News You Should Read Today – January 19 – 2016

China economy grows at slowest pace in 25 yearsChina economy grows at slowest pace in 25 years

China’s economy grew at its slowest rate in a quarter of a century in 2015, data released on Tuesday showed, increasing pressure on Beijing to address fears of a prolonged slowdown and ease the jitters affecting global markets.

The full-year growth of 6.9% was only just short of government expectations of 7% but by contrast, growth in 2014 stood at 7.3%. The national bureau of statistics’ bulletin showed GDP growth at 6.8% in the three months to December, easing from 6.9% in the previous quarter – the slowest quarterly rate since 2009, when growth slowed to 6.2%.

The slide from the previous quarter was expected, but will add to concerns about the health of the world’s second-biggest economy as it confronts a range of challenges, including weak exports, high debt levels and slowing investment. China’s industrial output in December rose 5.9% from a year earlier, compared with forecasts for a 6.0% increase. The Guardian



Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith to boycott Academy Awards ( Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith to boycott Academy Awards

After two consecutive years in which every Academy Awards nominee for acting is white, filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have independently announced via social media that they plan to boycott this year’s awards ceremony.

Lee received an honorary Oscar in November 2015; Smith has never been nominated, though her husband Will Smith had been considered a Best Actor contender for his starring role in Concussion. The 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 28. The Week



Eagles founder Glenn Frey dies at 67Eagles founder Glenn Frey dies at 67

Singer and guitarist Glenn Frey, a founding member of the Eagles, died Monday of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia, and acute ulcerative colitis in New York City, the band announced in a statement. He was 67. “Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community, and millions of fans worldwide,” the band said.

As a member of the Eagles, Frey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and won six Grammy Awards, including record of the year for Hotel California, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1977. It’s one of a handful of chart-toppers that the classic rock group scored before it disbanded in 1980. USA Today



British lawmakers debate banning Trump ( lawmakers debate banning Trump

British lawmakers debated Monday a petition signed by more than 500,000 people seeking to ban U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from Britain.

Last month Trump, a billionaire real estate developer and frontrunner among Republican candidates, prompted international outrage by calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

He proposed the ban after a December 2 mass shooting that killed 14 people in California by two Muslims whom the FBI said had been radicalized. The debate, called by the Petitions Committee of the lower house of parliament, cannot result in any binding conclusion.

In December, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Trump’s comments were “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” Finance Minister George Osborne said Trump’s comments flew in the face of the founding principles of America but that banning him from Britain was not the best way to respond. VOA News



Nearly 19,000 civilians killed in Iraq in 21-month period ( 19,000 civilians killed in Iraq in 21-month period

Nearly 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq between January 2014 and October 2015 — a toll the United Nations calls “staggering” in a new report. The report, released Tuesday, outlines the horrific impact that Iraq’s ongoing conflict is having on its civilian population.

The numbers are mind-boggling. In the 21-month period:

  • At least 18,802 civilians were killed, about half of them in Baghdad alone.
  • Another 36,245 were wounded.
  • About 3.2 million people were internally displaced, including a million school-aged children.

The actual figures could be much higher, the report said. CNN

IMF downgrades global forecastIMF downgrades global forecast

The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its forecast for global economic growth. It now expects economic activity to increase 3.4% this year followed by 3.6% in 2017. That means growth of 0.2% less each year than when the agency last published a forecast in October. And there are warnings about the risks. The report says that if key challenges are not successfully managed, “global growth could be derailed”.

In many respects, the picture is a familiar one. The recovery after the financial crisis continues. But in the rich countries, it is still “modest and uneven”. Only three large advanced economies are forecast to beat 2% growth this year: the US, the UK and one of the eurozone’s crisis-hit nations, Spain, which has had its forecast upgraded.

The largest downgrade for any individual economy is Brazil, where the IMF now predicts a contraction of 3.5% this year and no growth at all in 2017. That reflects the political uncertainty arising from the investigation into corruption at the oil company Petrobras.

Russia, hit by the decline in prices of its oil exports, is also likely to remain in recession this year before returning to modest growth next year. BBC

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