News In Focus: From China’s Bear Market To Spain’s Bull Run

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

China: Investors are worried that a far grimmer financial crisis than the Greek loan default looms in China.

The Chinese government’s financial policy measures to stop the stock market plunge over the last month have been ineffective.

Despite several interest rate cuts, allowing the use of government pension funds to prop up the equity market ,and threats of stringent punishment against speculators on a market drop, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets showed little sign of a revival.

According to the New York Times, the recent stock market losses are equal to three months of China’s economic output, which reached US$10.3 trillion last year.

On Saturday, 21 brokerage firms agreed to set up a US$19.4 billion fund to buy blue-chip stocks; the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges halted all new initial public offerings.

On Sunday, the People’s Bank of China promised to give financial support to the state-controlled China Securities Finance Corporation to implement market-stabilizing initiatives.

Trading of a total of 1,473 companies, or 51% of all stocks on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets has been suspended.

These “brute” measures, as described by China’s Premier Li Keqiang, seem to have paid off, as the Shanghai Composite index rose 5.8% to 3709.33 on Thursday and the Shenzhen market rose 3.8%, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Further analysis can be found in this Bloomberg report:


Sport: The U.S. beat Japan 5 to 2 in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday.

The victory avenged a 2011 loss (when the U.S. dropped the final to Japan on penalty kicks) and set a record for America (the first country to win three women’s World Cups).

The tournament was held in the BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, in front of a crowd of more than 53,000, including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. And over 25 million Americans cheered in front of their TV sets, making it the most-watched soccer game ever in the U.S., according to Sports Illustrated.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd became an instant celebrity as she scored three goals for the U.S. team in the first 16 minutes of the game, as seen in the highlights below:


UK: Millions of London commuters scrambled desperately for alternative transport back home when the London Underground, the capital’s metro system, came to a halt on Wednesday.

The essential service, by which more than 4 million trips through the city are made each day, was suspended after Underground staff walked out of a negotiation over pay and conditions with the management.

The union announced that the strike will end on Thursday night and services will resume on Friday morning.

The dispute arises from the London Underground’s plan to launch the Night Tube, a weekend round-the-clock train service, on 12 September.

The unions, which called the 24-hour strike, blamed the London Underground for disregarding the issues of fairness, safety, work/life balance, and equality which the staff took to heart.

London Mayor Boris Johnson criticized the strike as being “unnecessary,” and he added that London Underground’s workers had already been offered “a very, very fair deal.”

For those who have never been to London, or just need a refresher, here’s a nice introduction to the Underground:


Spain: The nine-day San Fermin Festival kicked off in the Spanish City of Pamplona this week – and with it comes an event highlight, the running of the bulls.

The annual fiesta features 24-hour street partying. And each morning, six fighting bulls (each weighing some 500 kg) are let loose in a narrow town street to dash some 850 meters to the city’s bullring.

Joining the beasts for the sprint are tourists and local town folk who try to outrun the bulls and avoid being tossed and butted by them. Unfortunately, dozens are injured each year during the runs.

This year, 11 participants were hurt on the first day, including two Americans and three Britons. Five more were injured on Thursday.

While those injuries have been slight, the bulls face a far worse fate. Invariably, professional matadors slaughter them during the bullfights that follow their runs.

For more on the festival, we go to Rick Steves:


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Lead-In Image (stock photo): EkaterinaP /