Asian Development Bank Trims Growth Forecast
The Asian Development Bank has cut its growth forecast for the region's developing countries because of weakness in its two largest economies and concerns over a possible reduction in U.S. stimulus measures.
In its twice-yearly report Tuesday, the bank predicted developing Asia will grow at 6 percent in 2013, down from its April estimate of 6.6 percent. For 2014, it expects growth will accelerate slightly to 6.2 percent, down from its prior estimate of 6.7 percent.
The Philippines-based lender revised its predictions because of slower growth in China and India. It also cited nervousness over Washington's plans to eventually trim stimulus measures used to boost the American economy from the depths of the 2009 recession.
But it said Asia's emerging markets will be able to deal with the U.S. Federal Reserve's eventual scaling back of the monetary easing policies, noting that most of its economies have healthy current-account surpluses and ample foreign currency reserves.
Protesters Denounce Trial of Vietnamese Activist
Scores of protesters have gathered in Vietnam's capital to denounce what they say is a politically motivated trial against a prominent rights activist.
Hundreds of police Wednesday formed a ring around the Hanoi People's Court, where lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan is to faces charges of tax evasion.
His supporters were not able to reach the court. But at least 100 people gathered elsewhere in the city, waving signs and shouting slogans calling for Quan's release.
Quan is one of Vietnam's most well-known government critics. Before his arrest in December, the Catholic lawyer ran a blog on human rights, democracy, religious freedom and other sensitive topics.
Rights groups say the case is another example of Hanoi's widening crackdown on those it sees as opponents. Human Rights Watch called the charges "politically motivated" and called for his immediate release.