Played By Ben Affleck In Argo, Tony Mendez, CIA Agent Who Escaped Iran, Dies


Tony Mendez, covert operations specialist, came up with an original plan to rescue US diplomats from Iran

Washington: 

Former CIA agent Tony Mendez, who engineered a creative way to smuggle US hostages out of Iran in 1980 and was immortalized in the Hollywood film “Argo,” died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease, his family said. He was 78.

Mendez, who will have a private burial in Nevada, died on Saturday, his literary agent Christy Fletcher said via Twitter, relaying a family statement.

“The last thing he and his wife Jonna Mendez did was get their new book to the publisher and he died feeling he had completed writing the stories that he wanted to be told,” the family statement read.

It added that Mendez had been suffering from Parkinson’s for the past 10 years.

v62f4k58

Actor Ben Affleck, who starred as Tony Mendez in the Hollywood production, described the ex-agent on Twitter as “a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness … I’m so proud to have worked for him and to have told one of his stories.”

Faux Sci-Fi Movie

When Iranian revolutionaries seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, a handful of diplomats managed to escape through a back door and took refuge at the Canadian embassy.

Mendez, a specialist in covert operations, came up with an original plan to rescue them: set up the production in Hollywood of a faux science fiction movie titled “Argo,” travel to Iran to scout out locations, then return to the United States with the hostages masquerading as the film crew.

The six US diplomats, armed with fake Canadian passports, slipped out of Iran and to safety on January 27, 1980.

The story served as inspiration for the film “Argo,” which won three Oscars in 2013 including for best motion picture.

Fifty-two other Americans were not as lucky, and were held hostage by the Iranian revolutionaries for 444 days.

Secretary of State and former CIA chief Mike Pompeo described Mendez as “an extraordinarily gifted intelligence officer” and “truly an American hero.”

Actor Ben Affleck, who starred as Mendez in the Hollywood production, described the ex-agent on Twitter as “a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness … I’m so proud to have worked for him and to have told one of his stories.”

Mendez’s latest book, co-authored with his wife Jonna — also formerly with the CIA — is due out in May and titled “The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics That Helped America Win the Cold War.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





Source link

Arvind Kejriwal Praised Bhagwat Mann, says you won my Heart – भगवंत मान ने की शराब से तौबा, केजरीवाल बोले


नई दिल्ली:

दिल्ली के मुख्यमंत्री और आम आदमी पार्टी के संयोजक अरविंद केजरीवाल (Arvind Kejriwal) ने पंजाब से पार्टी के सांसद भगवंत मान (Bhagwant Mann) द्वारा शराब छोड़ने की बात की सराहना की है. उन्होंने पंजाब में एक रैली के दौरान अपने संबोधन में मान की प्रशंसा करते हुए कहा कि शराब छोड़ने की उनकी प्रतिबद्धता कोई छोटी बात नहीं है. केजरीवाल (Arvind Kejriwal) ने कहा कि मित्रों, भगवंत मान (Bhagwant Mann) ने मेरा दिल जीत लिया. न सिर्फ मेरा, बल्कि उन्होंने पूरे पंजाब का दिल जीत लिया. नेता उनके जैसा होना चाहिए जो लोगों के लिए किसी भी प्रकार की कुर्बानी देने को तैयार हो. इतना बड़ा संकल्प लेना कोई छोटी बात नहीं है. बता दें कि आप के वरिष्ठ नेता और संगरूर से सांसद भगवंत मान (Bhagwant Mann) ने रविवार को कहा था कि उन्होंने अपनी मां की सलाह पर शराब छोड़ दी है. मान के राजनीतिक विरोधी शराब की लत को लेकर अक्सर उनकी आलोचना करते रहे हैं. शराब छोड़ने के मान के संकल्प पर पार्टी सुप्रीमो अरविंद केजरीवाल (Arvind Kejriwal) ने उनकी सराहना की है.

अरविंद केजरीवाल ने कहा- लालची और गंदे लोग आम आदमी पार्टी से निकल गए

मान ने एक रैली में कहा कि मेरे राजनीतिक विरोधी अक्सर मेरे खिलाफ आरोप लगाते रहते हैं और कहते हैं कि भगवंत मान शराब पीते हैं और दिन-रात नशे में रहते हैं. भाइयों, जब भी मैं सोशल मीडिया पर अपने पुराने वीडियो देखता था तो मुझे दुख होता था, जहां मुझे बदनाम किया जाता था. उन्होंने कहा कि उन्होंने एक जनवरी से शराब छोड़ दी है और उन्हें उम्मीद है कि वह अब जीवनभर शराब से दूर रहेंगे. मान ने कहा था कि मैं स्वीकार करता हूं कि मैं कभी कभी शराब पी लेता था. लेकिन मेरे राजनीतिक विरोधियों ने मुझे बदनाम किया. आज मेरी मां यहां हैं. उन्होंने मुझसे कहा था कि लोग टेलीविजन पर मुझे बदनाम करते हैं, उसके बाद उन्होंने मुझसे शराब छोड़ने को कहा. अब वे लोग मुझे बदनाम नहीं कर सकते. केजरीवाल ने आरोप लगाया कि आज मादक पदार्थों के कारण पंजाब डूब रहा है. उन्होंने आरेाप लगाया कि पंजाब में मादक पदार्थों के लिए सुखबीर बादल जिम्मेदार हैं.

ममता बनर्जी के मंच पर सरकार चंद्रबाबू नायडू का फूटा गुस्सा, कहा- पीएम मोदी ने जनता के साथ धोखा किया

बाद में संवाददाताओं से बातचीत में केजरीवाल ने कहा कि ‘आप’ पंजाब में लोकसभा की सभी 13 सीटों पर लड़ेगी.  उन्होंने कहा कि हम पंजाब में सभी 13 सीटों पर लड़ेंगे. दिल्ली में या पंजाब में कांग्रेस के साथ कोई गठबंधन नहीं होगा. गौरतलब है कि आम आदमी पार्टी (आप) की पंजाब इकाई नेतृत्व में गुटबाजी का सामना कर रही है, यह जिक्र किए जाने पर पार्टी के राष्ट्रीय संयोजक अरविंद केजरीवाल ने यहां रविवार को कहा था कि ‘गंदे लोगों’ ने पार्टी छोड़ दी है. पार्टी अब एकजुट है. पंजाब के बरनाला कस्बे में एक रैली के दौरान केजरीवाल ने कहा था कि आप को तोड़ने की कोशिशें होती रही हैं. मैं आप लोगों से कहता हूं कि आप हमेशा की तरह मजबूत है. सिर्फ गंदे लोगों ने पार्टी छोड़ी है. आप एकजुट और मजबूत है.”

ममता के मंच से केजरीवाल की हुंकार: मोदी-शाह ने 5 साल में वो कर दिया जो पाकिस्तान अब तक न कर सका

दिल्ली के मुख्यमंत्री ने कहा था कि ‘लालची लोगों’ ने पार्टी छोड़ दी है और वे पार्टी का हिस्सा बने रहने के लिए उपयुक्त नहीं थे. अरविंद केजरीवाल ने रविवार को लोकसभा चुनाव के लिए प्रचार अभियान की शुरुआत की.संगरूर से आप के सांसद भगवंत मान की तारीफ करते हुए पार्टी प्रमुख ने कहा था कि मान व अन्य लोग पंजाब में आप का परचम लहरा रहे हैं.केजरीवाल ने कहा था कि मान के नेतृत्व में आप पंजाब की सभी 13 लोकसभा सीटों पर लड़ेगी.

मोदी-शाह की जोड़ी देश के लिए खतरा, एकजुट होना वक्त की मांग- अरविंद केजरीवाल

उन्होंने पंजाब में फरवरी, 2017 के विधानसभा चुनाव में लोगों से किए वादे पूरे न करने का आरोप लगाते हुए मुख्यमंत्री अमरिंदर सिंह के नेतृत्ववाली कांग्रेस सरकार पर हमला बोला.केजरीवाल ने कहा था कि मुझे बताइए, क्या किसानों के सभी कर्ज माफ हो गए? अमरिंदर सिंह की सरकार ने लोगों को निराश किया है.”उन्होंने कहा कि दिल्ली में आप सरकार ने स्कूलों और स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं में मूलभूत बदलाव लाया है. 

वीडियो- देश का किसान और जवान दोनों दुखी है: अरविंद केजरीवाल 



Source link

Maruti Will Start Paying Royalty To Suzuki In Rupees From 2025


India’s largest carmaker is planning to increase its contribution to the R&D of new models thereby reducing the amount of Royalty it pays to its Japanese parent company.




View Photos

Royalty payment in rupees aims to reduce average royalty rates to 5 per cent of the net sales.

Maruti has entered into an agreement with its Japanese parent company according to which it will be paying royalties to them in the Indian currency instead of the Japanese currency from 2025. India’s largest carmaker is looking forward to playing a major part in the development of new models as it is planning to have a completely new product offensive in the next six years following which it will be paying royalties to Suzuki Motor Corporation in Rupees instead of Yen. Royalty payment in rupees aims to reduce average royalty rates to 5 per cent of the net sales of existing models. Comparatively, royalty payment in Japanese Yen was about 5.6 to 6 per cent for existing models.

maruti suzuki vitara brezza price The Vitara Brezza is the only model on which Maruti pays royalty in rupees to Suzuki.

The Vitara Brezza is the only model on which Maruti is paying 4 per cent royalty to Suzuki and that too in Rupees as the subcompact SUV has been developed indigenously in India. Maruti Suzuki India chairman- RC Bhargava in 2017 had hinted about this development. In a statement given to the media, he had said that in future Maruti will be contributing a lot more in the development of new models and will be paying in rupees for the models which will be designed and developed locally.


Maruti Suzuki

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Aims To Stop The Production Of BSIV Models By December 2019

0 Comments

In December 2018, Maruti had announced to wind up production of all Bharat Stage 4 models by 2019 on the wake of Bharat Stage 6 emission norms. The company is geared up to prepare its entire product line-up to comply with the upcoming BS6 standards and has been working along with Suzuki in the development. Moreover, the company is also revamping its entry-level models to meet the upcoming Bharat New Vehicles Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) which will be regulated in October 2019.

 

For the latest auto news and reviews, follow CarAndBike on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.





Source link

jdu will oppose citizenship amendment bill in rajyasabha


zeenews.india.com understands that your privacy is important to you and we are committed for being transparent about the technologies we use.  This cookie policy explains how and why cookies and other similar technologies may be stored on and accessed from your device when you use or visit zeenews.india.com websites that posts a link to this Policy (collectively, “the sites”). This cookie policy should be read together with our Privacy Policy.

By continuing to browse or use our sites, you agree that we can store and access cookies and other tracking technologies as described in this policy.

What are Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies?

A cookie is a small text file that can be stored on and accessed from your device when you visit one of our sites, to the extent you agree.  The other tracking technologies work similarly to cookies and place small data files on your devices or monitor your website activity to enable us to collect information about how you use our sites. This allows our sites to recognize your device from those of other users on our sites. The information provided below about cookies also applies to these other tracking technologies.


How do our sites use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies?

Zeenews.com use cookies and other technologies to store information in your web browser or on your mobile phone, tablet, computer, or other devices (collectively “devices”) that allow us to store and receive certain pieces of information whenever you use or interact with our zeenews.india.com applications and sites. Such cookies and other technologies helps us to identify you and your interests, to remember your preferences and to track use of zeenews.india.com We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to control access to certain content on our sites, protect the sites, and to process any requests that you make to us.
We also use cookies to administer our sites and for research purposes, zeenews.india.com also has contracted with third-party service providers to track and analyse statistical usage and volume information from our site users. These third-party service providers use persistent Cookies to help us improve user experience, manage our site content, and analyse how users navigate and utilize the sites.

First and Third-party Cookies

First party cookies

These are those cookies that belong to us and which we place on your device or are those set by a website that is being visited by the user at the time (e.g., cookies placed by zeenews.india.com)

Third-party cookies

Some features used on this website may involve a cookie being sent to your computer by a third party. For example, if you view or listen to any embedded audio or video content you may be sent cookies from the site where the embedded content is hosted. Likewise, if you share any content on this website through social networks (for example by clicking a Facebook “like” button or a “Tweet” button) you may be sent cookies from these websites. We do not control the setting of these cookies so please check the websites of these third parties for more information about their cookies and how to manage them.

Persistent Cookies
We use persistent cookies to improve your experience of using the sites. This includes recording your acceptance of our cookie policy to remove the cookie message which first appears when you visit our site.
Session Cookies 
Session cookies are temporary and deleted from your machine when your web browser closes. We use session cookies to help us track internet usage as described above.
You may refuse to accept browser Cookies by activating the appropriate setting on your browser. However, if you select this setting you may be unable to access certain parts of the sites. Unless you have adjusted your browser setting so that it will refuse cookies, our system will check if cookies can be captured when you direct your browser to our sites.
The data collected by the sites and/or through Cookies that may be placed on your computer will not be kept for longer than is necessary to fulfil the purposes mentioned above. In any event, such information will be kept in our database until we get explicit consent from you to remove all the stored cookies.

We categorize cookies as follows:

Essential Cookies

These cookie are essential to our site in order to enable you to move around it and to use its features. Without these essential cookies we may not be able to provide certain services or features and our site will not perform as smoothly for you as we would like. These cookies, for example, let us recognize that you have created an account and have logged in/out to access site content. They also include Cookies that enable us to remember your previous actions within the same browsing session and secure our sites.

Analytical/Performance Cookies

These cookies are used by us or by our third-party service providers to analyse how the sites are used and how they are performing. For example, these cookies track what content are most frequently visited, your viewing history and from what locations our visitors come from. If you subscribe to a newsletter or otherwise register with the Sites, these cookies may be correlated to you.

Functionality Cookies

These cookies let us operate the sites in accordance with the choices you make. These cookies permit us to “remember you” in-between visits. For instance, we will recognize your user name and remember how you customized the sites and services, for example by adjusting text size, fonts, languages and other parts of web pages that are alterable, and provide you with the same customizations during future visits.

Advertising Cookies

These cookies collect information about your activities on our sites as well as other sites to provide you targeted advertising. We may also allow our third-party service providers to use cookies on the sites for the same purposes identified above, including collecting information about your online activities over time and across different websites. The third-party service providers that generate these cookies, such as, social media platforms, have their own privacy policies, and may use their cookies to target advertisement to you on other websites, based on your visit to our sites.

How do I refuse or withdraw my consent to the use of Cookies?

If you do not want cookies to be dropped on your device, you can adjust the setting of your Internet browser to reject the setting of all or some cookies and to alert you when a cookie is placed on your device. For further information about how to do so, please refer to your browser ‘help’ / ‘tool’ or ‘edit’ section for cookie settings w.r.t your browser that may be Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox etc.
Please note that if your browser setting is already setup to block all cookies (including strictly necessary Cookies) you may not be able to access or use all or parts or functionalities of our sites.
If you want to remove previously-stored cookies, you can manually delete the cookies at any time from your browser settings. However, this will not prevent the sites from placing further cookies on your device unless and until you adjust your Internet browser setting as described above.
For more information on the development of user-profiles and the use of targeting/advertising Cookies, please see www.youronlinechoices.eu if you are located in Europe or www.aboutads.info/choices if in the United States.

Contact us

If you have any other questions about our Cookie Policy, please contact us at:
If you require any information or clarification regarding the use of your personal information or this privacy policy or grievances with respect to use of your personal information, please email us at [email protected]





Source link

Spider’s Canvas/Arachnodrone Shows What Spider Webs Sound Like


What do spider webs sound like?

If you’ve never considered the question, don’t stress: Scientists and musicians have. They’ve created an interactive, multimedia performance that lets you tour a spider-spun web that makes otherworldly music.

“Spider’s Canvas/Arachnodrone,” a sonic exploration of a spider’s web, is the result of a meeting of minds at MIT. The project’s collaborators are Evan Ziporyn, composer and faculty director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; composer/visual artist Christine Southworth; sound artist Ian Hattwick; spider researcher Isabelle Su. Also helping out a bit: a Cyrtophora citricola spider from South America.

The group took laser-scanned images of the spider’s web, then associated different parts of the web with different sounds. They were inspired by the intricate, yet tough protein fibers that make up spider webs.

The haunting, abstract music that resulted is paired with a visual component that gives audiences an interactive, spider’s-eye view of the web. Su controls the audience’s view of the web, guiding them through different components with a video game that serves up the different sounds depending on which part of the web she accesses. It’s an ever-changing performance deeply rooted in a collaboration among science, art, technology and a whole other species.

The group isn’t done weaving their creative web: In the future, the collaborators will work to give the piece a virtual reality component, too. Catch the first U.S. performances of “Spider’s Canvas/Arachnodrone” at MIT’s Sounding performance season next month, learn more about the collaboration at MIT News or check out Arachnodrone.com for images and video.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





Source link

Ousmane Dembele Sparkles But Lionel Messi Needed Off Bench To Rescue Barcelona


He needed only seven minutes to make an impact as his bending shot was followed up by Luis Suarez, who poked the ball in ahead of Leganes goalkeeper Pichu Cuellar. Messi then rounded off the win by scoring himself in injury-time. 

Leganes had protested against Suarez’s finish, convinced that Pichu had been fouled by a high foot. 

“It was a clear foul,” coach Mauricio Pellegrino said. “Barca don’t need these kind of decisions to help them.”

But VAR disagreed and Barca advanced to what was, in truth, a fully deserved victory. It means they regain their hefty advantage over Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, with the difference ahead of Real Madrid also back to 10 points.

Leganes had beaten Barcelona at home in September but that remains the high point of their season. They stay 14th. 

Valverde was accused of failing to rest key players last term, to the detriment of their progress in the Champions League, and his gamble to spare his star player just about paid off. 

“There are lots of games,” Valverde said. “We talk to the players and decide when it may be good for them to rest.”

“It was difficult with and without Messi,” Pellegrino said.

Barcelona needed him in the end but for a while, Dembele, and the 21-year-old Carles Alena in midfield, had shown there may yet be life after Messi, who turns 32 in June. 

Dembele will undergo tests on Monday. “We will miss him a lot,” Valverde said. “We hope it is not too long.”

He was at the heart of everything in the first half, his hips slaloming through the hapless Leganes defence, who swarmed around him in numbers but always seemed a step behind.  

A cheeky nutmeg was followed by an audacious scoop, which found Suarez but he poked wide. It was a classy finish for the opener too, although the goal owed more to the collective than individual. 

Messi swoops

Gerard Pique started it, driving from deep in defence down the wing. Alena took over and found Dembele, who spread the ball wide to Jordi Alba. When the ball came back, Dembele opened up his body and his right foot, guiding the ball first-time into the bottom corner. 

After half-time, Philippe Coutinho fired over after another Dembele flick and it felt like only a matter of time before another goal would come. 

It did, but Leganes scored it, with their second shot on target. Alba was caught out and Youssef En-Neysri nipped in. His fizzing cross found Braithwaite, who darted ahead of Pique to prod home. 

Messi had been warming up and was quickly introduced. Alena made way and shortly after Dembele followed, his brilliant night cut short. Malcom came on. 

Seven minutes passed between Messi’s substitution and Suarez’s goal. Messi cut in from the right and curled a shot towards the top corner, where Pichu dived to meet it and palmed the ball into the air. 

As it dropped, Suarez got there first, stabbing in the rebound at around hip-height before clattering into the keeper’s chest. VAR checked and Leganes protested. The goal stood. 

Suarez should have scored again but shot straight at Pichu, who gathered, rushed out and barged into the shoulder of the Uruguayan. 

Any doubt was dispelled, however, as Messi exchanged with Alba in injury-time. A swoop of the Argentinian’s right foot was all it needed.



Source link

Delhi Head Constable Dies Week After Being Injured In Chase


The Delhi police constable has succumbed to his injuries, the police said on Sunday. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

A Delhi Police head constable, who was injured after being hit by an unidentified vehicle, has succumbed to his injuries, the police said on Sunday.

Rajpal Kasana, posted in Special Cell, was fighting for life at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre since January 14 when his motorcycle was hit from behind while chasing an arms smuggler, they said.

A resident of Ghaziabad, Kasana breathed his last on Saturday, they added.

“On Monday at around 3 pm, we had got a tip off that an arms supplier would be coming to RK Puram from Ghazipur via ISBT Sarai Kale Khan and Barapullah road. A team was formed that included Kasana,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwaha.

“Kasana and Mohit Panwar were on their motorcycle when they spotted the suspect on the Barapullah road and gave chase, however, another vehicle hit their motorcycle from behind and fled,” he added.

Kasana received severe head injuries and along with Panwar was taken to AIIMS.

The head constable had joined Delhi police in 1998 and was transferred to the Special Cell in 2006.

He played a vital role in the arrest of Salli Khan, a criminal from Mewat and his seven associates in 2013 following which he was promoted as head constable.





Source link

Srikant Jena, Expelled From Congress, Threatens To Expose Rahul Gandhi


Srikant Jena said Rahul Gandhi chose to stand with mining mafias and Patnaik brothers.

Bhubaneswar: 

Srikant Jena, who was recently expelled from the primary membership of the Congress, has accused party president Rahul Gandhi of surrendering himself before the Patnaik family and mining mafias in Odisha.

Mr Jena has also claimed that he would expose the Congress president to such an extent that the latter would “not be able to show his face in public”. “I am glad that I am relieved from the responsibility of remaining in the Congress party. I had written many letters to Rahul Gandhi asking whether he will stand with Patnaik brothers and mining mafias or with the people of Odisha,” Mr Jena told a press conference.

Annoyed over his expulsion from the Congress, he said: “Rahul Gandhi chose to stand with mining mafias and Patnaik brothers. This is not expulsion, I had already written a letter requesting him to accept my proposition or else relieve me from the party. I wanted to expose him but he has exposed himself.”

On Friday, Srikant Jena, along with former Koraput MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria, was expelled from the primary membership of the Congress for alleged “anti-party activities” by the Odisha unit of the Congress, following recommendations from the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

Mr Jena has also claimed that Rahul Gandhi had also decided that the governance of Odisha should remain with the Patnaik family.

The former Congress leader said that he will campaign everywhere and expose the Congress president. “This is just the beginning. On January 25, I will give certain facts. The full country will know what Rahul Gandhi is and what he is protecting,” he said.





Source link

Congress Student Leader NSUI Irfan Hussain Threatens Teen After She Complains Of Molestation


“I will make it very difficult for you to enter the college,” NSUI leader tells girl.

Shahjahanpur: 

A Congress student body leader is caught on camera threatening a student after she complained of harassment in a Uttar Pradesh college.

In the video, which is in wide circulation online, National Students Union of India (NSUI) district president Irfan Hussain is seen backing those who allegedly harassed the teen and brazenly telling her to behave. “You are just in the first year now, you have to stay here for three more years, sudhar jao (better behave). I will make it very difficult for you to enter the college,” he can be heard saying in the video.

After a brief argument between the two, Hussain says, “Ladki agar daayre mein hai to hi acchi lagti hai” (A woman looks good when she stays within limits).

During the entire argument, the college staff did not intervene.

After the video went viral, the Congress student body suspended Hussain and ordered him not to participate in any activity in the organisation.

ad5jt574

NSUI district president Irfan Hussain’s suspension letter.

The police are looking for Hussain, who is missing after a case was registered against him.

“An FIR has been registered against the accused. We will arrest him soon,” police officer D Tripathi told news agency ANI.





Source link

At 6.6%, Chinese Economy Grew At Slowest Pace In Almost 3 Decades In 2018


China’s economy grew at its slowest rate in almost 3 decades amid a debt battle and a US trade war (File)

Beijing: 

China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three decades in 2018, losing more steam in the last quarter as it battles to quell massive debt and a US trade war, official data showed Monday.

The 6.6 percent growth comes in above the official target of around 6.5 percent and matches a forecast by analysts polled by AFP, but is down from the 6.8 percent chalked up in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

And in a sign of the battle Beijing faces in getting things back on track, growth in the last three months of the year clocked in at 6.4 percent, matching a low seen during the global financial crisis 10 years ago, with economists widely expecting the slowdown to deepen.

“The ‘three critical battles’ of preventing and defusing financial risks, conducting targeted poverty alleviation, and controlling pollution got off to a good start,” said NBS commissioner Ning Jizhe in prepared remarks.

The slowing growth prompted Premier Li Keqiang last week to vow the government would not let the economy “fall off a cliff”.

Relations with top trading partner the US deteriorated sharply last year after President Donald Trump hit roughly half of Chinese imports with new tariffs in an attempt to force trade concessions.

The trade war is on hold for now after President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed to a three-month ceasefire while the two sides try to find a resolution, with top negotiators set to meet in Washington at the end of the month.

While analysts say the standoff has dented confidence — leaving the stock markets battered and the yuan weakened — they attribute most of the downturn to the government policies to tackle growing debt, financial risk and pollution.

China hit the brakes on major projects such as subway lines and motorways and held off on mountain-moving endeavours to keep a lid on debt last year, with infrastructure investment rising by just 3.8 percent, down from 19 percent the year before.

China’s exports to US and the world also fell in December, reinforcing the need for its legions of domestic consumers to fuel the economy.

‘Massive Market’

Li last week touted China’s “massive market” and vowed to spur on consumption, but the data shows difficulty ahead.

Overall credit growth decelerated every month last year.

“The slowdown in credit growth is causing economic momentum to falter,” said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, in a note last week.

Tighter credit has hit consumer spending with car sales falling last year for the first time in more than 20 years.

Retail sales growth slowed to 9.0 percent, down from a 10.2 percent increase the previous year. In December, sales grew 8.2 percent.

Output at factories and workshops ticked up 6.2 percent for the year, down from 6.6 percent in 2017.

Reliable Data?

The official figures could be painting an overly rosy picture, analysts say.

Economists in China and abroad have long suspected data is massaged upward, often noting that full-year gross domestic product hits Beijing’s pre-set targets with suspicious regularity.

The governor of northeastern Liaoning admitted in 2017 that the industrial province had falsified data for years.

Even Li said in 2007, when he was Liaoning’s top political official, that results were often “man-made” and he used his own calculations to guide provincial policymaking, according to a confidential memo released by WikiLeaks.

“The NBS is part of the government… that is why it is legitimate for the outside world to worry about potential adjustment of data on the economy,” said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics.

The US-based Conference Board, a widely respected global business think tank, said its methodology indicates growth of 4.1 percent for 2018.

On Friday, China revised its 2017 economic growth down to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent — a move some analysts say may have been aimed at beefing up this year’s growth rate.

“Sceptics will be forgiven for questioning whether NBS is trying to smooth GDP growth by shifting some of the recent weakness into the 2017 figures,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a note.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





Source link