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How China’s Economy Bounced Back

CHANGMINGZHEN, China — The smell, salty and pungent, wafts through the freshly paved streets near the gleaming new factory.The factory is owned by a company called Laoganma, which makes a piquant chili-and-soybean sauce famous across China for its power to set mouths watering. In a time of global pandemic, when the jobs of working people around the world hang in the balance, the factory’s scents signal opportunity.Since it opened in March, when China was still in the grip of Covid-19, the factory has struggled to find enough machinery operators or quality control technicians. Now workers are flocking to …

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China’s Stronger Currency Could Be a Fig Leaf for Biden

HONG KONG — China’s economy has come roaring back from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, and its currency has joined the ride.The currency, known variously as the yuan or the renminbi, has surged in strength in recent months against the American dollar and other major currencies. Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May and close to its strongest level in two and half years.Many currencies tend to jump around in value even more, but Beijing has long kept a leash on China’s, so the renminbi’s leap looks …

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In a Topsy-Turvy Pandemic World, China Offers Its Version of Freedom

Duncan Clark’s flight was rolling down the runway in Paris in late October when President Emmanuel Macron announced a second national lockdown in France. The country had nearly 50,000 new Covid-19 infections that day. The United States had almost 100,000.He sighed with relief. He was headed to China. That day, it had reported 25 new infections, all but one originating abroad.Mr. Clark, a businessman and author, returned to China after spending nine months in the United States and France, his longest time away from the country since he moved to Beijing in 1994. He had been spending more time outside China …

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China and E.U. Leaders Strike Investment Deal, but Political Hurdles Await

Chinese and European Union leaders agreed on Wednesday to make it easier for companies to operate on each other’s territory, a significant geopolitical victory for China at a time when criticism of its human rights record and handling of the pandemic have left it increasingly isolated. But the landmark pact faces political opposition in Europe and Washington that could ultimately derail it, illustrating the difficulties of dealing with an authoritarian superpower that is both an economic rival and a lucrative market.A large faction in the European Parliament, which must ratify the agreement before it can take effect, opposes …

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Kentucky Hurting While Awaiting Federal Pandemic Aid

In Perry County, Ky., the local government is cutting back on garbage pickup. Magoffin County is laying off public safety workers. And in Floyd County, where food pantries are reporting that demand has tripled over the past month, officials are trying to figure out how to avoid cuts to a program distributing food to families.“A lot of these kids, this is the only meal they get in a day,” said Robert Williams, Floyd County’s judge-executive, the chief elected official. “I can’t ask a kid to sit on a computer all day with nothing to eat.”In cases …

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Why China Turned Against Alibaba’s Jack Ma

Mr. Xi made no secret about what his ideal capitalist should be like. Ten days after the Ant I.P.O. debacle, he toured a museum exhibition devoted to Zhang Jian, an industrialist who was active more than a century ago. Zhang helped build up his hometown, Nantong, and opened hundreds of schools. Business figures in the Xi era, the message went, should also put their nation ahead of business.In a July meeting with the members of the business community, Mr. Xi pointed to Zhang as a role model and urged them to rank patriotism as their top quality. ( …

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China-E.U. Talks Hit Another Snag as Biden Camp Objects

China and the European Commission appeared close to announcing a landmark agreement this week that would make it easier for their companies to invest in each other’s economies. Then it hit another snag: A tweet by a top aide to Joseph R. Biden Jr. signaled that the president-elect was not happy about the deal.The pact, nearly seven years in the making, remains a top priority of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany because it would give companies like Daimler and Volkswagen better control over their operations in China.China, which has long been wary of allowing foreign companies greater …

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Big Tech Turns Its Lobbyists Loose on Europe, Alarming Regulators

On Tuesday, European Union officials led by Ms. Vestager will introduce some of the world’s most far-reaching technology regulations. The rules take aim at so-called gatekeeper platforms, like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, which have an outsize role in the digital economy.Among the expected changes are rules for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which is owned by Google, about moderating user-generated content. Other requirements would make companies disclose more about how services like Google’s and Facebook’s digital advertising products worked. The largest companies could be forced to share some data with small rivals. Stiffer competition rules could …

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France Thought It Could Reverse Globalization, but It’s Still Bleeding Jobs

PARIS — In recent months, Fabrice Chabance has had plenty to keep him awake at night. Two foreign-owned factories in Saint-Florent-sur-Cher, a region of 11,000 people where he is a political leader, have announced plans to move parts of their production lines to countries with lower labor costs.Nearly 200 jobs will be lost, a grim blow to his small industrial community in the Loire Valley. Despite efforts by President Emmanuel Macron to lure manufacturing back to France, Mr. Chabance has few illusions that the globalization that has swept jobs away will be reversed any time soon.“It’s a catastrophe,” said Mr. …

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For the World Economy, a Grim Slog Tempered by New Hopes

Nearly a year into a pandemic that has ravaged the global economy like no time since the Great Depression, the only clear pathway toward improved fortunes is containing the virus itself.With the United States suffering its most rampant transmission yet, and with major nations in Europe again under lockdown, prospects remain grim for a meaningful worldwide recovery before the middle of next year, and far longer in some economies. Substantial job growth could take longer still.A significant hope has emerged this month in the form of three vaccine candidates, easing fears that humanity could be subject to years …

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