Heaviest Rains

22 July 2012

BEIJING (AP) - China's government says the heaviest rains to hit Beijing in six decades have killed at least 10 people. The torrential downpour Saturday night left low-lying streets flooded and knocked down trees.News reports said roofs of some buildings collapsed. The national weather bureau said Sunday that at least 10 people were killed in the Chinese capital but gave no details. Elsewhere, state media said four people were killed Saturday in the northern province of Shanxi when their truck was swept away by a flood-swollen river. Six people were killed by rain-triggered landslides in Sichuan province in the West.


Russia Joins

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the protocol for the country to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), capping an accession process that took 18 years. The signing announced Saturday by the Kremlin comes a week after parliament ratified the agreement. Russia had been the largest economy outside the global trade organization. Advocates say that joining the WTO will improve foreign investment and push Russian businesses. But thousands of Russian businesses are wary that the low import duties and caps on subsidies that are a condition of joining the WTO will hurt them.


Next President

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Powerful politician Pranab Mukherjee looked set to be elected India's new president on Sunday and analysts said the canny veteran could play a key role in steering the nation through testing times. Mukherjee, 76, a ruling Congress party loyalist, was the over-whelming favorite for the post of head of state after drawing broad support over rival Purno A. Sangma, 64, a former parliamentary speaker. The president is chosen by 4,896 state and parliamentary lawmakers and Mukherjee's success would mark a welcome victory for the embattled Congress, which is struggling with a string of graft scandals and a slowing economy.


Campaigns Limited

WASHINGTON (AP) - The deadly shootings at a movie theater in Colorado have briefly silenced the presidential campaign, prompting both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to cut short their schedules and pull advertising in the state out of respect for the victims and their families. Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address that he hopes everyone takes time this weekend ``for prayer and reflection; for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover.''


Foreign Accounts

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuela will allow the opening of foreign currency bank accounts, the South American country's central bank said. The move, announced Friday in the Official Gazette, applies to both individuals and companies. ''It simplifies the system,'' Central Bank director Armando Leon told the newspaper El Universal. The measure is also aimed at foreign firms involved in public projects. Venezuela has had strict foreign exchange controls since 2003 and regulates access to US dollars. ''You could say it's positive but it does not change the concrete reality,'' analyst Luis Vincente Leon, president of Datanalisis, told AFP.