Petrol bombs hurled at riot cops in Athens demo against bailout pain





Petrol bombs hurled at riot cops in Athens demo against bailout pain

Clashes briefly broke out today between riot police and youths in central Athens during the first general strike since the country's left-led government initially came to power in January.

Youths broke away from a protest march by thousands as it passed outside parliament and threw Molotov cocktails at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Nearly 25,000 people had been participating in three separate demonstrations in central Athens, according to police figures, protesting a new round of bailout-related tax increases and spending cuts.

The 24-hour general strike has caused widespread disruption across Greece, with numerous public services shutting down.
Public transport was severely disrupted. The Athens metro and suburban railway shut down while bus and trolley routes were reduced and ferries remained tied up in port, severing connections between islands and the mainland. More than a dozen domestic flights were also cancelled.

A march in Athens by a Communist-backed union gathered about 15,000 people, while 4,000 or so participated in a labor union demonstration and another 5,000 joined in a protest organized by anti-establishment and anarchist groups. 

The clashes prompted demonstrators to scatter but calm soon returned after a few running scuffles through central avenues in the capital. So far, they are a far cry from the more violent and extensive clashes that broke out in the recent past during general strikes and other protests in Athens. 
Another 10,000 marched through the country's second largest city of Thessaloniki.

The main party in the governing coalition _ Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza _ has shown sympathy for the strike. The party's department that deals with labor policy called for mass participation in the walk-out to protest “the neoliberal policies and the blackmail from financial and political centers within and outside Greece.''

The strike closed museums, state schools and pharmacies, while state hospitals were functioning with emergency staff.
Journalists also walked off the job, pulling news bulletins off the air except to report on the strike. News websites were not being updated, while no Friday newspapers were to be printed. Lawyers, too, were scaling back their work.

Workers were protesting austerity measures imposed as part of Greece's third bailout _ a three-year deal under which Greece will gradually receive up to 86 billion euros in rescue loans from its partners in the 19-country eurozone in return for passing a raft of spending cuts and tax increases.--AP

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Draghi hints at December monetary easing, says Europe inflation indicators have weakened


European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is underlining the bank's willingness to add more monetary stimulus if needed at its December meeting to push inflation higher. 

Draghi told members of the European Parliament in Brussels today that signs of a turnaround in low inflation “have somewhat weakened.''

Low annual inflation _ currently zero in the 19 countries that use the euro currency _ points to weak demand and makes it harder for indebted companies and countries to recover. 

The ECB is purchasing 1.1 trillion euros in bonds with newly printed money through September, but inflation remains low. Draghi said at the ECB's last policy meeting on October 22 that the bank would review whether more stimulus was needed. 

The euro dropped on Draghi's remarks, falling to US$1.0700 from US$1.0745. 

The euro has fallen as monetary policy takes different paths in Europe and the United States. The ECB is favoring looser monetary policy _ just as the US Federal Reserve contemplates tightening by raising its interest rate benchmark after years of near zero interest rates. 

Higher rates on dollar-denominated investments _ compared to lower rates for euro investments _ mean more demand for dollars compared to euros. That pushes down on the euro's exchange rate against the dollar. 

The next ECB meeting is December 3, while Fed officials meet December 17. But currency traders are already anticipating more stimulus from the ECB and less from the Fed. 

A lower euro would help eurozone exporters, supporting growth, and would also raise inflation by increasing the price of imports. –AP

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Eurozone economy awaits positive numbers

The eurozone economy can't achieve lift-off, it seems, despite a number of positive tail-winds.

Official figures tomorrow are expected to show the single currency bloc, which comprises 330 million people across 19 countries, is still growing only at a subdued rate. The consensus is it expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent in the July-September period, unchanged from the previous quarter. 

In fact, growth has been around this level for over a year.
Any growth is welcome for a region that's spent seven years firefighting financial crises. But to really bring down high unemployment, the economy needs more. That's partly why the European Central Bank is expected to back more stimulus in December.

In a region spreading from the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern Mediterranean, the economic outlook varies between countries.—AP

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New lending climbs to 514 billion yuan

New yuan-denominated lending in October hit 514 billion yuan, up by 48 billion yuan from a year earlier, official data showed today.
M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased by 13.5 percent year-on-year to 136 trillion yuan at the end of October, the People's Bank of China said in a statement.
The narrow measure of money supply (M1), which covers cash in circulation plus demand deposits, grew by 14 percent year on year to 37.6 trillion yuan at the end of last month, the statement said.—Xinhua

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Copycat proof 100 yuan banknote enters circulation


The People's Bank of China, the central bank, began circulating a new version of the 100-yuan banknote today.
A key feature of the note is the color-changing numeral 100 at the center. The number is visible in either green or gold, depending on the angle of view. 

It also features founder of the People’s Republic, Mao Zedong, and the Great Hall of the People.

The new note, the largest denomination of the currency, will be harder to counterfeit and easier for machines to read, thanks to its enhanced security features.

Manufacturers of cash receiving equipment should upgrade their products for the new bank note, the central bank announced earlier.

The old version will stay in circulation but will gradually be phased out.—Xinhua/The Standard

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Greece grinds to a halt


Public services shut down across Greece today as workers held the first general strike since the country's left-led government initially came to power in January.

Public transport was severely disrupted, with the Athens metro not running, bus and trolley routes reduced and ferries tied up in port, severing connections between islands and the mainland. The strike shut down museums, schools and pharmacies, while state hospitals were functioning with emergency staff.

More than a dozen domestic flights were canceled, while journalists also walked off the job, pulling news bulletins off the air except to report on the strike. News websites were not being updated, while no Friday newspapers were to be printed.

Two demonstrations were planned in Athens.
Workers are protesting austerity measures imposed as part of Greece's third bailout _ a three-year deal under which Greece will gradually receive up to 86 billion euros in rescue loans from other EU countries in return for passing a raft of spending cuts and tax increases.

The labor policy division of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party has backed the strike.

Tsipras, who won re-election in September, signed up to the bailout in a dramatic policy change despite initially having campaigned vigorously against bailouts and their accompanying conditions of austerity. He has said he had no choice but to agree to the deal in order to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts and being forced out of Europe's joint currency.

The government is currently locked in negotiations to reach an agreement on the disbursement of a 2 billion-euro installment, as well as 10 billion euros set aside for the recapitalization of its banks.—AP

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China stocks close lower

China's stocks closed lower today.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down by 0.48 percent at the close at 3,632.9 points.

The smaller Shenzhen index lost 0.33 percent to close at 12,635.39 points. The ChiNext Index, which tracks China's NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, dropped by 0.76 percent to close at 2,783.3 points.—Xinhua

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Lenovo books US$741m loss, PC segment revenue and shipments shrink


The world’s leading personal computer maker Lenovo (00992) booked a loss of US$741 million for the first half of the fiscal year.

Revenue increased by 16 percent year-on-year in the quarter to US$12.2 billion, the company reported in a filing today. China accounted for 28 percent of the total revenue, while the Asia Pacific accounted for 16 percent of total revenue.

Pre-tax loss was US$842 million.

The group booked one-time charges of US$923 million, including US$599 million in restructuring costs and US$324 million in charges to clear smart phone inventories.

Lenovo said it is on track to deliver US$650 million in cost savings in the second half of this fiscal year.

The company declared an interim dividend of HK 6 cents per share for the six months ended September 30.

PC business revenue fell by 9 percent year-on-year to US$15.42 billion. PC shipments fell by 6 percent year-on-year to 28.5 million, against market decline of 12 percent year-on-year, the company said. 
Lenovo said its market share continued to increase. Its worldwide PC market reached another record-high level of 21.2 percent for the second fiscal quarter, an increase of 1.5 percentage points year-on-year.

Revenue of mobile business, which includes the combined Lenovo and Motorola businesses, increased by 65 percent year-on-year to US$4.79 billion, the company reported.
Smartphone shipments grew by 7 percent year-on-year to 32.8 million. Shipments outside of China grew by about 295 percent year-on-year to 24.7 million units.

Tablet shipments increased by 2 percent year-on-year, against a market that declined by 11 percent year-on-year, to 5.5 million units.
Market share increased by 0.2 percentage points year-on-year to 5.3 percent, and increased to number four position worldwide in the second quarter, the company said.
Enterprise business revenue, including the combined ThinkServer and System X businesses increased by more than 560 percent year-on-year to US$2.25 billion. 

Revenue of other goods and services were US$390 million.
Operating expenses increased by 82 percent year-on-year to US$3.91 billion.—The Standard

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South Korean tech exports fall


South Korea's exports in the information and communications technology sector fell for the first time in three months, but imports hit a record monthly high due to demand for Apple's iPhone, a government report showed.
Exports of the ICT industry, including handsets, chips and display panels, were down by 1.6 percent from a year earlier to US$16.04 billion in October, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

It marked the first decline in three months after recording a 0.6 percent rise in August and a 1.6 percent increase in September.

The industry's imports grew by 10.4 percent to a new record high of US$8.77 billion in October thanks to demand for Apple's smartphones. Handset imports soared by 60.6 percent to US$1.44 billion last month.

Trade surplus in the ICT sector amounted to US$7.27 billion last month.

For the first 10 months of this year, the ICT exports reached US$145.54 billion, little changed from the same period of last year. During the same period, overall exports declined by 7.6 percent.

In October, handset exports grew by 37.6 percent thanks to strong demand for newly launched smartphones such as Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note5 and LG Electronics'V10. The double-digit increase has continued for three months.
Semiconductor shipments slid by 7.5 percent last month due to falling prices of DRAM and NAND Flash chips, and display panel exports slumped by 11.7 percent on the back of low product price and weak global demand.

By region, ICT exports to China and the United States, South Korea's top two trading partners, gained by 5.4 percent and by 7 percent respectively, but those to the European Union and Japan plunged by 13.3 percent and by 30.9 percent each.—Xinhua
   
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Hang Seng higher at mid day, China stocks drop

Hong Kong stocks closed higher at the mid day break today, but China stocks retreated.

The blue chip Hang Seng Index gained by 0.97 percent at 22,568.97.

In Shanghai, the Composite Index fell by 1 percent at 3,613.71, while the Shenzhen Composite Index fell by 0.67 percent at 2,238.15.
   
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Greece workers to protest against bailout pain


Greece is bracing for the first general strike since the left-wing Syriza-led government first came to power in January.
Workers across the country will walk off the job to protest against more spending cuts and tax increases required by the country's bailout program.

Tomorrow’s 24-hour strike is to shut down all public services, museums, schools and pharmacies, while public transport will be disrupted, ferries will remain tied up in port and hospitals will function with emergency staff. Syriza's labor section has called for mass participation in the strike.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won a second election in September after backing down from his previous anti-austerity positions and accepting a deal to impose further measures in return for a three-year, 86-billion euro bailout from other European countries.—AP
Petrol bombs hurled at riot cops in Athens demo against bailout pain Petrol bombs hurled at riot cops in Athens demo against bailout pain Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 9:14 PM Rating: 5

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