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Pakistan celebrates Independence Day but tensions with India remain high

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan used an address celebrating Independence Day on Wednesday to criticize India for its actions in the disputed Kashmir region that has long been a flashpoint between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. A general view of the Metropolitan building illuminated with national flag, ahead of Pakistan's Independence Day in Lahore, Pakistan August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mohsin RazaIndia revoked the special status of its portion of Himalayan Kashmir, known as Jammu and Kashmir, on Aug. 5 and moved to quell widespread unrest by shutting down communications and clamping down on freedom of movement. Islamabad retaliated by suspending bilateral trade and all public transport…

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China says protesters like ‘terrorists’, airport reopens

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China’s Hong Kong Liaison office said on Wednesday that anti government protesters were no different to “terrorists”, as U.S. President Donald Trump said Chinese troops were moving to the border with Hong Kong and urged calm. Armed police patrol the departure hall of the airport in Hong Kong after previous night's clashes with protesters, China August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas PeterThe Beijing-based Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office on Wednesday said extremely violent crimes must be severely punished in accordance with the law. The strongly worded statements by China’s central government follow violent clashes between black clad protesters and riot police at Hong Kong’s…

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Dead Irish girl’s family expects thorough probe in Malaysia: lawyer

SEREMBAN, Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysian police should accept an offer by French authorities to help investigate the death of an Irish girl whose naked body was found near a jungle stream, the family’s lawyer said on Wednesday. A body believed to be 15-year-old Irish girl Nora Anne Quoirin who went missing is brought out of a helicopter in Seremban, Malaysia, August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey TengAutopsy results are expected later in the day, police said, after the body of Nora Anne Quoirin, 15, was found on Tuesday, 10 days after she went missing from a rainforest resort in Seremban, about 70 km (44 miles) south of Kuala…

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Asian stocks cheer Trump’s delay of some China tariffs

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks joined a global equities surge on Wednesday, after Washington delayed tariffs on some Chinese imports and gave much-needed relief for markets gripped by political and economic turmoil. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past in front of a stock quotation board showing the price of the SoftBank Corp. and Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei KatoIn early European trade, futures for the pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 STXEc1 were up 0.15%, German DAX FDXc1 0.17% and Britain’s FTSE FFIc1 0.25%. The tariff news largely offset a raft of disappointing China data for July, although the safe-haven yen…

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Anbang’s Japan properties up for sale, Blackstone seen bidding: sources

TOKYO (Reuters) - China’s troubled Anbang Insurance Group has put its $2.4 billion property portfolio in Japan up for sale and previous owner Blackstone Group (BX.N) is bidding, two people familiar with the company’s plans said. FILE PHOTO: People enter the office of Anbang Insurance Group in Beijing, China, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas PeterThe insurer is offering its entire portfolio of mainly residential buildings in Tokyo and other big cities after it failed to sell some of the assets last year, the sources said. “The sale process has just started. Anbang is planning to sell the entire portfolio it bought from Blackstone,” said one of the sources…

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China’s economy worsens in July, industrial growth at 17-year low as trade war escalates

BEIJING (Reuters) - China reported a raft of unexpectedly weak July data on Wednesday, including a slump in industrial output to more than 17-year lows, pointing to further slowing in the economy as the U.S. trade war takes a heavier toll on businesses and consumers. FILE PHOTO: Trucks transport containers at a port in Qingdao, Shandong province, China July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer Activity in China has continued to cool despite a flurry of growth measures over the past year, raising questions over whether more forceful stimulus may be needed, even at the risk of racking up more debt. After a flicker of improvement in June, analysts said…

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U.S. senator warns China on Hong Kong trade status if it intervenes in protests

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prominent U.S. senator warned China on Tuesday Hong Kong could lose its special U.S. trade status if Beijing intervenes directly to crack down on increasingly violent pro-democracy protests in the city. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) speaks with reporters ahead of the weekly policy luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File PhotoA leading Republican also said the Trump administration must make clear to Beijing it would face “profound consequences,” including sanctions, if it intervened directly. “I can assure you that if China comes down hard on the protesters that there will be action in Congress…

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Lower fees, snazzy branches: Hong Kong banks gird for online-only onslaught

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s biggest banks are set to cut fees, boost digital services and jazz up branches with features such as touch-screen display panels to meet competition from new online-only lenders in one of the world’s most profitable banking markets. FILE PHOTO: The HSBC headquarters is reflected on the facade of a commercial building in Hong Kong, China January 18, 2009. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File PhotoAs many as eight so-called virtual, or online-only, banks are set to be launched in the Chinese territory this year, posing the biggest challenge in years to a stronghold for lenders including HSBC and Standard Chartered. The expected moves show how…

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China’s Hong Kong office condemns ‘near-terrorist acts’ at Hong Kong airport

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Hong Kong affairs office condemned what it called “near-terrorist acts” at Hong Kong’s airport and reiterated support for local authorities to severely punish those responsible amid an escalating crisis in the Chinese-controlled city. The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, in a statement issued on Wednesday, also strongly condemned attacks against a reporter from China’s Global Times newspaper and a traveler at the airport by what it said were violent protesters. Hong Kong’s airport resumed operations on Wednesday, rescheduling hundreds of flights that had been disrupted over the past two days as protesters clashed with riot police. Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Huizhong…

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Explainer: Countdown to recession – What an inverted yield curve means

The spread between yields on U.S. two-year and 10-year notes, a closely watched metric, is likely to invert for the first time since 2007. That would follow the inversion of another part of the yield curve earlier in the year. Here is what that means. FILE PHOTO: A trader looks on as a screen displays the U.S. Federal Reserve interest rates announcement on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 31, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File PhotoWHAT IS THE TREASURY YIELD CURVE? The yield curve is a plot of the yields on all Treasury maturities - debt sold by the federal government…

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