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In Brazil, an indigenous woman joins Bolsonaro in the struggle for mining | Instant News


RAPOSA SERRA DO SOL, Brazil (Reuters) – Irisnaide Silva is female, Brazilian and native.

Irisnaide Silva, 32, an Indigenous leader of one of the two main indigenous groups in Roraima state in the Amazon, gestures at the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation, Roraima state, Brazil, October 5, 2020. Image taken October 5, 2020. REUTERS / Leonardo Benassatto NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

And for once, in her sight, she was heard.

For decades his family selected and panned the border near Venezuela, scouring the hills for diamonds and gold.

They continued digging even after Brazil marked the land in 2005 as indigenous territory, an act that banned mining despite protests from his family and other wildlife in his Macuxi tribe.

Now, Silva is none other than the ear of Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil.

A nationalist who deeply resents the global green movement for his desire to develop the Amazon rainforest, Bolsonaro has twice met Silva in the Brazilian capital.

He first saw him, along with several like-minded tribal leaders, soon after taking power in January 2019 discussing a bill that would allow mining on native land.

“Some people want you to stay on indigenous territories like prehistoric animals,” Bolsonaro said at the meeting. “Below the ground you have billions or trillions of dollars.”

Silva, 32, heads one of the two main indigenous groups in the Amazon state of Roraima. But other groups, and many other indigenous associations, see him as traitors manipulated by greedy intruders seeking to seize land and resources.

He doesn’t care.

“I’ve been called a white Indian,” Silva told Reuters of the chicks chirping in his steel-roofed home in the Raposa Serra do Sol reserve. Although his mixed-race background was unusual, critics used it to question his credibility.

“Others say I can’t lead because I’m a woman.”

His drive for development – and Bolsonaro’s desire to activate it – goes far beyond questions about mining and material wealth. It challenged decades of government policies trying to deter intruders and sparked a historical debate over whether some of the world’s most isolated tribes should be integrated into modern society or left alone, along with the Amazon.

Larger than Western Europe and home to nearly all of Brazil’s indigenous lands, the world’s largest rainforest is a bulwark against climate change, its vegetation serving as a giant filter for greenhouse gases.

The native land makes up 13% of Brazil – a protected area roughly the size of Egypt. But with indigenous people making up less than 0.5% of Brazil’s population, agricultural and mining groups have long watched this low-population area voraciously.

It is unclear whether Bolsonaro’s bill will pass the tough Brazilian Congress or how profitable mining is on this land. But the timing has never been more favorable for the president, with allies recently winning leadership in both assemblies and the COVID-hit economy desperately in need of investment. Bolsonaro has made the bill a priority for 2021.

By working with several indigenous people, activists say he is exacerbating tensions within tribes through division and conquest methods that have historically helped destroy native lands around the world.

“Bolsonaro is using a colonial strategy,” said Antenor Vaz, a former veteran field agent for Brazil’s customary affairs agency Funai.

‘NEW EL DORADO’

The prospect of legalization has led thousands of prospectors to venture into indigenous territories.

The Bolsonaro bill lays down a regulatory framework to open up this area to legal mining for the first time. Controversially, it will not give indigenous peoples veto power.

Many indigenous communities continue to lead rural lifestyles, pursuing little modern development beyond small-scale agriculture. But Silva and people like him believe that natives have the same rights as other Brazilians to exploit their resources.

The state of Roraima, with a small mining industry due to its large reserves, is already attracting investors. Anastase Papoortzis, head of state development company Codesaima, told Reuters the company had 29 exploration permits in indigenous territories and would attend a mining fair in Canada this year.

“It’s been set for us to go and present Roraima as a new mining frontier, the new El Dorado,” he said.

Lust for treasure, and the destruction it causes, has shaped this northern part of the Amazon basin since the Europeans arrived in the 18th century. Early maps even place El Dorado, the legendary city of gold, somewhere between green hills and scarred purple stone.

Since then the seekers have come.

In the 1950s, Silva’s grandfather arrived from northeast Brazil to try his luck. He married a local Macuxi woman and started a family. Silva Celson’s father, now 68, has been out digging with his father since the age of eight.

Silva was also looking forward to his childhood, but only during the holidays because his father insisted he stay at school, walking three hours a day to attend class. “I’m still mine sometimes,” she said, “but it’s bad for my nails.”

In the 2000s, when he finished school and was trained to become a teacher, indigenous factions competed over how to protect their homeland. The struggle at Raposa Serra do Sol has become a symbol of the Brazilian debate on indigenous policies.

While the larger Roraima Adat Council (CIR) wants sustainable nature reserves that remove outsiders from the area, Silva’s Society for the Defense of the United Indians of Roraima (Sodiurr) believes peasants should be allowed to stay, defining tribal areas as islands in around them. property.

Sodiurr argues that rice and cow farmers, who moved there in the previous decades, brought jobs and development.

After April 15, 2005, when the government ratified the Raposa Serra do Sol as a sustainable nature reserve, many farmers resisted eviction. Sporadic attacks on indigenous enemies raged for several years, injuring more than a dozen people.

‘THERE WILL BE BLOOD’

Silva didn’t fight, but it did inform his politics.

After a tenure as a city councilor, he won the leadership election of Sodiurr in 2019 and amplified his pro-development, pro-integration message. As he put it: “Nobody here wants to walk around with their sobs.”

He has expanded their social media presence and aligned organizations with right-wing state and federal governments.

Membership has also increased, according to Silva. Seven communities have changed allegiance, leaving CIR to join him, while eight others are in conversation, he said. There are about 350 indigenous communities in the state.

Edinho Batista de Souza, a CIR leader, said he was not aware the community was changing sides.

“The presidency (Sodiurr) does not speak the same language as the people,” he told Reuters. “The government is trying to manipulate some of the leaders, including the president, but the bases don’t agree with this idea.”

Although Sodiurr’s membership is less than half the CIR, smaller organizations now have support in Brasilia.

“It’s an old problem, but they used to be in the minority, now they have the President of the Republic … now they are in power,” said Marcio Meira, a former head of Funai who worked closely with both sides during the demarcation.

Funai, responding to a Reuters question, said he did not know the size of each group or how they might change. He declined to comment on the competition, other than saying it did not condone violence.

Bolsonaro’s agenda appears to trigger change before a vote on his mining bill.

Near Napoleao, a customary town of 1,200 people in the mountains south of Raposa Serra do Sol, workers sweat from dawn to dusk, cutting deep into the rocks.

Some have pneumatic workouts, but most chase purple veins with only muscles and pickaxes. Miners of wood from the rock face, bent under the lucky sack.

The “mountains”, as the five feral cat mines are known, have been running since July 2019. It has driven the change that Silva so desperately wants.

The city gets 4% of mining profits, according to Carpejane Lima, 38, the town’s traditional leader and ally of Silva. The diggers took 74% and those with the machines to extract gold took the last 22%.

“The power company has cut off electricity because we can’t pay the bills,” said Lima, in the shade of a mango tree. Now a cavalry of diesel generators is turning next to the general store which is reopening. Across the street, there is a stand selling replica soccer shirts.

“We can make this a prosperous city,” said Lima, a 48 gram gold bracelet gleaming on her wrist.

But mining brings in outsiders. Some tribes have the skills or capital needed to crush and process ore. This arrival, say critics, brought drugs, prostitution and disease. Mercury, which is used to separate gold, also appears at alarming levels in the blood of some indigenous people.

Since Bolsonaro was elected, CIR said 2,000 miners had trespassed on Raposa Serra do Sol to work on mines like this. Silva emphasized that only the native wild in the country.

In a hole by the river near Silva’s house, where his father lived under a tarp for weeks, a small group dug in the scorching sun.

“We will fight for what is ours,” said Celson. “If people who don’t belong come here to try and stop us, there will be blood.”

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Additional reporting by Leonardo Benassatto; Edited by Brad Haynes and Andrew Cawthorne

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Divided on to Draghi, the Italian 5 Star is experiencing an identity crisis | Instant News


ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s 5 Star Movement, once the prototype for successful populist and anti-establishment parties across Europe, is at a crossroads. Is it fully embracing the political mainstream, or turning back to being an outsider?

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi drinks during a debate in the Senate ahead of a vote of confidence for the government, in Rome, Italy, February 17, 2021. REUTERS / Yara Nardi / Pool / File Photo

With support dwindling, his fate could shape Italian politics for years to come, and the battle lines for his future have been drawn.

When the head of state asked the former head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi on February 2 to try to form a government, and end the Italian political stalemate, the 5-Star leadership immediately shelved its support.

But its founder, 72-year-old former comedian Beppe Grillo, had other ideas. Four days later, he was rushing from his home in Genoa to attend a crisis meeting in Rome with some 30 top 5-Star MPs.

At a meeting in a conference room in the capital’s labyrinthine Deputy Chamber, he explained that the original 5-Star decision had to be overturned, according to a lawmaker present.

“When we walked in Grillo was pretending to be talking to someone on the phone; It’s a kind of comedy act, ”said the source, who declined to be named because the meeting was closed. “He’s discussing … why we should be part of the government.”

Some 5-star politicians and voters were very unhappy with the demands imposed by Grillo.

At Draghi’s first parliamentary vote on Wednesday, 23 of 92 5 Star senators opposed the party line and refused to support him. The interim leader of 5-Star Vito Crimi said most of them would be expelled.

POPULAR WAVES

If the 5-Star emerges from its crisis further weakening or turns into a mainstream progressive party, it could mark the end of the populist wave that swept through Italy in the last election and which worries financial markets and its European partners.

Matteo Salvini’s league has shifted out of the right flank to get behind Draghi.

In some ways, 5-Star follows a similar trajectory to other populist parties in Southern Europe such as Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

The three of them attain strength, but have been absorbed into the mainstream they vow to fight and watch their support wither.

“I don’t know what to call us now. Maybe an anti-establishment party ?, ”5-star lawmaker Raphael Raduzzi told Reuters. “We have to ask ourselves what we want to be.”

Grillo gave up day-to-day involvement in 5-Star affairs some five years ago, but when the big decisions had to be made, he was still the one to decide.

Shortly before his meeting with 5-star lawmakers, he wrote a blog post calling on the new government to appoint a transitional ecology minister with full responsibility for energy policy.

Grillo has spoken with Draghi and received assurances that this ministry will be created in exchange for 5-Star support, a source close to the 5-Star founder told Reuters.

Grillo, who communicates with the public primarily through his blog, declined to comment for this article.

Draghi’s spokesman confirmed Grillo and Draghi were talking about forming a government.

“They agreed on the importance of creating a government with a strong emphasis on ecological transitions,” he said.

ECOLOGY

Ecology has always been a central part of the 5-Star platform. It is one of the five “star” policies from which it takes its name. Sustainable transportation is another.

Italy, unlike Germany and France, has never had a successful Green party and Grillo is looking at the loophole in hopes of saving his party from gradual extinction.

Huge numbers and high aspirations were involved. The European Commission has ordered that policies to fight climate change should cover 37% of the Recovery Fund set up to help the bloc’s hard-hit economy, its single largest component.

In Italy’s case, that means 70 billion euros ($ 85 billion) to spend on the green transition over the next six years.

“Now the environment. Whatever it takes, “Grillo tweeted this week in the style of Draghi’s Andy Warhol, referring to the former ECB chief’s famous pledge in 2012 to do” whatever it takes “to save the euro.

The 5 star is the biggest force in parliament thanks to its victory in the 2018 election when it won 33% of the vote, double the tally of its closest rival.

It now has less than 15%, making it the fourth largest party in Italy, and is in dire need of a new identity.

He has four ministers in Draghi’s newly formed cabinet, but for many members, supporting the government of the former head of the ECB is unacceptable. Doing so in coalition with sworn enemies made matters worse.

Founded in 2009 as a channel for protest against alleged corruption and the cronyism of Italy’s political and business elite, 5 Bintang supports internet-based direct democracy and vows never to form alliances with traditional parties.

In the past three years it has ruled in two coalitions, with center right and left, and is now set to rule with both at once.

“For me this is a step too far,” said Raduzzi, the lower house deputy who opposes joining the technocrat government and career politician.

A LEADER OF THE FUTURE?

Raduzzi did not leave the party, unlike one of its most popular figures – Alessandro Di Battista – who frequently wrote articles attacking Draghi or members of his government.

Di Battista, a charismatic 42-year-old man, left after the decision to support Draghi, but his followers expect him to return when the time is right and see him as a future leader.

The battle for the future of the 5-Star will most likely be contested over the opposing visions of Di Battista on the one hand and Grillo on the other.

Grillo, for now in the driving seat, wants to turn 5-Star into a neighborhood, pro-EU party allied with the center-left Democrats to compete with Salvini’s right-hand bloc.

Di Battista wants 5 Stars to avoid structural alliances with the left and regain his old anti-establishment fervor, with a more critical attitude toward the EU and big business.

“I believe this government is committing suicide for the 5 Star Movement and bad for Italy,” Di Battista told Reuters. He did not rule out a return to 5 Star rank in the future.

The risk of the 5-Star, currently in the hands of the uncharismatic Criminal, is that whatever path the party takes, at the next election in 2023, its decline is irreversible.

The slump in 5-Star support is hardly surprising, given that they are also the anti-establishment party in government. Without enough seats in parliament to govern itself, the movement also joins either the left or the right.

Unlike the left-wing Syriza and Podemos, or the right-wing National Rally in France and the Austrian Freedom Party, the 5-Star has always presented itself as an ideological free movement with voters from the left and right alike.

Some political commentators believe that the best chance of a revival lies with former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has no party affiliation but is close to a 5-Star.

The message Conte posted on Facebook on his final day as prime minister received more than a million likes, a record for an Italian politician. He vowed to “continue the path” of his 16-month, left-wing rule in the future.

Millions of 5-star voters, and some of his politicians, expect him to do so as their leader.

($ 1 = 0.8275 euros)

Written by Gavin Jones; Edited by Mike Collett-White

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Australian media companies are racking up more and more from Google when new laws emerge | Instant News


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia claimed an early win in a protracted licensing battle with Google on Wednesday as media companies lined up to announce a content deal with the internet giant that was reportedly far more lucrative than their global rivals.

A month after company owned by Alphabet Inc threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia to circumvent what it called an “unworkable” content law, the two largest free-to-air television broadcasters in the country had struck a $ 60 million mutual agreement. ($ 47). million) a year, according to media reports.

That’s dwarfing Google’s $ 76 million to be split between 121 publishers in France over three years, which averages $ 209,000 a year per publisher, as reported by Reuters.

The Australian deal comes days before the government plans to pass legislation allowing it to appoint an arbitrator to charge Google content if it cannot reach an agreement in person, a factor that government figures and the media see as a turning point for negotiations. which stopped a year earlier.

“I don’t think they will be able to get that kind of money if they have to enter into normal negotiations with such a strong company,” said Paul Budde, an independent internet analyst, referring to the company’s Australian media.

Google and Nine declined to comment on an anonymous report in the Nine newspaper on Wednesday that said the company had reached an agreement. Seven and Google said two days earlier they had reached an agreement, without giving money.

Although the individual deals mean Google avoids government-appointed arbitrators with the companies, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he will continue with the law.

FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with the Google app icon seen in front of the Australian flag in an illustration taken on January 22, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

The local branch of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which has led a campaign for years to get the internet giants to pay for content that drives traffic to their platform, has yet to sign a Google deal. News Corp, which owns two-thirds of Australia’s major city newspapers, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Neither of these deals would have happened if we didn’t have laws in Parliament,” Frydenberg told reporters.

Australian antitrust commissioner Rod Sims, who drafted the media law, declined to comment but a spokesman directed Reuters to an earlier statement in which Sims described the law as a “backup” preventing internet platforms from imposing “a requirement on take-it-or -” leave-it ”.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Although details of the Australian deal have not been disclosed, the small outlets that signed the Google deal last year ahead of their larger rivals said they were approached individually by a US company and asked to present their own scoring method for content that will appear in the “Google Showcase”. “News platform.

This contrasts with the French negotiations, which were conducted on behalf of the publisher by the Alliance de la presse d’information generale (APIG), the lobby group that represents most of the major French publishers.

In contrast to Australian law, where the government can intervene if the parties cannot reach an agreement, French rules, enforced under recent EU legislation, only require Big Tech’s platform to open talks with publishers requesting payment.

“The (Australian) bargaining context is overwhelming in which government law presses digital platforms to be discussed, and it has strengthened the publisher’s hand and contributed to this result,” said Misha Ketchell, editor of The Conversation, an academically focused website that signed a Google deal last year.

Separately, Reuters news agency, a division of Thomson Reuters Corp., struck a deal with Google in January, becoming the first global news provider for the Google News Showcase.

($ 1 = 1.2903 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Edited by Sam Holmes

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African miners and winemakers toast China’s dispute with Australia | Instant News


CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – For South African winemaker Vergenoegd Löw, the pandemic could be catastrophic, but a fierce trade war between China and Australia has cost the 325-year-old plantation its toll.

Bottles of South African wine on display include supermarkets in Beijing, China February 4, 2021. Image taken February 4, 2021. REUTERS / Florence Lo

Its red, white and rose bottles pile up as South Africa bans the sale of alcohol under tight lockdown and visitors who once flock to vineyards near Cape Town to sip wine and snap photos of the notorious Indian Runner duck disappear.

That changed when Beijing imposed tariffs of up to 212% on Australian wines in November after Canberra led a call for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

Not just wine. Beijing hit various Australian goods with customs, created a new layer of bureaucracy and outright banned some Australian imports, giving a boost to African suppliers of anything from coal to beef to copper.

“We can now get a much larger volume of sales,” said Shaun McVey, marketing manager at Vergenoegd Löw, which has signed the new deal in China. “Instead of shipping maybe three or four containers a year, we’ve increased that to 15 to 20 containers.”

Chinese drinkers bought nearly 40% of Australia’s wine exports before long-burning tensions between Beijing and Canberra peaked and brought trade to a sudden halt.

Over the past three months, South African wine exports to China have surged 50%, according to trading agency Wines of South Africa, and hopes are high for more sales after Australian stocks waned during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

Martyn Davies, Deloitte’s managing director for emerging markets and Africa, said a protracted trade war would create a wide window of opportunity for miners and other sectors such as agribusiness, although exploiting that potential would require work.

The Chinese market presents a variety of constraints, from incomprehensible language and bureaucratic barriers to tailoring marketing to its unique social media ecosystem, analysts say.

“Many African companies are significantly behind the curve,” said Davies Deloitte. “Australian companies have engaged China for 35 years.”

BAUXITE IMPROVEMENT

The lack of a trade agreement between China and countries in sub-Saharan Africa also means exporters may face an uphill battle.

Despite its increasingly important role as an investor in the continent, China only signed its first free trade agreement with the African nation, the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, in January.

Thus, while some African products may overtake Australian goods in the pecking order, they remain at a disadvantage when competing with exports from countries with preferential Chinese trade terms such as Chile, Peru or New Zealand.

In the mining sector, China has spent the last decade scaling up projects in Africa to maintain the flow of raw materials to the manufacturing giants.

The investment is now paying off and African producing countries are pocketing royalties as exports to the world’s second largest economy get a boost at the expense of Australia.

Last year, state-owned Aluminum Corp of China Ltd, known as Chalco, shipped the first cargo of bauxite from the Guinea project, and a prolonged trade war between China and Australia will only help the West African nation’s economy.

Australia’s shipments to China of the stone used to make aluminum fell 22% in the last quarter of 2020 while imports from Guinea jumped 70%, according to Chinese customs data.

That’s after Guinea tripled its bauxite production between 2015 and 2019 when mining projects began operating, with most of it shipped to China. During the same period, Guinea’s gross domestic product jumped 40%.

Graph – China turned to Guinean bauxite because it avoided Australia:

Meanwhile, Chinese copper concentrate imports from Australia plunged to zero in December 2020. At the same time, exports were up 17% from the Democratic Republic of Congo, another country where Chinese companies such as China Molybdenum have invested heavily to secure major mineral supplies.

The South African coal industry has also received a much needed boost. Sales of Australian thermal coal to China, which is mainly used in power generation, and metallurgical coal for steelmaking, slumped to zero in December.

South Africa’s first shipment of thermal coal to China in five years landed last month and exporters expect sales to pick up further in 2021.

Graph – China’s copper imports from the DRC soar:

‘INNOVATIVE AND BEAUTIFUL’

To address the lack of a trade agreement with China, Standard Bank South Africa, which is partly owned by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, has sought to equalize.

Africa’s biggest bank measured by assets uses online platforms and events to match its customers with Chinese buyers in a bid to boost exports.

However, those efforts now face unique challenges for the coronavirus pandemic, such as shipping pressure due to global trade distortions that have sparked a bidding war for container space and pushed prices to record highs.

“You get a lot of interest. And then when people look at the current logistics costs, they end up not completing the transaction, ”said Philip Myburgh, head of Standard Bank’s African-China banking.

However, wine is one of the African exports that Standard Bank considers a good bet. So was Edouard Duval, chief executive of East Meets West Fine Wines, one of China’s largest wine importers.

If South Africa could capture just 1% of Australia’s 38% share of the import market share quickly emptying out, that would double its exports to China, he said. “The potential is there … this is a very dynamic and fast-moving market.”

South Africa typically exports less than half of its wine and raised 9.1 billion rand ($ 616 million) in overseas sales last year, with Britain buying the most. Sales to China totaled only $ 19 million.

Although Chinese tariffs removed sales of Australian wine in November and December, its exports to China alone still totaled A $ 1.01 billion ($ 779 million) last year.

At the “Cheers” wine shop in Beijing, Lin Lulu doesn’t really care about the impact of the trade war with Australia.

“South African wines now have a big advantage over Australian wines because of the new fare situation,” he said, filling his shelves with South African red wines. South African wines are more innovative and beautiful.

($ 1 = 1.2962 Australian dollars)

($ 1 = 14.7621 rand)

Additional reporting by Mike Hutchings in Cape Town, Helen Reid in Johannesburg and Thomas Suen, Tom Daly and Muyu Xu in Beijing; Edited by David Clarke

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The US faces the risk of bankruptcy, unemployment if fiscal support is not maintained: IMF | Instant News


FILE PHOTOS: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks at a press conference ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 20, 2020. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the International Monetary Fund on Friday warned that the United States faces a possible “dangerous wave” of bankruptcy and unemployment if it does not maintain fiscal support until the coronavirus health crisis ends.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told reporters that the United States, the world’s largest economy, has room to take further action and doing so will have a positive spillover effect on the global economy.

Asked if she supports President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion aid plan, Georgieva said the IMF supports the plan’s focus on vaccinations, health care, support for unemployment and assistance to state and local governments.

Even though the economy is starting to recover, Georgieva said risks remain, especially if support is not maintained long enough.

“There is still a danger that if support is not maintained until we can emerge durable from the health crisis, there could be a dangerous wave of bankruptcies and unemployment,” he said.

In 2020, he said US bankruptcies were lower than average in normal years because of fiscal support and it was important to continue to calibrate that support in 2021 while preparing carefully for times when some businesses could not survive.

“We want to see policy action that is careful and well-calibrated. We want the policy support to be there, “he said, adding,” Good care is needed so that we don’t get into a difficult situation. “

Georgieva acknowledges the concerns raised by former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers about a possible overheating of the US economy, but she is confident that new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be watching these risks closely.

“Indeed we have to be aware of risks, but we have the best Minister of Finance for this potential risk, he said,” And I am sure that there will be a lot of attention given to anticipating and, if necessary, taking appropriate action to address these risks. “

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Edited by David Gregorio

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