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Asian shares trading mixed as optimism wears off on US rally
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are mixed, as initial euphoria about the gains that closed out last week on Wall Street quickly fade. Worries about the coronavirus pandemic remain strong in the region, in contrast to the U.S. and parts of Europe where life is returning to something resembling normalcy, although the vaccine rollout is gradually picking up steam in Asia.
China reported its exports rose 28% in May while imports jumped 51%, though the pace of increase is slowing after huge gains early in the year.
Stocks ended higher Friday on Wall Street after a lukewarm jobs report raised hopes the Fed will keep supporting the economy.
China trade surges as demand in US, other markets rebounds
BEIJING (AP) — China says its exports surged nearly 28% in May while imports jumped 51% as demand recovered in the U.S. and other markets where the pandemic is waning.
Customs data released today shows total exports climbed 40% in the first five months of the year from a year earlier and were up 29% from the same period in 2019. But growth is leveling off after a stunning recovery from last year’s slump.
The $263.9 billion in exports in May was about level with the previous month. The $218.4 billion in imports were 1.2% lower than in April. China’s trade surplus in May was $45.53 billion, down 26.5% from a year earlier.
China hosts Southeast Asian ministers as it competes with US
BEIJING (AP) — China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region.
Chinese state media say the meeting Tuesday in the city of Chongqing will cover issues from restoring economic exchanges badly damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic to the feasibility of creating a vaccine passport to allow freer travel among them.
Beijing has been building influence with the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, despite frictions with some over rival territorial claims in South China Sea.
The U.S. expressed concerns over China’s growing presence, with a visiting official last week urging Cambodia’s leadership to maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy.
Thais debut locally made AstraZeneca but supplies are tight
(BA)NGKOK (AP) — Health authorities in Thailand have begun their much-anticipated mass rollout of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, but it appears that supplies are falling short of demand from patients who had scheduled vaccinations for this week.
Hospitals in various parts of the country have been posting notices for several days that some scheduled appointments would be delayed, raising questions about whether there are sufficient supplies.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha vowed that the vaccines would be delivered as planned. His government has come under fierce criticism for failure to secure timely and sufficient vaccine supplies, especially after a devastating third wave of the coronavirus hit the country in April.
ENBRIDGE-ENERGY LINE 3
Pipeline foes gear up for large northern Minnesota protests
SOLWAY, Minn. (AP) — Environmental and tribal groups opposed to Enbridge Energy’s ongoing effort to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline are planning large protests in northern Minnesota as the Canadian-based company gears up for a final construction push.
Organizers say they expect hundreds of people to participate in today’s “Treaty People Gathering.” They are billing the event as the largest resistance yet to the project.
They are planning to march to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, one of the water crossings for the pipeline. Opponents of the project say they will do whatever it takes to block completion, including risk being arrested.
Toyota reaches settlement over bullied engineer’s suicide
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automaker Toyota has reached a settlement with the family of an engineer whose suicide was ruled a job-related death due to harassment from his boss. Toyota Motor Corp. said it will improve workers’ heath care and make other changes to prevent future harassment.
The engineer was repeatedly ridiculed by his boss, prevented from taking days off and told to die. The attorney for the victim’s family has said Toyota was responsible for mismanagement in allowing the harassment to continue.
The compensation amount was not disclosed.
The case has drawn attention as highlighting a common problem in workaholic Japan. Complaints about various workplace abuses have more than tripled in 15 years.
Toyota says that they will prevent future harassment by improving workers’ health care, better evaluate management, educate workers and encourage a workplace culture where employees can speak up.
El Salvador president wants Bitcoin as legal tender
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador President Nayib Bukele says that he will send proposed legislation to the country’s congress that would make the cryptocurrency legal tender in the Central American nation. His announcement in a recorded message was played at a Bitcoin conference in Miami.
The U.S. dollar is El Salvador’s official currency. About one quarter of its citizens live in the U.S.
WATER TASTING CONTEST
California entry wins US tap water prize at tasting contest
BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — A southern California water district has won the top prize for U.S. tap water at an international tasting contest.
California entries took the top two places for Best Municipal Water on Saturday at the 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California finished first and Santa Ana, California, took second. Third place went to the Southwest Water Authority of Dickinson, North Dakota.
Judges based their rankings on taste, odor, mouth feel and aftertaste. Nine judges chose from among entries in 19 states, three Canadian provinces and 14 other countries. Rossarden, a town in Australia’s Tasmania state, was selected as the best municipal water in the world.
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