The US Federal Reserve reinforced its inflation fight by raising its key interest rate for the seventh time this year and again signalling more hikes to come. It did however announce a smaller hike than it had in its past four meetings at a time when inflation is showing signs of easing. The Fed, America's central bank, made clear in a statement and a news conference by Chair Jerome Powell that it thinks sharply higher rates are still needed to fully tame the worst bout of inflation to strike the economy in four decades.

The benchmark rate was hiked a half-point to a range of 4.25% to 4.5%, its highest level in 15 years. Though lower than its previous three-quarter-point hikes, the latest move could further increase the risk of a recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% and the Nasdaq composite gave back 0.8%. Bond yields mostly fell after a brief rally following the Fed's announcement.

China said that it would stop reporting asymptomatic COVID-19 cases since they've become impossible to track with mass testing no longer required, another step in the country's departure from some of the world's strictest antivirus policies. The change in reporting practices comes the week after the country announced its most significant easing yet of antivirus measures. Meanwhile, China has begun to see what appears to be a rapid increase in new infections, raising concerns that its health system could be overwhelmed just as those in other countries were during early COVID waves.

So far, many of those newly sick are staying home, and there has been little evidence of a surge in patient numbers. But it's difficult to get a clear picture of the spread, and the new reporting rules could make that even harder. Some hospitals have reportedly struggled to remain staffed because of rising infections among employees.

India said its forces clashed with Chinese troops in a disputed area along the border, the first such flare-up in more than a year. The nations had been working to de-escalate tensions since a major clash killed at least 24 troops in 2020. But the Indian army said there had been a clash in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh state last Friday (Dec. 9), with a few soldiers suffering minor injuries.

"Both sides immediately disengaged from the area," the Indian army said. It added that commanders from both sides had held a meeting immediately after "to restore peace and tranquility". India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that some soldiers from both sides had been injured in the skirmish but no Indian soldiers had been "hurt or seriously injured" in the clash. China's Foreign Ministry gave no details on the incident but said that according to their knowledge, the situation on the border with India was "generally stable".

A new government in Peru declared a national emergency amid violent protests over the ouster of President Pedro Castillo, suspending the rights of "personal security and freedom" across the Andean nation for 30 days. Acts of vandalism, violence and highway blockades as thousands of Peruvians are in the streets "require a forceful and authoritative response from the government," Defense Minister Luis Otarola Peñaranda said.

The declaration suspends the rights of assembly and freedom of movement and empowers the police, supported by the military, to search people's homes without permission or judicial order. Otarola said it had not been determined whether a nightly curfew would be imposed. The defence minister said the declaration was agreed to by the council of ministers. It didn't mention Peru's new president, Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in by Congress last week hours after lawmakers ousted Castillo. Boluarte has floated the possibility of scheduling general elections for December 2023 to reporters.

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