News In Focus: A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories


Finance: The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) voted on Monday to include the yuan, the currency being circulated in China, in its basket of reserve currencies.

The yuan will become the fifth member and the third biggest currency of IMF’s special drawing rights (SDRs) currency basket alongside the dollar, the Japanese yen, sterling, and the euro when it takes effect on October 1, 2016.

The move is considered a validation of the Chinese government’s efforts over the past few years to liberalize financial markets and free up flows of funds into and out of its capital markets.

What are SDRs? CNBC International explains:


Environment: World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, gathered on Monday in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), the biggest climate-change talks among nations.

Some 30,000 diplomats and delegates from more than 200 countries are expected to attend the two-week climate talk with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the key tasks? Preventing the world’s mean surface temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above that of pre-industrial times.

For more, we go to PBS NewsHour:


Japan: In the brief course of a week, the world has lost two well-loved and notable Japanese artists.

A belated announcement was made on November 26th that the legendary actress Setsuko Hara died on September 5th at the age of 95.

Hara starred in several films by internationally acclaimed director Yasujiro Ozu, including the 1949 film “Late Spring,” and the 1953 film “Tokyo Story.”

The much admired actress was born in Yokohama on 17 June 1920.  She made her screen debut in the silent film “Tamerau nakare Wakodo yo” (Don’t hesitate, young people) in 1935, and reached stardom after appearing in the 1936 film “Kochiyama Soshun” directed by Sadao Yamanaka. Hara retired from acting in 1962 at age 42 and lived as a recluse in Kamakura.  She remained unmarried.

On Monday, widely popular Japanese animator Shigeru Mizuki died at 93. The Asahi Shimbun described Mr Mizuki as being “famed for his works featuring demons, ghouls and the horrors of warfare.”  He became a household name for his creation of Kitaro, a one-eyed ghost-boy that “spawned an empire of live-action and animated films, a musical, and five television series,” according to the New York Times.

Mizuki was born on 8 March 1922 in Osaka to a wealthy family in the wholesale business.  The family moved to rural Tottori before Mizuki was drafted into the army in 1943.

Mizuki returned to drawing after the war.  Themes about death, destruction and rebirth – as well as his criticism and disgust about war — are deeply entrenched in his works.

NHK World remembers:


Books: It is still four weeks from the end of the year, but The Guardian has gotten a jump start, listing its favorite fictional works of 2015.  Click here to glimpse the paper’s selections.

We leave you this week with a look at some of the best books of all-time, courtesy of


Have a story that you’d like us to cover or review? Contact NewsWhistle’s Tony Church at


Lead-In Image: French President François Hollande and U.S. President Barack Obama at the Paris COP21; Courtesy of Frederic Legrand – COMEO /