World this week
The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.1% annual pace from April through June, showing continued resilience in the face of higher borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, the government said in a downgrade from its initial estimate. The government had previously estimated that the economy expanded at a 2.4% annual rate last quarter. The Commerce Department's second estimate of growth last quarter marked a slight acceleration from a 2% annual growth rate from January through March.
Though the economy has been slowed by the Federal Reserve's strenuous drive to tame inflation with interest rate hikes, it has managed to keep expanding, with employers still hiring and consumers still spending. Wednesday's (Aug. 30) report on the nation's gross domestic product - the total output of goods and services - showed that growth last quarter was driven by upticks in consumer spending, business investment and outlays by state and local governments.
Mutinous soldiers in Gabon proclaimed their republican guard chief as the country's leader after placing the just-reelected President Ali Bongo Ondimba under house arrest, alleging betrayal and massive embezzlement during his long-time rule over the oil-rich Central African nation. The coup leaders said in an announcement on Gabon's state TV that Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema had been "unanimously" designated president of a transitional committee to lead the country.
Oligui is a cousin of Bongo, who earlier Wednesday (Aug. 30) had been declared the winner of the country's latest presidential election following 55 years of rule by him and his late father. In a video from detention in his residence, Bongo called on people to "make noise" to support him. But the crowds who took to the streets of the capital instead celebrated the coup against a dynasty accused of getting rich on the country's resource wealth while many of its citizens struggle.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and three Cabinet ministers ate Fukushima fish sashimi at a lunch meeting Wednesday, in an apparent effort to show that fish is safe following the release of treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that began last week. Kishida and the three ministers had sashimi of flounder, octopus and sea bass, caught off the Fukushima coast after the water release, along with vegetables, fruits and a bowl of rice that were harvested in the prefecture, Economy and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who was at the meeting, told reporters.
The release of the treated wastewater into the ocean, which began Thursday (Aug. 31) and is expected to continue for decades, has been strongly opposed by fishing groups and by neighbouring countries. China immediately banned all imports of Japanese seafood in response. In South Korea, thousands of people joined rallies over the weekend to condemn the discharge.
A Pakistan court ordered that former Prime Minister Imran Khan be kept in jail over allegations he leaked classified documents, a day after a judge granted his release in a separate graft case. Since being ousted from power last year, Khan, Pakistan's most popular politician, has been tangled in a slew of legal cases he says are designed to stop him from contesting upcoming elections. Khan's three-year prison term for graft was suspended on Tuesday (Aug. 29), but authorities kept him in custody at Attock prison, around 60 km west of Islamabad, over the leaked documents case.
The case relates to a cable that Khan had touted as proof that he was ousted as part of a US conspiracy backed by the establishment, according to a report by the government's Federal Investigation Agency. Khan was imprisoned on Aug. 5 after being sentenced to three years jail for unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.
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