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U.S.-China trade war takes toll on global manufacturing

LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Factory activity weakened across much of Europe and Asia in December as the U.S.-led trade war and a slowdown in demand hit production in many economies, offering little reason for optimism as the new year begins. FILE PHOTO: Employees work on a drilling machine production line at a factory in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer A series of purchasing managers’ indexes for December released on Wednesday mostly showed declines or slowdowns in manufacturing activity across the globe. “We are really seeing a global slowdown into this year, and in Asia, particularly, export-oriented countries are hurting,” said Irene Cheung, Asia strategist…

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Official from India’s ruling BJP calls for protests as women enter Hindu temple

KOCHI, India (Reuters) - A local official from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party called for protests after two women entered a Hindu temple in the southern state of Kerala on Wednesday, defying a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age entering the shrine. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP)’s Kerala state president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai called it “a conspiracy by the atheist rulers to destroy the Hindu temples,” and said his party will “support the struggles against the destruction of faith by the Communists.”  “Let all the devotees come forward and protest this,” Pillai told local television news channels.  Two women, reported by Reuters partner ANI…

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Taiwan president defiant after China calls for reunification

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives to cast her vote for the local elections in New Taipei City, Taiwan, November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Ann WangTAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday the island would not accept a “one country, two systems” political arrangement with China, while stressing all cross-strait negotiations needed to be on a government-to-government basis. Tsai spoke after Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech earlier on Wednesday that nobody can change the fact that Taiwan is part of China, and that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should seek “reunification”. Tsai also urged China to understand Taiwanese people’s…

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China slowdown, trade disputes weigh on Asia factory activity

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Factory activity weakened across Asia in December as the Sino-U.S. trade war and a slowdown in Chinese demand hit production in most economies, strengthening the case for a pause in interest rate hikes in the region in 2019. FILE PHOTO: Employees work on a drilling machine production line at a factory in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer A series of purchasing managers’ indexes for December released on Wednesday mostly showed declines or slowdowns in manufacturing factory activity across the region. In China, the Caixin/Markit PMI slipped into contraction territory for the first time in 19 months, broadly tracking an official…

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Death toll from Philippine landslides, floods climbs to 85

Rescue workers carry a body bag containing remains of victims following a landslide at Cisolok district in Sukabumi, West Java province, Indonesia, January 1, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken January 1, 2019. Antara Foto/Nurul Ramadhan/ via REUTERS MANILA (Reuters) - The death toll from landslides and devastating floods in the central Philippines triggered by a tropical depression climbed to 85, officials said on Wednesday, and 20 people were missing as rescuers slowly reached cut-off communities. The casualties, including young children, were mostly killed when their homes collapsed in landslides after days of heavy rain in several provinces in the central Philippines, said…

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Congress to reconvene with no end in sight for federal shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress was set to reconvene on Wednesday with no signs of a workable plan to end a 12-day-old partial shutdown of about a quarter of the U.S. government, and President Donald Trump not budging on his demand for $5 billion in border wall funding. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Capitol is seen on the first day of a partial federal government shutdown in Washington, U.S., December 22, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File PhotoBoth the Senate and House of Representatives, returning from a short New Year’s Day break, will meet briefly, marking the last day of the Republican-controlled 2017-2018 Congress, one that was marked by deep partisan division. Separately,…

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Cuba’s Castro blasts United States on 60th anniversary of revolution

HAVANA (Reuters) - On the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s revolution, ruling Communist Party leader Raul Castro blasted the Trump administration for returning to an outdated path of confrontation with the island nation and of intervening in Latin America. FILE PHOTO: Cuba's President Raul Castro delivers a speech during the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, December 21, 2017. Irene Perez/Courtesy of Cubadebate/Handout via Reuters. Castro and his late, elder brother Fidel Castro led the rebel band that in 1959 overthrew a U.S.-backed dictator and installed a Communist-run country on the doorstep of the United States, setting the scene for decades of Cold War hostility. At the time, their…

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Netflix pulls comedy show episode in Saudi Arabia: media

(Reuters) - Netfilx pulled an episode of the comedy show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” from its Internet streaming service in Saudi Arabia after kingdom officials complained, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday. Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala - Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between - Arrivals - New York City, U.S. - 01/05/17 - Comedian Hasan Minhaj. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonThe episode of the news-comedy program in question criticized the country over the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi last year at the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey. Kashoggi had been an outspoken critic of the kingdom and of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the…

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China’s Xi threatens Taiwan with force but also seeks peaceful ‘reunification’

BEIJING (Reuters) - China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but will strive to achieve peaceful “reunification” with the self-ruled island that has a bright future under Chinese rule, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday. A banner is reflected on a polished surface as Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/PoolTaiwan is China’s most sensitive issue and is claimed by Beijing as its sacred territory. Xi has stepped up pressure on the…

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Hyundai flags tough 2019 as U.S., China demand stays slow

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group flagged another year of tepid car sales growth on the back of a slow 2018, saying trade protectionism added uncertainty and major markets such as the United States and China remained sluggish. Chief Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group Chung Eui-sun delivers his speech during the company's new year ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-JiIn his first New Year address to employees, group heir apparent Euisun Chung said Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) would together launch 13 new or face-lifted models in 2019. He also promised to complete a restructuring of…

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