Another Month of Losses for Chinese Imports
China says imports plunged by double digits in September, signaling further economic weakness in the world's second-largest economy.
The Customs Department said Tuesday that imports dropped just over 20 percent last month compared to the same period a year ago, marking the 11th consecutive month of losses. Exports fell nearly four percent last month, leaving China with a $60.34 billion global trade surplus for September.
Analysts had expected a decline in imports of about 15 percent.
The numbers underscore the challenges for policymakers in Beijing as they try to transform China's economy to one driven by domestic consumer-demand instead of exports. China's economy is growing at its slowest rate in 25 years.
The slowdown has caused a worldwide slide in prices of commodities such as oil, copper and iron ore. The latest trade figures also make it unlikely that China can meet its economic growth target of seven percent.
US, Afghan Forces Raid al-Qaida Camp
The United States military says it has conducted a major air and ground operation with Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan together, killing "numerous" al-Qaida militants.
Based on months of intelligence gathering and planning, the operation was launched on October 7 in Shorabak district of Kandahar province and was concluded Sunday, a U.S. military statement said on Tuesday.
It says that more than 200 American and Afghan forces took part in the offensive that involved 63 U.S. precision airstrikes while Afghan forces engaged in several battles on the ground against al-Qaida networks at two related sites.
"This is one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan," the statement quoted Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner, a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan.
Shoffner said the al-Qaida sanctuary was struck in the center of the Taliban's historic heartland, demonstrating "the growing capability of the Afghan security forces."
"The first site, a well-established training camp, spanned approximately one square mile. The second site covered nearly 30 square miles [77 sq km]," Shoffner added.
The spokesman said the joint offensive seized a large amount of data and weapons, including anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenade systems with associated hardware and warheads. The digital media equipment collected from the site showed it was also a large media cell of the terrorist network.