brazilian government announced a $7 billion package of spending cuts aimed at plugging the huge black hole in the country’s 2016 budget.

Dilma Rousseff’s public approval rating has hit record lows.

Brazil’s economy has been depressed by the end of the global commodities boom, while a corruption scandal centered on state oil giant Petrobras has damaged investor confidence.


China’s currency, the yuan, will join the IMF’s group of international basket of reserve currencies, the Fund is expected to announce on November 30.

Just the US dollar, the euro, Japan’s yen and the British pound are currently part of this select band.

Earlier this month, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde backed the yuan’s inclusion.

If the decision is made, the yuan is likely to join in 2016, experts said.

China is the world’s second largest economy behind the US and asked for the yuan to become a reserve currency in 2014.

Reserve currencies are used by central banks and other financial organizations to help pay down international debt and steady exchange rates.

Photo WSJ

Photo WSJ

The last change made to the basket was in 2000, when the euro replaced the German mark and the franc.

If Beijing’s wish is granted on November 30, some analysts have suggest that by 2030 the yuan will become one of the top three major international currencies, together with the dollar and the euro.

Concerns about Beijing keeping the yuan artificially low to help exporters is one reason the currency has previously failed to meet the criteria for reserve currencies set out by the International Monetary Fund.

However, Chinese officials have a made a concerted effort to build support for the yuan’s inclusion, and a recent IMF staff report endorsed such a move.

Initially, the yuan’s inclusion would be largely a symbolic gesture, some analysts have said.

They have also said the yuan’s ongoing inclusion in the basket would depend on whether China continues its financial reforms.


Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire at the end of the NBA season.

The five-time NBA champion, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, has scored 32,683 points during a 20-year career with the LA Lakers to rank third on the NBA’s all-time list.

The 37-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist has been hindered by injuries in recent seasons and has been below his best this year for the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant told the Players’ Tribune: “My body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

He has averaged more than 25 points per game in his 1,293 NBA matches.

Kobe Bryant’s final game is set to be at home against Utah on April 13.

The Lakers have won just twice so far this season, with Kobe Bryant averaging 15.7 points per game.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

In a poem entitled Dear Basketball, Kobe Bryant announced “this season is all I have left to give”.

The Philadelphia-born player added: “You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream. And I’ll always love you for it. But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.”

He ended the poem without hinting at what he might do next: “We both know, no matter what I do next, I’ll always be that kid, with the rolled up socks, garbage can in the corner, :05 seconds on the clock, ball in my hands.”

Kobe Bryant was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and selected for the NBA All-Star team on 17 occasions.

Lakers coach Byron Scott said he thought Kobe Bryant would have played on for at least another season.

“It kind of shocked me when he told me,” said Byron Scott.

“I’m sad more than anything. Somebody I care about, have a lot of respect for… it’s always hard when greatness like Kobe decides to hang it up.

“For him to be able to go around to all these cities and them to be able to appreciate him for what he has accomplished is great.”

Lakers president Jeanie Buss added: “We’re all sad. This era of Lakers basketball has been one of the most fun, exciting, prosperous eras we could imagine.

“We’re in full support of him. But it’s still very sad.”


Hamburg residents have voted against hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Hamburg was one of five cities left in the running, alongside Rome, Paris, Budapest and Los Angeles.

However, 51.7% of residents of the city and nearby Kiel, where sailing events would have taken place, voted no in a referendum on November 29.

German Olympics officials had picked Hamburg as their preferred candidate city ahead of Berlin.Hamburg Olympics 2024

Hamburg’s mayor Olaf Scholz said: “That’s a decision that we didn’t want, but it’s clear.”

Germany has not hosted the Games since 1972 in Munich.

Critics of the plan said it was wasteful, at a cost of €11.2 billion ($11.9 billion), only a small fraction of which had been promised by city authorities.

In 2013, Munich residents also voted against the Olympics, turning down the chance to host the 2022 Winter Games.

In July 2015, the city of Boston decided to withdraw from the race to be host for 2024 amid a lack of public support.

The winning city will be selected in September 2017.


Swiss bank HSBC has decided to close its private banking unit in India, where the increasing number of wealthy individuals has led to intense competition for their business.

Clients will be given the choice to move to HSBC’s retail unit.

The future of the wealth management unit’s 70 staff will be decided early next year, when it is due to close.

The move follows the lead of RBS and Morgan Stanley, which have sold their onshore private operations in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Despite the growth in the number of multi-millionaires and a fast-growing wealth management market in India, it has been hard for foreign banks to attract business.

Indian companies can appeal to investors in small as well as large cities. They are not weighed down by high costs and international regulatory restrictions.

In June, HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver announced the bank was going to cut thousands of jobs from its global workforce as part of his restructuring program.

Since taking over his role in 2011, Stuart Gulliver has sold scores of businesses and taken on more compliance staff to deal with the increased regulatory oversight of the industry.

An HSBC spokesperson in India said: “This marks further progress in the HSBC group strategy to simplify business and deliver sustainable growth.”

HSBC employs about 32,000 people in India, where it offers corporate, retail and investment banking services.


Former HSBC employee Herve Falciani has been convicted of economic espionage and sentenced to five years in jail in absentia, a Swiss court has ruled.

Herve Falciani was on trial for leaking bank data that led to tax evasion probes worldwide against prominent clients with accounts in Switzerland.

He did not attend the trial and because France does not extradite its own citizens, it is unlikely he will serve the sentence.

Herve Falciani told AP news agency he had “no reaction” to the sentencing.

Photo Instagram

Photo Instagram

He had refused to travel from France to appear before the Swiss Federal Tribunal in Bellinzona for a trial that began last month.

Herve Falciani was charged with illegally obtaining data, economic espionage, breach of business confidentiality and breach of bank secrecy while working at a Swiss HSBC subsidiary between 2006 and 2008.

The court rejected all the charges except for one alleging a violation of economic intelligence, for having made public information about foreign entities in Lebanon, France, Germany, and the UK.

HSBC, which argued that Herve Falciani had illegally downloaded details from clients and accounts, welcomed the decision against its former employee, who was an IT worker at HSBC Private Bank (Suisse).

“HSBC has always maintained that Falciani systematically stole clients’ information in order to sell it for his own personal financial gain,” the bank said in a statement.

China stock market closed down by more than 5% after several major brokerage companies announced they were under investigation.

The Shanghai Composite index ended the day 5.5% lower at 3,436.3 points – marking its biggest drop since August.

On November 26, it was announced that China’s securities regulator was investigating the country’s largest brokerage, CITIC Securities.

CITIC Securities is being probed over the possible breaking of market rules.

Rival brokerage Guosen Securities is also being investigated, and shares in both CITIC and Guosen fell by 10%, the maximum allowed in one day.

In addition, trading in China Haitong Securities shares was halted and later in the day the company also confirmed it was under investigation.China stock market brokerage investigation

Chen Xingyu, an analyst at Phillip Securities, told the AFP news agency: “The biggest reason for such a sudden drop today is because of regulator’s investigation of the top brokers. It has triggered a broader sell-off.”

Analysts said there was little information on the specific reasons for the probes other than violations of securities regulations.

Reuters reported that the Chinese regulator was urging brokerages to stop financing investors’ stock purchases through swaps in an attempt to curb leveraged trading.

A crackdown on leveraged and margin trading has been underway since the Chinese market’s dramatic plunge over the summer.

Market sentiment was already wavering ahead of a new batch of initial public offerings set to make their debut next week.

More negative economic data on the Chinese economy also did little to boost investors’ confidence, with government figures showing that industrial profits in October fell 4.6% from a year ago.

The fifth consecutive decline in profits earned by Chinese industrial companies added more fuel to concerns over a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s leading brokerage, CITIC Securities, overstated its derivative business by $166 billion from April to September, according to the country’s securities association.

The Securities Association of China said CITIC Securities inaccurately inflated the amount of its equity swap transactions in a report submitted in October.

CITIC said the error occurred due to a system upgrade and has been corrected.

Investigations have resulted in executives confessing to insider trading at CITIC.

In September, shares of China’s largest state-owned brokerage slumped after it reported that three executives, including its president, were under police investigation.CITIC Securities error 2015

CITIC has been part of a crackdown by China’s regulators on irregular stock trading since mainland markets plunged dramatically in mid-June.

The securities association, which is partly overseen by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said it was investigating CITIC’s overstatement and would take further action if necessary.

It did add that the error did not affect the month-end net size of CITIC’s business.

The brokerage told the Reuters news agency that it had amended the figures at the start of November and the size of its swaps business was $6.2 billion.

An equity swap is a type of derivative that refers to a cash exchange between realized gains on specific stocks and fixed interest rates over a certain period of time in the future.

Shares of CITIC Securities fell 0.7% in Shanghai.

Andre Esteves, one of Brazil’s richest businessman, has been arrested as part of the corruption investigation into the state oil giant Petrobras.

Andre Esteves, the chief executive of BTG Pactual, is one of the most senior businesspeople arrested in the corruption case.

He was reportedly arrested at his home. Documents were seized both from there and from the bank’s headquarters in Sao Paulo.

The government’s leader in the Senate, Delcidio Amaral, was also arrested.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

Andre Esteves is Brazil’s 13th richest man, worth an estimated $2.5 billion.

Federal police also searched the senator’s offices in Congress. No reasons or details have been given by the police for either arrest.

According to the Brazilian media, police claimed the politician was detained because he was obstructing the course of an investigation.

Authorization for both arrests was given by Brazil’s Supreme Court.

More than 100 people have now been arrested in the two-year investigation, including politicians and former top executives at Petrobras, and some of Brazil’s biggest construction companies.

On November 24, police arrested businessman and rancher José Carlos Bumlai, a friend of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in an investigation into loans benefiting his companies and President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party.


Toyota has decided to recall another 1.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty airbags.

The automaker has recalled nearly 15 million vehicles fitted with the bags since 2013.

This recall includes 22 models sold in Japan, including the Corolla and Vitz, made between January 2004 and December 2005, as well as vehicles in Italy, the UK and Spain.

The airbags, manufactured by Japan’s Takata, can explode with too much force, sending out shrapnel.

No injuries were reported in Toyota vehicles related to the latest defect, which affects the passenger seat airbag, but a person in a Nissan car was injured recently in Japan.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Toyota, Ford, Honda and Nissan have decided not to use Takata inflators in vehicles under development.

At least eight people have been killed worldwide and hundreds injured in incidents involving the bags.

In the US, where over 19 million vehicles have been recalled because of the problem, it faces penalties of up to $200 million as part of a deal with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recalls have wiped out Takata’s profits.

This month, it reported a half-year loss of 5.6 billion yen ($45.8 million) due to recall costs and cut its profit forecast for the full year by 75%.


Pfizer has sealed a deal to buy Botox-maker Allergan for $160 billion in what is the biggest pharmaceuticals deal in history.

The takeover could allow Pfizer to escape relatively high US corporate tax rates by moving its headquarters to Allergan’s Dublin base.

The merged company will be the world’s biggest drug maker by sales.

Allergan shareholders will receive 11.3 shares in the new company for each of their Allergan shares.

Pfizer shareholders will receive one share for each of their shares in that company.

Pfizer’s shares closed down 2.7% in New York at $31.32, while Allergan fell 3.4% to $301.70.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopeful, said inversion deals like Pfizer’s would “leave US taxpayers holding the bag” and called on Washington to ensure that the biggest companies “pay their fair share”.

Senator Bernie Sanders, another Democratic hopeful, said the deal would be a disaster for consumers and allow another major US company to hide its profits overseas.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump described Pfizer’s departure from the US as “disgusting”, adding: “Our politicians should be ashamed.”

The merged business will be called Pfizer Plc. The companies said they expected the deal to be completed in the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approval in the US and Europe.

Pfizer said it expected the merger to result in savings of $2 billion in the first three years.

The company’s CEO Ian Read will be chief executive and chairman of the merged company, with Allergan boss Brent Saunders becoming president and chief operating officer.

“The proposed combination of Pfizer and Allergan will create a leading global pharmaceutical company with the strength to research, discover and deliver more medicines and more therapies to more people around the world,” said Ian Read.

Critically, the terms of the deal propose that the merged company will maintain Allergan’s Irish domicile. This means the profits of the new company would be subject to corporation tax of 12.5% – much lower than the 35% Pfizer pays in the US.

In 2014, Pfizer made an offer to buy AstraZeneca in a move that analysts said was designed to reduce Pfizer’s tax bill. The UK pharmaceutical giant rejected the bid, arguing it undervalued the company.

The deal is the latest in a series of mergers and acquisitions in the sector, as pharmaceuticals companies struggle to cope with patents on a number of major drugs expiring.


Markit’s latest survey shows how Paris attacks have impacted France’s service sector.

The company said a rapid fall-off in trade was behind its index falling from 52.7 in October to 51.3 in November.

“We think the key reason for the slowing in services growth is due to the attacks,” Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist said.

Markit said 60% of survey responses from services sector companies were received after the 13 November attacks.

The services index remains above 50, meaning that it is continuing to grow, but at a slower pace.

The “flash” manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) rose to a 19-month high, and Chris Williamson said the rest of the survey data suggested “a more encouraging picture of France continuing to lift itself out of its gloom”.Paris attacks impact on French economy

The survey comes after the boss of the industrial conglomerate Siemens warned that the Paris terrorist attacks and political instability in Europe were making companies more reluctant to invest.

Joe Kaeser told the Financial Times: “The biggest economic damage from these attacks is on confidence and confidence is a crucial element in this phase. It is indispensable to help countries exit the crisis.”

Yet overall, European businesses reported the fastest rates of growth in business activity and employment for four and a half years in November, according to Markit.

Its “flash” PMI for the eurozone rose to 54.4 from 53.9 in November – the survey’s fastest rate of expansion since May 2011.

Germany, which saw growth in manufacturing and services accelerate to a three-month high, helped drive the overall index higher.

Chris Williamson said the data put the 19-nation euro area on track for growth of 0.4 to 0.5% in the final quarter of the year.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi recently indicated he was disappointed with the current rate of growth and suggested policymakers could take fresh action to boost the economy.

The ECB has an inflation target of 2%, but prices in the eurozone have stayed low, with CPI at 0.1% in October.


Chipotle shares have slumped more than 12% on November 20 after the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) reported more cases of E. coli linked to the Mexican restaurant chain.

According to the CDC, 45 people had been infected with a strain of E. coli, 43 of whom reported eating at a Chipotle restaurant.

The cases were in California, Minnesota, New York and Ohio.

Earlier this month, Chipotle temporarily closed 43 outlets in and around Washington and Oregon states.

This was after health officials investigated an E. coli outbreak that made at least 22 people ill.

Photo The Columbian

Photo The Columbian

“The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak,” the CDC said.

“The investigation is still ongoing to determine what specific food is linked to illness.”

Chipotle shares are now down by almost 19% this year, valuing the company at $17.3 billion.

  1. coli, short for Escherichia coli, is a type of bacterium present in the gut of humans and other animals.

Most strains are harmless but some can produce toxins that cause sickness in humans.

According to Mayo Clinic, E. coli infection typically begins three or four days after exposure to the bacteria, though you may become ill as soon as one day after to more than a week later. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody
  • Abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting, in some people

Contact your doctor if your diarrhea is persistent, severe or bloody.


Nike stocks have jumped more than 5% after the company announced a dividend rise, a massive share buyback and a stock split.

The $12 billion buy-back, 14% dividend increase and share split were revealed on November 19 and sent the sportswear giant’s shares up almost 7 cents to $132.65.

Photo Twitter

Photo Twitter

The buy-back will be spread out over the next four years.

Nike said it was “built for growth while staying committed to creating shareholder value.

“We’ve proved it time and again, having returned over $23 billion to shareholders over the last 14 years through repurchases and dividends.”

US-based Nike is the biggest sportswear maker in the world, and recently announced a sharp rise in profits thanks largely to rising sales in China.

Profits for the three months to the end of August were $1.18 billion, up nearly a quarter from a year earlier.


Sharp is trying to persuade its employees to buy its products in a bid to help sales.

The troubled Japanese electronics giant said it was not mandatory for staff to buy its goods, but confirmed that it wanted employees to choose its products over that of its competitors.

Japanese media had reported that Sharp had set targets for executives, managers and other staff to buy its products.

Sharp has been bailed out twice in the past three years by its lenders.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

The company has been under pressure from its banks to sell its loss-making LCD business, and announced last month that it was in talks with several companies to make such a deal.

Sharp also announced that its operating profit fell by 86% in Q3 from a year ago, while the LCD unit saw a loss of 12.7 billion yen ($102 million).

The dismal earnings come after Sharp reported losses in the year to March and announced more job cuts.

According to the company’s spokesman, employee participation in the event was completely voluntary, and Sharp had not decided what products would be on sale.

Sharp, well known for its TV and solar panels, pulled out of the television market in North America and has been facing stiff competition from cheaper Chinese and Taiwanese rivals.


VW sales and market share in the EU dipped in October 2015, suggesting that the emissions scandal might have had an impact.

Volkswagen Group’s total EU sales were 0.5% down from October 2014, while market share slipped to 24.9% from 25.37%.

The data from the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) also showed a slowdown in EU growth as a whole.

Just more than 1.1 million cars were sold in the EU last month, up 2.9% on last year but 9.8% down on September.VW EU sales fall

Analysts suggested that buyers may been put off purchases while they await the outcome of investigations into the VW scandal, in which it was discovered that Europe’s largest automaker was falsifying emissions tests.

VW’s mass market brands suffered falls in sales last month, with Seat sales down 11.4%, Skoda’s down 2.6%, and the carmaker’s own-brand vehicles down 0.2%.

However, premium brands Audi and Porsche recorded healthy growth in the EU, with sales last month rising 4.1% and 13.9% respectively.

For the first 10 months of the year, EU new registrations were up by 8.2% to 11.523 million vehicles.


FIFA has rejected president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini’s appeals against their 90-day suspensions.

Sepp Blatter and Michele Platini were suspended in October while the world soccer governing body’s ethics committee investigates corruption claims against them.

Sepp Blatter, 79, is accused of signing a contract “unfavorable” to FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to Michel Platini.

Both deny wrongdoing and could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was also suspended in October but there was no mention of him in today’s FIFA statement.Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter FIFA suspension

The adjudicatory panel of FIFA’s ethics committee is due to hold hearings into the misconduct charges before Christmas.

Former France captain and current UEFA chief Michel Platini – who wants to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president – has said the 2millio euros payment was “valid compensation” from his time working under the Swiss more than nine years earlier.

They insist there was an oral agreement for the payment in 1998, although it was not made until 2011.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were suspended after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998.

The ethics committee also opened an inquiry into Michel Platini over the payment.

Michel Platini’s suspension means his bid to succeed Sepp Blatter has had to be put on hold. He is one of seven candidates for the presidential election on February 26 but no integrity check will be carried out until his case is resolved.

Sepp Blatter was discharged from hospital last week after what was described as a “small emotional breakdown”.

Earlier this year, US authorities indicted 14 FIFA officials and associates on bribery and racketeering charges. A simultaneous Swiss investigation was started into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 0.2% in October 2015, after two months of declines.

The figures, along with the strong employment numbers in October, increase speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.

Prices were pushed up by the rising cost of electricity and a resurgence in petrol prices.

A survey of US fund managers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that four-fifths of the managers surveyed expected a rate rise next month.US CPI October 2015

The so-called core CPI, which strips out food and energy, also rose 0.2% after a similar increase in September.

Medical costs accounted for much of the increase. Medical care prices rose 0.7%, the largest increase since April, and hospital costs increased by 2%.

Although food prices rose only 0.1%, the smallest gain since May, they edged up 0.4% in September and four out of six of the indexes compiled by the big grocery store food groups showed the largest increase since August 2011.

The biggest price falls were in clothing, shoes and new cars.

Over the entire 12 months through to October, the core CPI increased by 1.9%.

McDonald’s China has sparked controversy after the opening of a outlet in the home of former Taiwanese leader Chiang Ching-kuo in Hangzhou.

Conservationists had called for the villa, a cultural heritage site, to be converted into a museum.

However, officials said the decision to lease the site to McDonald’s was made because they needed to cover maintenance costs.

Chiang Ching-kuo’s grandson and others have voiced their concern over the commercialization of the site.

McDonald’s opened the 100-seat McCafe in the lower storey of the villa, situated by Hangzhou’s West Lake tourist attraction, over the weekend.

The upper storey, also leased out by officials, houses a Starbucks outlet which opened a month earlier.

Chiang Ching-Kuo is the son of revolutionary figure and Taiwanese leader Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to the island in 1949 after the Chinese Civil War.

He later become the leader of Taiwan in 1978.

Chiang Ching-kuo and his family stayed in the villa from October to November, 1948, and it was designated a cultural heritage site by Hangzhou officials in 2003.McDonald’s China Opens Outlet in ex-Taiwan President's Residence

The move has been criticized by Chiang Ching-kuo’s grandson, Taiwanese businessman Demos Chiang, on microblogging platform Weibo.

“I don’t understand, opening a McDonald’s in the villa… how exactly does that adhere to regulations on correct usage of cultural heritage sites?” he said in a post.

In 2000, Beijing saw a similar controversy when a Starbucks outlet opened in the Forbidden City.

It shut in 2007 after officials decided to merge and cut down the number of shops in the palace, following multiple protests over the years about the commercialization of the site.

According to Beijing Youth Daily, the decision to commercially lease out the villa was met with strong resistance, with more than 90% attendees at a public consultation in January voting against it.

Conservationists suggested that the villa be turned into a historical museum promoting China-Taiwan ties.

One of them, Zhejiang University academic Zhou Fuduo, noted that the villa was a symbol of China and Taiwan’s shared history.

“We said that the villa’s sociocultural value outstrips its commercial value, but in the end our proposal was ignored,” he told the paper.

However, officials pointed out that the local government needed money to recoup the cost of maintaining the building throughout the years.

A spokesman for the Zhejiang local government, which oversees Hangzhou city, told the newspaper: “Chiang Ching-kuo stayed in this home too briefly and what is left is just the main structure, the interiors look nothing like they used to when the Chiang family was here… there is not much point in turning it into a museum.”

Japan’s economy has shrunk 0.8% on an annualized basis in Q3 of 2015 and fell back into recession.

The preliminary data means the world’s third-largest economy has contracted for a second consecutive quarter, marking a technical recession.

Japan’s economic growth was expected to decline after it fell a revised 0.7% in Q2 on weak domestic demand.

The country has been in recession four times since the global financial crisis.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

On a quarterly basis, growth fell 0.2% in the third quarter from the previous one, weaker than forecasts of a 0.1% decline.

The seasonally adjusted figure was also much lower than expectations of a 0.2% drop.

According to economists, the weak data will put more pressure on the government and central bank to continue to stimulate the economy.

Japanese companies continue to be wary of using their record profits to raise wages and invest in the economy – a major challenge for Prime Minister’s Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” policies.

Business spending fell 1.3%, against forecasts of a 0.4% decrease. It also marked the second quarter in a row of declines.

However, private consumption, which accounts for 60% of the economy rose 0.5% from the previous quarter.

Consumer spending has picked up from the hit it took last year from an increase in sales tax in April, which contributed to the recession in 2014.

Despite the declining growth, the government is positive that a recovery is underway.

In reaction to the growth figures, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 1.1% to 19,372.98 points in early trade in Tokyo.


Oscar Pistorius has begun serving community service, a month after he was released from jail.

The South African Paralympian athlete was granted parole after serving one year of his five-year sentence for killing his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

Oscar Pistorius, 28, must perform community service under the terms of his release.

In his first public appearance since then, the athlete reported to a police station in Pretoria on November 15 wearing sunglasses and carrying a backpack.Oscar Pistorius community service

He is serving the rest of his sentence under house arrest at his uncle’s home in Pretoria.

Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, over the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

He told his trial last year that he had shot her through a bathroom door because he had mistaken her for an intruder.

The prosecution is appealing against the verdict, saying Oscar Pistorius should have been convicted of murder.

Oscar Pistorius house arrest conditions:

  • No access to firearms
  • No taking of drugs or alcohol, and can be randomly tested by officials
  • He must continue with psychotherapy sessions
  • No going out at night
  • He can work and will not be electronically tagged
  • His lawyers say track and field training is part of work, but this is still unclear


Springleaf, the second largest provider of personal installment loans in the US, is to buy its biggest competitor OneMain.

Sprinleaf has been given permission to buy OneMain from parent company Citigroup, provided it sells 127 of its own branches.

The new company would be left with more than 1,800 branches nationwide.Springleaf buys OneMain

Both comapnies provide personal loans of under $6,000, which have a set number of scheduled payments lasting between a few months and a few years.

Springleaf announced its plan to buy OneMain for $4.25 billion in March.

The deal hit a snag when US authorities claimed the tie-up could make it harder for people with poor personal financial ratings living in 11 states to access lines of credit.

The agreement reached on November 13 with the Department of Justice and state regulators ends an anti-trust lawsuit.

Springleaf shares rose 11.95% on the news.

Eurozone’s economic growth slowed to 0.3% in Q3 of 2015, latest figures have shown.

The rate was lower than expected, and compared with a pace of 0.4% recorded in the previous quarter.

The pace of expansion in Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, slowed, but France returned to growth.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is widely expected in December to expand its stimulus program, which aims to lift inflation and support growth.

Germany’s economy grew by 0.3% in Q3, down from 0.4% in the previous quarter.

The economy had shown “continued moderate growth”, helped by increased domestic consumption, Germany’s Federal Statistics Office said.

However, foreign trade “had a downward effect on growth, because the increase in imports was markedly larger than that of exports”, it added.Eurozone economic growth Q3 2015

The French economy also grew by 0.3% in the same period, but this marked a pick-up from zero growth previously.

The French statistics agency INSEE said a rise in imports had also weighed on the country’s growth rate.

France’s economy saw an increase in household spending, and that production of goods and services picked up, the INSEE added.

“The [GDP] figure… confirms that we have left in 2015 the period of very weak growth that France had experienced since 2011,” said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

Among the other major eurozone economies, the growth rate in Italy slowed to 0.2%, which was worse than expected, while the Spanish economy grew by 0.8%.

Portugal’s economy recorded zero growth despite having expanded by 0.5% in the second quarter. Greece’s economy contracted by 0.5%, while Finland’s shrank by 0.6%.

The Eurostat figures showed the eurozone’s economy grew by 1.6% in Q3 compared with a year earlier.

Expectations are growing that the ECB will expand its monetary stimulus program at its meeting next month.

In October, the ECB said it would “re-examine” the policy, and on November 12, ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to extend its policy if needed.

In January 2015, the ECB started a quantitative easing (QE) stimulus program worth at least €1.1 trillion in an attempt to avoid deflation and boost growth in the eurozone.

The bank has committed to buy €60 billion of bonds a month until September 2016.

The most recent figures showed inflation in the eurozone returned to zero in October from September’s -0.1%.

October retail sales rose less than expected as car sales fell in the US, stoking fears that consumer spending could hit economic growth in Q4.

According to the Commerce Department, retail sales rose 0.1% in October, after no change in September, and by 1.7% compared with October 2014.

Economists had forecast a rise of 0.3% for October.

There was a surprise 0.5% fall in sales at car dealerships, after a 1.4% increase in September.US retail sales October 2015

Robust car sales have underpinned overall growth in retail sales for the past two years.

The amount US shoppers spent online continued to rise, with online sales 7.1% higher than in October 2014.

However, sales during the run-up to Christmas will prove to be the real test of consumer confidence.

Fears about the level of consumer spending prompted department store chain Macy’s to cut its profit outlook for 2015 by 10% on November 11.

The revision sent Macy’s shares tumbling almost 20% this week.

Rival department store operator Nordstrom also cut its full-year forecast on November 12, resulting in a similar slide in its shares.


The Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has provisionally suspended the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) as an IAAF Member for its alleged involvement in widespread doping.

The decision was taken at the 201st IAAF Council Meeting which was held by teleconference and chaired from London by IAAF President Sebastian Coe on November 13.

Russia has been also suspended from international competition, including the Olympic Games.

The IAAF took action after the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that alleged “state-sponsored doping”.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

Its council members voted 22-1 in favor of Russia being banned.

“This is a wake-up call for all of us,” said IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the suspension was “temporary” and the “problem is solvable”.

A total of 24 Members of Council took part in the meeting: 22 voted in favor of the sanction against ARAF, who have been officially informed of the Council’s decision, 1 voted against. The Council Member from Russia was not eligible to participate in the vote.