Monthly Archives: May 2014

China official PMI hits five-month high in May, boding well for second quarter

A labourer paints antirust oil on vehicle at a factory in WuhanBy Aileen Wang and Matthew Miller BEIJING (Reuters) – China's factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in five months in May due to rising new orders, official data showed on Sunday, reinforcing views that the world's second-largest economy is regaining momentum in the second quarter following Beijing's targeted measures to bolster growth. The official Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.8 in May from April's 50.4, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday, beating market expectations of 50.6. "The PMI reading continued to improve in May, indicating that a trend of economic stabilization is becoming more evident," Zhang Liqun, a researcher at the Development Research Centre said in the statement accompanying the data. As one of the first leading indicators gauging economic momentum, the improved reading could bode well for other May data, bolstering market expectations that the economy is regaining some strength as the government's pro-growth measures started to kick in.

U.S. soldier freed in Afghanistan, five Taliban prisoners leave Guantanamo

File still image taken from video of U.S. Army Private Bowe Bergdahl watching as one of his captors display his identity tag to the camera at an unknown location in AfghanistanBy Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The last U.S. prisoner of war held in Afghanistan was handed over to U.S. Special Operations forces on Saturday, in a dramatic swap for five Taliban detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay prison and flown to Qatar. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had been held for nearly five years by Afghan militants and his release, following years of on-and-off negotiations, suddenly became possible after harder-line factions of the Afghan Taliban apparently shifted course and agreed to back it, according to U.S. officials. The U.S. forces, who had flown in by helicopter, were on the ground very briefly, said the officials, who would not specify the precise location of the handover.

Exclusive: Shift by hard-line Taliban factions may have sealed prisoner exchange

U.S. President Obama watches as the parents of U.S. Army Sergeant Bergdahl talk about the release of their son at the White House in WashingtonBy Missy Ryan and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The breakthrough leading to Saturday's surprise exchange of a U.S. prisoner of war for five Guantanamo detainees suddenly became possible after harder-line factions of the Afghan Taliban apparently shifted course and agreed to back it, according to U.S. officials. The United States had tried diplomacy since late 2010 to free Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive in Afghanistan for nearly five years. So did the deep-seated fears of Afghan President Hamid Karzai that a deal between the Americans and the Taliban would undercut him and his fragile government. Complicating the talks, U.S. officials said, was an internal split between Taliban factions willing to talk to Americans and those staunchly opposed.

In China, managers are the new labor activists

Workers protest during a strike as police stand guard at a crossroads near the factory area of Yue Yuen Industrial, in DongguanBy Alexandra Harney and John Ruwitch SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Behind China's biggest strike in decades last month was a new player in Chinese labor activism: management. A previously unpublished account from inside the strike at Taiwanese shoe manufacturer Yue Yuen obtained by Reuters shows that supervisors were the first to challenge senior plant leaders about the social insurance contributions that became the focus of the dispute. Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings declined to comment. The involvement of managers underscores the growing complexity and unpredictability of labor relations in China.