World this week
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said her country has no desire to break economic ties with China as she began two days of talks with her Chinese counterpart. The finance leaders are aiming to make progress on a slew of economic issues at a time when competition has markedly intensified between their countries. Yellen's talks with Vice Premier He Lifeng are designed to help lay the groundwork for an expected meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping next week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, which would be their first engagement in nearly a year.
The White House is not expecting Biden's meeting with Xi to result in major changes to the relationship between the two nations, although it hopes to see some signs of progress.With all of the tensions, the two nations have worked to smooth economic ties. Yellen has met with a host of Chinese officials throughout this year.
The military-installed president of Myanmar has warned that the country is in danger of breaking apart if the government cannot control fighting which has broken out in Shan State. Former General Myint Swe, who was appointed after a coup in 2021, was speaking at an emergency meeting held by the ruling military council to address a series of coordinated attacks by anti-military insurgents which have inflicted serious losses on the armed forces.
Three ethnic insurgent armies in Shan State, supported by other armed groups opposing the government, have overrun dozens of military posts, and captured border crossings and the roads carrying most of the overland trade with China. It is the most serious setback suffered by the junta since it seized power in February 2021. The government has responded with airstrikes and artillery bombardments, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. But it has been unable to bring in reinforcements or recover the ground it has lost.
Two Indian states began voting in local elections in a test of strength for India's opposition, which is pitted against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party ahead of a crucial national vote scheduled for next year. The elections in central Chhattisgarh and northeastern Mizoram states, along with polls in three others states over the next three weeks, are expected to give an indication of voter mood before India's political parties gear up for nationwide elections in 2024 in which Modi is eyeing a third consecutive term.
A second round of voting in Chhattisgarh will be held on Nov. 17 along with polls in central Madhya Pradesh state. Polls in two more states, western Rajasthan and southern Telangana, will be held Nov. 23 and Nov. 30. Votes in all five states will be counted on Dec. 3 and results will be declared the same day. Congress, India's main opposition party, holds power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, BJP rules Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram. Telangana is ruled by a strong regional party.
Scientists have discovered the oldest black hole yet, a cosmic beast formed a mere 470 million years after the Big Bang. The findings, published Monday, confirm what until now were theories that supermassive black holes existed at the dawn of the universe. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory teamed up over the past year to make the observations.
Given the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that puts the age of this black hole at 13.2 billion years. Even more astounding to scientists, this black hole is a whopper - 10 times bigger than the black hole in our own Milky Way. It's believed to weigh anywhere from 10% to 100% the mass of all the stars in its galaxy, said lead author Akos Bogdan of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. That is nowhere near the miniscule ratio of the black holes in our Milky Way and other nearby galaxies - an estimated 0.1%, he noted.
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