Here is CurrentHow’s Daily Briefing™ for the 12th December, 2016 :-
1. India : Four dead as Cyclone Vardah lashes southern states :-
A cyclone barrelled into the southeast coast of India on Monday, killing at least four people and bringing down trees and power lines as authorities moved tens of thousands of people from low-lying areas.
Cyclone Vardah moved west over the Bay of Bengal before hitting Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, as well as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the Indian Meteorological Department said, describing it as a “very severe storm”.
Strong wind of up to 140 kph (87 mph) battered the densely populated coast, uprooting trees and bringing down electricity pylons.
Flights at Chennai airport were cancelled, railway services in the area suspended and schools and colleges were closed.
Chennai is home to Indian operations of major auto firms such as Ford Motor Daimler Hyundai and Nissan.
Vardah is forecast to pass over Chennai over the next few hours, drenching the city in heavy rain before easing in intensity, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said.
“Winds to pick up after current lull period. Everyone to not venture out,” the NDMA said on Twitter, adding that two people had been killed and 24 homes damaged.
“Expect very heavy rainfall after few hours. To become better once system crosses completely.”
A “storm surge” will be about one metre (three feet) high.
More than 23,000 people in Tamil Nadu have been moved to relief centres, with plans for tens of thousands more to be evacuated if needed, a senior state official, K. Satyagopal, told Reuters.
2. Trump says the United States not ‘bound by’ One China policy :-
Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of “one China”, in his first Sunday show interview as president-elect, news agency Reuters reports.
Trump’s comments on “Fox News Sunday” came after his phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan on December 2 prompted a diplomatic protest from China.
“I fully understand the ‘one China’ policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘one China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump told Fox, Reuters reports.
“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put into me. I didn’t make the call, and it was a call, very short call saying congratulations, sir, on the victory. It was a very nice call. Short,” Trump added.
Trump’s call with President Tsai Ing-wen was the first such contact with Taiwan by a US president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China”, according to Reuters.
Trump has accused China of manipulating the value of its currency in order to give its products price advantages in the American market.
“We’re being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don’t tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn’t be doing, and frankly with not helping us at all with North Korea,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
“You have North Korea. You have nuclear weapons and China could solve that problem and they’re not helping us at all.”
3. OPEC countries agree to first production cut in 8 years :-
The oil cartel OPEC has agreed to its first production cut in eight years.
Ministers confirmed the cut in oil production has been secured from 33.8 million barrels a day to 32.5 million barrels a day. This has been done to increase prices since they fell more than half since 2014.
There has been a conspicuous oversupply globally and the shale production in the US is booming. There is also a possibility of the US shale producers to increase output and fill in gaps in supply.
Oil prices surged post the announcement and beat trading volume records. Most experts feel the trend would remain modest by historical comparison as other producers will fill the gap unless decided otherwise in the next OPEC meeting.
As soon as the deal was announced, Brent crude saw an uptick of over 8 per cent trading at 50.12 dollars per barrel.
Russia, which is the non-OPEC member, will be reducing oil production by 300,000 per barrel per day. Iran has been exempted from this understanding.
All the OPEC member nations, 14 of them to be precise, will meet the non-OPEC producers on December 9th to assess how much each country will produce.
A wire report mentioned that Algeria, Venezuela and Kuwait have agreed to monitor compliance of the OPEC agreement.
Iraq will be reducing oil output by 200,000 barrels a day to around 4,350,000 barrels per day from January 2017.
According to analysts, Saudi Arabia’s stagnating economy will stand to benefit from cuts and price hikes that follow.
The production cut is estimated to erase close to one per cent of oil output globally.
The pressure for the OPEC came in as globally there was an oversupply for over a decade that brought down the prices.
4. Venezuela scraps country’s largest banknote to thwart mafia menace :-
Venezuela will scrap its largest banknote — the 100 bolivar bill — in a bid to tackle the mafia menace, President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday.
“In accordance with my constitutional powers and through this emergency economic decree, I have decided to take the 100 bolivar bill out of circulation in the next 72 hours,” the president said Sunday on his TV show “Contact with Maduro,” the president said on his TV show ‘Contact with Maduro’.
The country is preparing to issue new banknotes and coins of a much higher value, up to 200 times, than the highest denomination currently available. The 100 bolivar bill’s worth is fewer than three cents of a dollar at current market rates. One would need a stack of 50 notes to buy a hamburger.
Maduro said the decision was made after an investigation found billions of bolivars stashed away by international mafias, mainly in Colombian cities but also in Brazil.
He accused national banks of being accomplices in the “plot” and said they were seeking to “destabilise” the economy.
Jose Guerra, an opposition lawmaker, wrote on Twitter that the central bank must have an equivalent amount of higher currency notes to switch from the 100 bolivar notes. He said he did not believe that the exchange could be possible in such a short amount of time.
Venezuela is in economic crisis due to a falling oil prices.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast the inflation rate will hit 475 per cent by the end of this year.
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