Saturday News and Notes

Global Economy
For the second time in a month, China cuts interest rates as International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde says the Fund will reduce global growth forecasts in light of the continuing crisis.

And weak US jobs data released on Friday – only 80,000 new jobs added – served to underscore the IMF’s concerns. And the meager growth is impacting economies in Asia as the decision by Hong Kong to revise its own forecasts in light of the global crisis indicates.

Syria
Western diplomats applauded the defection of Syrian Brig. Gen. ManafTlass, who defected earlier this week, but it was one of the only positive developments this week.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was outspoken in criticizing the role of Russia and China in providing support to the regime of Bashar al-Assad. China’s official news agency was quick to respond and termed US criticism of its role in Syria as “unacceptable.”

As the crisis remains unresolved, the emerging fear is of the violence extending beyond Syria’s borders and the killing of two civilians in Lebanon only reinforced those fears.

China
Obama administration files complaint against China on auto sales tariffs, while Cuba’s Raul Castro looks to China as an example for framing the nation’s economic policy.

Et cetera
US State Department grants major non-NATO ally status on Afghanistan.

Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia argues that democracy in China is just a matter of time.

Former President George W. Bush creating a post-presidential legacy in Africa

Read more about the work of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

WSJ Saturday Essay: Is the US anywhere near gaining control of health care costs?

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