Audio Posts In English

INTERNATIONAL EDITION: White House Continues Push for More Ukraine Aid

The White House is still determined to support Kyiv. The U.N. approves multinational force in Haiti; Kenya says it’s ready. We get a look at the situation as nearly all ethnic Armenians flee Nagorno-Karabakh, and a look at the turmoil in the U.S. House of Representatives: Is the Speaker’s job safe?

Audio Posts In English

World Bank Sees China’s Growth Sputtering to Slowest Rate Since 1960s

Hours after the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 74th birthday October 1 with fireworks and flowers, the World Bank cut its forecast for the country’s growth next year. 

The World Bank said in its semiannual regional forecast released Sunday that it now expected China’s economic output will grow 4.4% in 2024, down from the 4.8% it expected in April. The bank cited the persistent weakness of its property sector for the changed outlook. 

The bank also warned that east Asia’s developing economies, including China, are set to expand at one of the lowest rates “since the late 1960s,” excluding extraordinary events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s and the global oil shock in the 1970s.

The bank cut its 2024 forecast for GDP growth for developing economies in east Asia and the Pacific, which includes China, to 4.5%, down from the 5% rate expected this year, it said.

For 2024, the bank lowered its regional outlook to 4.5% growth from 4.8%, citing external factors including a sluggish global economy, high interest rates and trade protectionism. (( )) 

Manuela Ferro, vice president of East Asia and Pacific at the World Bank, was quoted by Investopedia as saying the region is one of the “fastest-growing and most dynamic in the world, even if growth is moderating.” She said sustaining high growth over the medium term will require reforms to “maintain industrial competitiveness, diversify trading partners, and unleash the productivity-enhancing and job-creating potential of the services sector.”

Prior to China’s National Day on Oct. 1, President Xi Jinping gave a speech acknowledging that China’s path ahead would not be smooth sailing. 

“Our future is bright, but the road ahead will not be smooth,” Xi told his roughly 800 guests, some of whom were foreign diplomats, at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing. At the reception on September 28, Xi told his guests that China must continue to climb over “obstacles,” and the nation’s “strength comes from unity, and confidence is more valuable than gold.”

Tseng Chien-yuan, chairman of the New School for Democracy, a Taiwanese organization that supports human rights activists, told VOA Mandarin that Xi’s speech shows China faces challenges that include the sluggish domestic economy that continues to recover from Beijing’s strict “zero-COVID” policy as it faces the global economic uncertainties triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tseng said, “Xi Jinping’s remarks make people feel that [he] is a little confused about the future, [but] he is also becoming more and more aware that the international situation China is facing is caused by his excessive political moves which led him into a dilemma.” 

Pressure from the property sector also appears to be weighing on China’s economy. On the day of Xi’s speech, the Chinese real estate giant Evergrande Group issued an announcement confirming that Hui Ka Yan, chairman of the company’s board of directors, had been arrested for suspicion of committing unspecified crimes. Stock prices of many of Evergrande’s subsidiaries fell in response.  

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 29 that due to the intervention of Chinese regulatory agencies, Evergrande may be split up or liquidated, which may upend China’s economy since the real estate industry accounts for as much as a quarter of China’s economy. 

The market consensus is that China’s economic growth rate this year will not reach the annual target of 5%, slightly higher than that of the World Bank.

According to statistics from Taiwan’s Central News Agency issued on September 13, at least 76 international financial experts and six multinational investment institutions shared the same view: China’s economic growth rate this year and next year will be lower than expected.

Although Japanese investment bank Nomura Holdings slightly raised its forecast for China’s GDP growth this year from 4.6% to 4.8% on September 28, the growth forecast for 2024 still remains at a low-end 3.9%. Nomura believes that the property market continues to deteriorate, and exports are weak. Other factors contributing to slowing growth include wavering confidence in private enterprises.

Ming Xia, a political science professor at the City University of New York, told VOA Mandarin the combined effects of economic weakness, the depreciation of China’s currency and plummeting real estate prices will leave Chinese consumers feeling battered.

He compared Xi with China’s former leader Deng Xiaoping, who promoted economic reform and opened up China to save the economy in the 1970s after the Cultural Revolution. Xi, according to Xia, seems unaware of the seriousness of the problems China faces and has yet to implement rescue measures. This makes it hard to boost the confidence of private enterprises or foreign investors in China in the short term, he added. 

Xia also said Xi lacks understanding of the global economy and wants to return to the old way of the state controlling the economy. 

Adrianna Zhang contributed to this story. Some information in this report came from Reuters. 

Audio Posts In English

Philadelphia business owner suffers $18K in damages from looting

(NewsNation) — A local restaurant owner in West Philadelphia is focused on rebuilding after he suffered $18,000 in damages during a string of looting in the city last week.

Brendan Hartranft’s establishment, Clarkville, was hit twice in two days, leaving 12 shattered windows and several spray-painted doors.

“I understand that it’s kind of a cash grab or protest for everybody, but that’s not something a small business can sustain,” Hartranft said Monday on “Elizabeth Vargas Reports.” “You’re talking about more than a week’s payroll, you’re talking about close to two months rent — I could factor in a bunch of different things this money could be going toward, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.”

Philadelphia police are making a major push to arrest the looters who ransacked multiple stores, releasing surveillance footage and asking the public’s help to identify suspects.

So far, 72 arrests have been made, and all but five of them are adults, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. The chaos began last Tuesday around 7:30 p.m. after several 911 calls said a group of as many as 100 people were moving through Philadelphia’s Center City.

Hartranft discovered damage to his restaurant Wednesday morning after the first night of looting and then again on Friday morning. It happened while his business was closed.

“I would have much more respect if they did it in broad daylight as opposed to the cover of night. At least it would show some conviction,” he said.

The flash mob-style ransacking Tuesday night came after a peaceful protest over a judge’s decision to dismiss murder and other charges against a Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed a driver, Eddie Irizarry, through a rolled-up window.

Those doing the ransacking were not affiliated with the protest, Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford said at a news conference last week, calling the group “a bunch of criminal opportunists.”

“People are using my restaurant almost as like a palette to voice their frustration, and I have the same exact frustration. So, not only is it frustrating, but it’s also pretty ironic,” Hartranft said of the vandalism.

Jabari Jones, president of the Corridor Collaborative and a candidate for City Council, says many businesses haven’t yet fully recovered from a spate of looting in 2020 during social justice protests, and this week’s damage “opened up a lot of fresh wounds” in West Philadelphia.

The difference this time, he said, is there appears to be a much more robust police response.

“They acted very quickly; they made sure that there was a police presence at all of our major shopping plazas and along many of the commercial corridors that got hit during the previous day,” Jones said. “It’s been very reassuring to the businesses in our district when they hear that the police is very rigorously going after the individuals that were involved.”

NewsNation digital producer Urja Sinha and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.

Audio Posts In English

Malaysia prepares to make rain, close schools as haze worsens


Malaysia will try to make rain by seeding clouds and prepare to shut schools as the quality of air in various places deteriorates, the Department of Environment said, raising fears of a new round of pollution from forest fires.

Almost every dry season, smoke from fires to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, bringing risks to public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

Malaysia’s air quality was deteriorating, particularly in the western part of Peninsular Malaysia, with 11 areas recording unhealthy air pollution index (API) readings, the department’s director general, Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar, said in a statement late on Monday.

Malaysia said last week fires in neighbouring Indonesia were causing the pollution although Indonesia has denied detecting any smoke drifting over its borders into Malaysia.

The Malaysian department said earlier on Monday a regional meteorological agency had detected nearly 250 “hotspots”, indicating fires, on Indonesia’s Sumatra island and in its part of Borneo island, with none in Malaysia.

Efforts to clear the air with rain by seeding clouds and other measures to cope with the pollution would come into effect when API readings reached 150 for more than 24 hours, Wan Abdul Latiff.

Schools and kindergartens must stop all outdoor activities when API readings reach 100, and close when they reach 200, he said.

The environmental group Greenpeace, meanwhile, called on countries in the region to introduce legislation to stop plantation companies causing air pollution.

“Enacting a domestic transboundary haze act is necessary to act as a deterrent, especially as there are bad apples in the industry,” Heng Kiah Chun, regional campaign strategist for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said in a statement.

Singapore, which prides itself on its clean air, passed a cross-border air pollution law in 2014 that makes those who cause haze both criminally and civilly liable.

Audio Posts In English

Rio’s latest rock shelter damage highlights need for Aboriginal Voice, advocates say


Damage caused to an Aboriginal rock shelter by mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) in August underscores the need for better heritage protection laws and a greater say for Indigenous groups promised in this month’s Voice referendum, advocates say.

Rio admitted on Sept. 21 to damaging a rock shelter on Aug. 6 in Western Australia’s Pilbara region while blasting at a nearby iron ore mine. Rio is now working with the Muntulgura Guruma people to assess what had happened, it said.

Rio’s destruction of rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in 2020 prompted a global outcry, the departure of top executives and a parliamentary enquiry that recommended an overhaul of Australia’s Aboriginal heritage protection laws.

“Regrettably, it seems as though Rio’s blast management plan has failed on this occasion leaving the Muntulgura Guruma People to pick up the pieces,” said Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC), which represents the Muntulgura, in a statement. “Any impact is of course unwelcome.”

The blast on Aug. 6 led to the fall of a Pilbara scrub tree and one square metre of rock from the overhang of a rock shelter estimated to have been inhabited for 40,000-50,000 years.

Rio Tinto, which did not make a public statement for seven weeks, said it was sorry for the incident, and that it had taken steps to inform appropriate parties.

“As soon as we identified it, we informed traditional owners, we informed the regulator, we informed our employees at that mine site around what happened and that was for us the appropriate steps to take,” Rio’s iron ore boss Simon Trott told public broadcaster the ABC last week.

Lawmaker Warren Entsch, who led the parliamentary enquiry into Juukan Gorge, said Rio shouldn’t have caused the damage in the first place, and should have been more transparent in disclosure.

“Clearly no lessons have been learnt,” he told Reuters.

Rio said it has reformed its business since Juukan including changing its blast procedures to better protect heritage sites, revising internal governance including around policies, procedures and practices, and improving its transparency.

Reaction to the incident has been more muted compared to the outrage over the Juukan Gorge rock shelters so far.

Rio’s initial assessment indicating no structural damage or impacts to cultural materials, which it had assessed via drone footage, had broker Morgan Stanley “somewhat relieved,” it said in a note to clients.

Looming over the incident is Australia’s upcoming Indigenous Voice referendum set for Oct. 14 that would create a panel to advise parliament on issues affecting the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islands communities.

James Fitzgerald, legal counsel at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said investors should be aware that industry self-regulation does not effectively manage the destructive impacts of mining.

“It’s hard to think of a more compelling practical example of the need for an Indigenous Voice in the mining policy debate,” he said. “As long as Indigenous people are not represented at tables where laws and policies affecting them are made, we will witness more unjust and unnecessary outcomes.”

Rio and other major companies have spoken out in support of the Yes vote. But as the vote draws closer, the issue is becoming more contentious and support has dipped.

Some Indigenous supporters say fear that criticism of the latest incident may further erode backing for the referendum is contributing to the muted reaction.

“In speaking to traditional owners, there is a reluctance to loudly criticise heritage protection issues in the state at the minute in case it galvanises the no vote in the upcoming referendum,” Jamie Lowe, CEO of land rights advisory body National Native Title Council, told Reuters.

The incident also comes as Western Australia is set to overturn its 2021 Aboriginal cultural heritage protection laws, introduced on July 1 after the destruction of the Juukan Gorge shelters. The law was repealed after just five weeks in force due to opposition from landowners.

A spokesperson for the state department regulating Aboriginal heritage protection said it was in contact with Rio Tinto but it was not investigating the latest incident.

“Aboriginal people are best placed to speak to matters relating to their cultural heritage, and whether or not it has been impacted. Should the Department receive a complaint from Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation, it will act immediately to investigate.”

WGAC said it had not yet complained to the regulator but reserved its rights to do so once it had established the facts and would visit the site in the coming weeks.

Audio Posts In English

Gaetz moves to oust Speaker McCarthy 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Monday moved to force a vote on ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), following through with his pledge to do so after the Speaker put a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government on the House floor.

A vote on the motion to vacate the chair will have to be brought up within two legislative days. But it is likely that the House, rather than voting on the resolution itself, would first vote on some mechanism to kill or delay it, such as voting to table the resolution.

McCarthy, for his part, is exuding confidence amid the effort to oust him.

“Bring it on,” he wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after Gaetz made the motion.

The Speaker told reporters Monday morning that his support within the House GOP conference is “very strong,” and he said Sunday “I’ll survive” if a vote is brought against him.

“Let’s get over with it and let’s start governing. If he’s upset because he tried to push us in a shutdown and I made sure government didn’t shut down, then let’s have that fight,” McCarthy told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

Gaetz introduced the privileged resolution to boot McCarthy two days after the Speaker worked with Democrats to pass a “clean” continuing resolution hours before a government funding deadline. The short-term stopgap bill — which overwhelmingly passed with bipartisan support in both chambers — helped avert a shutdown that was set to begin at midnight Saturday.

Gaetz, who has a history of sparring with McCarthy, had been heightening his threats to force a vote on ousting the Speaker for weeks, warning him against putting a clean CR on the floor.

He announced his plan to try and boot the California Republican from his post Sunday.

“I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy,” Gaetz told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Updated at 7:36 p.m.

Audio Posts In English

US senators hope to meet with Xi during China trip next week



The flags of the United States and China fly from a lamppost in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, plans to visit China next week and hopes to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a spokesperson for Republican Senator Mike Crapo confirmed on Monday.

Schumer’s office said last month he was planning a trip to China, South Korea and Japan co-led by Crapo but did not comment on Monday. The Chinese Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

Some senators are eager to boost engagement with China and address business-related issues between China and the United States.

A growing number of U.S. businesses are expressing frustration at operating in China, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said recently. “For U.S. business in many cases patience is running thin and it’s time for action,” she said.

* Communication between U.S. and Chinese officials has increased in recent months, bringing some improvement in ties strained for years over issues such as Taiwan, the origins of COVID-19 and accusations of Chinese spying.

* The Biden administration has placed curbs on chip exports to China, saying they aim to deny Beijing access to advanced technology that could further military advancements or rights abuses. China hit back with accusations of economic coercion.

Audio Posts In English

Republicans bearing false witness


Donate to Democratic candidate Adam Frisch.

Donate to Palmer Report.

Palmer Report has significant operating expenses, including website hosting, tech support, mailing list services, and much more. If you value Palmer Report’s content, donate here.

As I have observed on another occasion, the inclusion of “Thou shalt not bear false witness” in the Ten Commandments suggests that the ancients had a particularly potent insight into that particularly egregious injustice. It is far more specific than the less febrile and more decorous “Thou shalt not lie.” It cuts to the heart of one of humanity’s most vile and dishonourable sins: inventing testimony contrived to destroy another human being.

Anyone who has had it done to them, and I’m sure that includes everyone, understands why false testimony is particularly damaging and hateful. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It should come as no surprise to anyone that Republicans have done it, and they did it in public, and they did it to Hunter Biden and his father Joe.

It’s important that you remember that Republicans are supposed to be the “Christians” here. Among their pet projects has been trying to display the Ten Commandments in courthouses and classrooms across the land, in violation of the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. They might occasionally try reading it.

Recently New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exposed House Republicans for displaying a fabricated screenshot during the first formal hearing in their so-called “impeachment inquiry” against President Joe Biden. Specifically, Republican Representative Byron Donalds of Florida displayed a message that Jim Biden, the president’s brother, sent to Hunter Biden, the president’s son, in 2018. Donalds claimed the message indicated that the president benefited from fraud and money laundering committed by Hunter Biden.

That explanation seemed plausible until you saw the message in context. What the message actually showed was Jim Biden responding to Hunter Biden’s call for help. Specifically, Hunter Biden needed his father’s financial help in meeting his alimony obligations. At the time, the president’s son was in the depths of his drug addiction and going through a divorce.

The message was from 2018, which means that Joe Biden wasn’t President of the United States at the time. He wasn’t even Vice President. He was citizen Joe, and his son was enlisting his uncle’s help in an appeal for a loan for a very personal matter.

It is a sad and poignant moment. Who but Republicans would twist a commonplace, vulnerable everyday plea for help into something evil and scabrous? Who but Republicans would bear such shameful false witness? Who but Republicans would go to such depths in the service of Donald Trump? After all, that’s what this is about. Serving Donald Trump.

When Donald Trump once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes, I was sufficiently naive to think that was mere hyperbole. I now see it as an understatement. In fact, I now see that Republicans would shoot someone on Fifth Avenue themselves to protect Donald Trump. They would destroy American democracy for Donald Trump, they would ruin the planet and mortgage their children’s future for Donald Trump. There is no limit to the evil they would do for Donald Trump.

Bearing false witness for Donald Trump is a mere walk in the park for Republicans, a misdemeanour en route to even greater and more heinous crimes. They know the impeachment hearing is a sham. That’s why they invent false evidence. That’s why they break their own Ninth Commandment.

The impeachment hearing is a distraction. It’s something for Fox News to talk about while their lord and saviour Donald Trump is being tried for 91 felonies across 4 indictments.

By itself this latest lie, this bearing of false witness, would be the scandal of the month. As it is it can safely hide out in an ocean of Republican lies and perfidies. And there it will remain, forgotten by a fickle news media and an amnesiac public. In the end, its original intent, to smear Hunter Biden and his father, will be remembered and held against them anyway. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

Palmer Report has significant operating expenses, including website hosting, tech support, mailing list services, and much more. If you value Palmer Report’s content, donate here.

Palmer Report has significant operating expenses, including website hosting, tech support, mailing list services, and much more. If you value Palmer Report’s content, donate here.

The post Republicans bearing false witness appeared first on Palmer Report.

Audio Posts In English

So much for Donald Trump’s trial “strategy”


Donate to Democratic candidate Adam Frisch.

Donate to Palmer Report.

Palmer Report has significant operating expenses, including website hosting, tech support, mailing list services, and much more. If you value Palmer Report’s content, donate here.

It’s worth pointing out that Trump’s civil fraud trial started today, on exactly the day it was supposed to. All of Trump’s “delay tactics” failed to delay this trial by even a single day.

Trump doesn’t have a magic “delay” wand, and in spite of endless media hype to the contrary, he never did. This trial started on the day it was supposed to. The E. Jean Carroll trial started on the day it was supposed to start.

It’ll be the same with his criminal trials. Let’s keep that in mind going forward. For all the doomsday hype we’ll hear from some corners about Trump being able to “delay, delay, delay” and “run out the clock,” that’s clearly fictional. Just look around. Trump isn’t able to delay trials. If he were, his trial wouldn’t have started today.

Palmer Report has significant operating expenses, including website hosting, tech support, mailing list services, and much more. If you value Palmer Report’s content, donate here.

Palmer Report has significant operating expenses, including website hosting, tech support, mailing list services, and much more. If you value Palmer Report’s content, donate here.

The post So much for Donald Trump’s trial “strategy” appeared first on Palmer Report.

Audio Posts In English

Missing New York girl found safe; suspect in custody: Police

(NewsNation) — Charlotte Sena, the missing 9-year-old girl, has been found alive in good health, and a suspect is in custody, according to New York State Police.

An Amber Alert was issued Sunday morning in the search for Sena, who had been camping with her family in upstate New York, officials said.

Sena was last seen Saturday evening in Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles north of Albany. She had been riding her bike around a loop in the park with other children when she decided to ride around alone one more time.

Her parents became alarmed when the fourth grader failed to come back after 15 minutes, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing Sunday. The girl’s mother called 911 after her bicycle was found about 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

Officials issued an Amber Alert after an exhaustive search because “it was quite possible that an abduction had taken place,” state police Lt. Colonel Richard Mazzone said.

“The search for Charlotte is continuing with the assistance of New York State Park Police, New York State Forest Rangers, New York State Fire, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and more,” said Public Information Officer Stephanie O’Neil.

The more than 100 searchers Sunday included police, forest rangers and civilians. Drones, bloodhounds and an airboat were also used in the search.

“We are leaving no stone, no branch, no table, no cabin unturned, untouched, unexamined in our search to find Charlotte,” said Hochul, who described her as a “joyful” girl who was recently elected a class officer for student council.

The girl, a resident of nearby Greenfield, had last been seen wearing an orange tie-dye Pokemon shirt, dark blue pants, black Crocs and a grey bike helmet.

Anyone with information should call (518)457-6811 or email

NedsNation affiliate WTEN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.