News Headlines - 17 February 2020

Japan GDP shrinks 6.3% in October-December | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

New figures from the Japanese government show that GDP shrank in the final quarter of last year, as the consumption-tax increase weighed on consumer spending.
GDP fell by an annualized 6.3 percent in the October-December period. It was the first contraction in five quarters. It was also the biggest fall since the tax was last raised in 2014. In the second quarter of that year, GDP fell 7.4 percent.
Personal consumption makes up more than half of Japan's GDP. It fell by 2.9 percent following the increase in the tax from 8 percent to 10 percent at the beginning of October last year. Sales of cars and electrical appliances tumbled. A warm winter and a series of powerful storms contributed to the drop.

Tokyo Marathon to restrict entry to elite athletes due to coronavirus

Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon said Monday they will allow only some 200 elite athletes, including wheelchair racers, to take part in the upcoming pre-Olympic event, as Japan steps up efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Roughly 38,000 people who were scheduled to compete on March 1 in the "general entry" category can no longer take part because of the virus outbreak in China and its spread to other countries, which has already affected a number of other sports events.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike expressed sympathy for runners in the general category, who gained entry to the race via lottery, saying the move was necessary for public safety.

China postpones year’s biggest political gathering amid coronavirus outbreak | South China Morning Post

China’s annual parliamentary meeting, which was scheduled for early March, will almost certainly be postponed because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The state news agency Xinhua reported that the standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) would discuss the delay later this month - effectively indicating that it would be put back.

Chinese Activist Detained After Calling on Xi to Resign | Voice of America

Prominent Chinese legal academic and activist Xu Zhiyong, who has urged President Xi Jinping to step down over China’s major crises including the coronavirus epidemic, has been detained by authorities in South China, activists said Monday.
His detention is the latest in a crackdown on free speech as China maneuvers to control the narrative on the growing coronavirus epidemic.

South Korea's biggest opposition party changes name again - CNA

South Korea's main opposition party changed its name for the second time in three years on Monday (Feb 17) as it seeks to forge a conservative alliance against left-leaning President Moon Jae-in ahead of April polls.
The Liberty Korea Party - a name it only began using in 2017 as it sought to distance itself from a corruption scandal swirling now-ousted president Park Geun-hye - has declared itself the United Future party while absorbing into its ranks two minor conservative allies.







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