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Rahul raps Modi govt for smashing common man’s budget

As per the National Statistical Office (NSO) data, the consumer price index (CPI) for December was higher than the year-ago month when the retail inflation stood at 2.11 per cent.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Jan 14 : Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi here on Tuesday termed the rising inflation and unemployment as signs of the “economic emergency” and taunted the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doing ‘tukde tukde’ (breaking into pieces) of the budget of the common people.

“High inflation, unemployment and falling GDP have created a state of ‘economic emergency’. Rising vegetables, pulses, edible oil, LPG prices have snatched the food from the poor. Modiji has broken the domestic budget of the countrymen into pieces,” Rahul Gandhi, also the MP from Wayanad in Kerala, said in a tweet in HIndi.

Rahul Gandhi used the ‘tukde-tukde’ jibe against the Prime Minister as the BJP has been accusing the Congress of supporting the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang. It’s often referred to the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) after they raised slogans on the campus.

His remarks have come a day the official data showed on Monday that massive rise in food prices had lifted the December retail inflation to 65-month high of 7.35 per cent from 5.54 per cent in November.

Earlier in the day, party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also criticised the Modi government, saying the BJP had “kicked” on the stomach after picking the poor’s pockets.

“Prices of vegetables and food items are getting out of the reach of common people. What will the poor eat when vegetables, edible oil, pulses and wheat flour become expensive? Due to recession people are not getting work,” she tweeted.

As per the National Statistical Office (NSO) data, the consumer price index (CPI) for December was higher than the year-ago month when the retail inflation stood at 2.11 per cent.

Similarly, the consumer food price index (CFPI) inflated to 14.12 per cent during the month under review from an expansion of 10.01 per cent in November 2019 and (-)2.65 per cent rise reported for the corresponding period of last year.

In addition, the data assumes significance as the Reserve Bank of India in its last monetary policy review maintained the key lending rates on account of rising retail inflation.

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Chinese ‘wet markets’ selling bats, dogs start reopening: Report

“The markets have gone back to operating in exactly the same way as they did before coronavirus,” a Mail on Sunday correspondent in Dongguan was quoted as saying.

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Wuhan of Hubei seafood Market

Beijing, April 1 : Despite concerns that “wet markets” selling live animals like cats, dogs and bats, among others, helped spread the novel coronavirus, these markets have started reopening in several regions in China, said a media report.

While bats are believed to be the primary source of the novel coronavirus, researchers believe that an intermediate host might have carried it to humans. Mail on Sunday correspondents reported seeing meat markets open back up for business in China, the Washington Examiner reported on Monday.

Markets in south-west China’s Guilin and southern China’s Dongguan are back in business where meats of domesticated animals like cats and dogs are sold, said the report.

Following report that the wet markets might have contributed to the spread of the coronavirus, the Chinese government earlier banned the sale of wild animals.

“The markets have gone back to operating in exactly the same way as they did before coronavirus,” a Mail on Sunday correspondent in Dongguan was quoted as saying.

“The only difference is that security guards try to stop anyone taking pictures which would never have happened before.

“Wet markets in China has long been drawing criticism for being unhygienic and cruel to animals. Restrictions across China started lifting as coronavirus cases in the country started levelling off.”

Some restrictions were lifted even from Wuhan where the outbreak originated. COVID-19, the diseases caused by novel coronavirus, has spread across the world, infecting over 880,000 people, while killing more than 44,000 people.

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Global economy could shrink by 1% in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Stock Market Down

United Nations, April 2 : The global economy could shrink by up to 1 per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may contract even further if restrictions on economic activities are extended without adequate fiscal responses, according to analysis released on Wednesday by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

The UN-DESA briefing finds that millions of workers are at risk of losing their jobs as nearly 100 countries close their national borders. That could translate to a global economic contraction of 0.9 per cent by the end of 2020, or even higher if governments fail to provide income support and help boost consumer spending, Xinhua reported citing the UN-DESA study.

According to the forecast, lockdowns in Europe and North America are hitting the service sector hard, particularly industries that involve physical interactions such as retail trade, leisure and hospitality, recreation and transportation services. Collectively, such industries account for more than a quarter of all jobs in these economies.

As businesses lose revenue, unemployment is likely to increase sharply, transforming a supply-side shock to a wider demand-side shock for the economy. The severity of the impact will largely depend on the duration of restrictions on the movement of people and economic activities and on the scale and efficacy of responses by national treasuries.

Against that backdrop, the UN-DESA is joining a chorus of voices across the UN system calling for well-designed fiscal stimulus packages which prioritize health spending and support households most affected by the pandemic.

“Urgent and bold policy measures are needed, not only to contain the pandemic and save lives, but also to protect the most vulnerable in our societies from economic ruin and to sustain economic growth and financial stability,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs.

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Wall Street tumbles amid deepening coronavirus fears

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Wall Street

New York, April 2 : Wall Street’s major averages tumbled on Wednesday amid deepening concerns over the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 973.65 points, or 4.44 per cent, to close at 20,943.51. The S&P 500 fell 114.09 points, or 4.41 per cent, to 2,470.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 339.52 points, or 4.41 per cent, to 7,360.58, Xinhua reported.

The three major averages dropped more than 5 per cent at session lows.

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors pulled back noticeably, with utilities and real estate both down more than 6 percent at the close, representing the two worst-performing groups.

The US became the first nation with more than 200,000 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, according to a new tally from Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 203,608 confirmed cases have been reported in the United States, with 4,476 deaths, showed the tally updated by the university’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Health experts with the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Tuesday that even with the Trump administration’s national social distancing guidelines in place, Americans still should be prepared for the prospect of the coronavirus causing 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the country.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that the nation should prepare for “a very painful, very, very painful two weeks.”

On the data front, economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in March amid the coronavirus fallout, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported on Wednesday. The ISM manufacturing index slipped to 49.1 per cent in March from the February reading of 50.1 per cent.

US private sector employment decreased by 27,000 jobs from February to March, according to payroll data company Automatic Data Processing on Wednesday.

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