|U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of the U.S. economy and the need to pass coronavirus disease (COVID-19) aid legislation as Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen listen in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2021 (Photo: Reuters)|
Democrats clear path for approval of Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID package
President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress forged ahead with their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Friday as lawmakers approved a budget outline that will allow them to muscle Biden's plan through in the coming weeks without Republican support.
Meeting at the White House, Biden and top Democrats said they wanted to enact the massive aid package as quickly as possible to beat back a pandemic that has killed more than 450,000 Americans and left millions of jobless.
Biden said he was open to compromise with Republicans as long as they did not slow things down.
"If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation ... that's an easy choice. I'm going to help the American people hurting now," he said.
Republicans have floated a $600 billion aid package, less than a third the size of the Democratic plan. Even some Democrats, like Larry Summers, an economic adviser to former President Barack Obama, have warned that Biden might be spending too much.
Republican Representative Michael Burgess said Congress should wait until all of the previous $4 trillion in pandemic relief has been spent. He said $1 trillion has yet to go out the door.
The budget resolution enables Democrats to pass Biden's plan by a simple majority in the 100-member Senate instead of the 60 votes required for most legislation. That means Democrats, who control 50 seats in the 100-seat chamber, might not need Republican votes. Democrats have a 10-seat majority in the House, as reported by Reuters.
Kremlin says Biden comments on Russia are ‘aggressive, unconstructive and rhetoric’
The Kremlin on Friday described comments made by U.S. President Joe Biden the previous day as "aggressive, unconstructive rhetoric" and said it would not tolerate any U.S. ultimatums.
Biden on Thursday promised a new era of U.S. foreign policy in his first diplomatic address as president and said he had told President Vladimir Putin that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of what he called Russia's aggressive actions were over.
Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: Reuters)
"This is very aggressive, unconstructive rhetoric, to our regret," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.
He said the Kremlin hoped however that there could still be useful dialogue between the two countries when their interests coincided, as reported by US News.
UK regulator revokes Chinese TV licence, Beijing complains about BBC 'fake news'
Britain’s media regulator on Thursday revoked a Chinese TV licence after it concluded that the Chinese Communist Party had ultimate editorial responsibility for the channel while Beijing lodged an official complaint over the BBC’s COVID-19 coverage.
Britain and China have been exchanging barbs for months over Beijing’s crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong, concerns over the security of Huawei technology and the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China’s remote Xinjiang region, Reuters said.
After an investigation, the British regulator Ofcom concluded that China Global Television Network’s (CGTN), an English language international Chinese channel, was ultimately controlled by the Communist Party.
|(Photo: The News Caravan)|
CGTN, in a statement early on Friday, said it “expresses its disappointment in and strong opposition to” the Ofcom ruling, and added that it complies with laws and regulations.
China’s foreign ministry complained about coverage broadcast on Jan. 29 about the coronavirus, saying that the BBC had recently “linked the pandemic to politics” and “rehashed theories about covering up by China”.
It said the publicly funded BBC used a clip to say the Chinese virus prevention department had used violence to enforce the law, when it was actually a clip about a anti-terrorism exercise.
The BBC said it stood by its “accurate and fair reporting of events in China and totally rejects these unfounded accusations of fake news or ideological bias”.
“The BBC is the world’s most trusted international broadcaster, reporting to a global audience of more than 400m people weekly without fear or favour,” its statement added.
Myanmar blocks Twitter and Instagram
Myanmar further expanded its internet crackdown, ordering a block of Twitter and Instagram days after the country's military seized power in a coup.
The move comes barely a day after a similar block of Facebook.
On Friday, the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications ordered mobile networks and internet service providers in the country to block Twitter and Instagram, according to Norwegian company Telenor, which offers mobile services in the country.
|(Photo: Strait Times)|
"While the directive has legal basis in Myanmar's telecommunications law, Telenor Myanmar has challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive ... and highlighted the directive's contradiction with international human rights law," the company said in a statement.
While the dramatic overthrow of Suu Kyi's government attracted international attention, continued disruptions to internet access and communications mean that many in Myanmar may still be unclear about what is taking place, CNN said.
Gold price forecast - gold markets recover slightly
Gold markets recovered slightly during the trading session on Friday after the jobs report was somewhat dismal.
Gold markets have formed a little bit of a ‘harami’ candlestick formation, which will capture the attention of some people. That being said, it looks as if the $1750 level underneath remains very supportive, so we will have to see whether or not the market can actually break down below it. If it does, then gold will unwind. On the other hand, if we take out the Thursday candlestick it is likely the gold will rally again and go looking towards the $1900 level, perhaps even followed by the $1960 level.
|(Photo: NBC News)|
Interest rates in the United States have been rising, so that does tend to work against the value of gold, something worth paying attention to. With that in mind I like the idea of waiting for an impulsive candle in one direction or the other to put any money to work because quite frankly we are at a major decision point. Remember, you do not make the decisions for the market, it is the other way around. With that in mind I like the idea of playing the next trade based upon the next large candlestick, according to FX Empire.
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