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China vows currency moves after U.S. criticism

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China on Wednesday pledged to make its exchange rate more “flexible”, a day after the United States said the yuan was undervalued, though it declined to name Beijing a currency manipulator.

“China will continue to increase the flexibility of the renminbi (yuan) exchange rate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

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But in stronger remarks, China’s state news agency urged the United States to put an end to a “meaningless quarrel” over its yuan currency.

The US Treasury said Tuesday that China’s yuan is still significantly undervalued, although it refrained from saying Beijing manipulates the currency, which could lead to retaliatory action by Congress.

China’s official Xinhua news agency praised the US Treasury decision in a commentary, saying it sent a “positive signal” that would soothe financial markets and promote trade.

“It is time to move beyond the useless, meaningless quarrel over the exchange rate and look to the broader picture and new areas for both bilateral and global trade cooperation,” it said.

US officials have long accused China of keeping its currency artificially low, fuelling a flow of cheap exports that helped send the US trade deficit with China to more than $270 billion in 2010.

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But China defends its exchange rate regime, saying it is moving gradually to make the yuan more flexible.

Hong said China was seeking to boost domestic consumption, in apparent response to accusations Beijing is keeping the value of the currency low to boost exports, instead of finding other drivers for economic growth.

The Xinhua commentary warned China will move at its own pace in making the yuan fully convertible.

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Yuan “exchange rate reform and the internationalisation of the (yuan) will be a gradual and long-term process,” it said.

“Pushing for a sharp rise or decline in (the) exchange rate or seeking a once-for-all solution would be both unrealistic and harmful.”

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The US Treasury said the yuan had risen 7.5 percent against the dollar in the 18 months since Beijing began allowing a managed appreciation, and by 12 percent if China’s high inflation rate is figured in.

Nevertheless, it called the level of appreciation “insufficient” and said more progress was needed.


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Military base shooter assailed US as ‘nation of evil’

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A Saudi military student reportedly condemned America as a "nation of evil" in an online manifesto prior to opening fire Friday at a US naval base, killing three people before being shot dead by police.

The shooting, which took place in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, left eight others wounded, including two sheriff's deputies who responded to the attack.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the shooter was from Saudi Arabia -- the same nationality as 15 of the 19 men involved in the 9/11 attacks, some of whom attended civilian flight school in Florida.

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Elon Musk cleared of defamation over ‘pedo guy’ tweet

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Tesla co-founder Elon Musk was cleared of defamation on Friday by a jury in Los Angeles over a tweet in which he labeled a British caver "pedo guy."

The jury deliberated less than an hour before ruling in favor of Musk and clearing him of any liability in the high-profile case that pitted him against Vernon Unsworth.

Unsworth had sought $190 million in damages from the tech billionaire, arguing that his reputation had been damaged by the tweet.

Musk hugged his lawyer on hearing the verdict, telling reporters afterwards: "My faith in humanity has been restored."

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Team Trump wants to steal another election — and there’s only one way to beat them back

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When I was growing up at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, back in the early 1960s, my mother drove down to Kansas City one morning to go shopping and have lunch with an old friend of her mother’s. Ladies going out shopping and having lunch in the upscale Country Club Plaza in Kansas City was almost a formal occasion. I remember she put on a summery suit and heels and stockings, and I’m pretty sure she wore a pair of white cotton gloves.

When she returned a few hours later, she wasn’t carrying any bags from the shops, and she was seething. The woman she’d eaten lunch with was married to a man who owned a chain of downtown hotels in major cities around the country. They lived in a big Tudor house in Mission Hills, the Beverly Hills of the Midwest. She drove a Cadillac. She was rich.

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