China's foreign exchange reserves have declined for the first time in five years after peaking at $1.9 trillion in September, a State Administration of Foreign Exchange official said earlier this week.
In related news that the global financial crisis is taking its toll, the State Council announced Wednesday that tax rebates will be increased for exports of machinery and electronic products.
Somali President Resigns
Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has decided to resign, in a move the African Union said would be positive for the nation’s peace process. Yusuf has been accused by donor countries and regional governments of being an obstacle to U.N.-hosted peace talks.
Meanwhile, a Chinese fleet left the port city of Sanya, Hainan province today for the waters off the Somali coast, joining the global fight against increased piracy in the area.
Madoff investor found dead
The investor of a Bernard Madoff fund that lost $1.4 billion was found dead Tuesday after committing suicide at his Madison Avenue office, marking a grim turn in a scandal that has left investors around the world in financial ruin. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet was found sitting at his desk with both wrists slashed. No suicide note was found.
'Bush shoe' creates rush for orders
The world's most notorious pair of shoes have yielded an unexpected bonanza for Turkish shoemaker Ramazan Baydan. Baydan has been swamped with orders from across the world, after insisting that his company produced the black leather shoes which Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad last week.
Cold fronts sweep across the country
Strong cold fronts swept across most parts of the country, causing heavy snowfall in some areas and plunging the mercury this week.
Cold weather from Siberia and Mongolia brought snowstorms to East China and abnormally low temperatures in North China.
Beijing got a real taste of winter with strong winds lashing the city last Saturday night. The northern part of the capital experienced slight snowfall as the temperature dropped 5 to 10 C.
The extreme cold weather warning was the second this winter. The first was issued for Dec 1-4, when heavy snow disrupted road transports and airports.
Pandas touch down to rapturous reception
A pair of giant pandas sent as a gift from the mainland to Taiwan arrived earlier this week in the latest sign of rapidly improving relations across the Straits.
Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan touched down at Taipei Taoyuan Airport from Chengdu in Sichuan Wednesday, with residents watching spellbound as the journey unfolded live on local television.
The four year-old pandas, with their combined name meaning "reunion" in Chinese, were carried aboard a special Boeing 747 plane of Taiwan's EVA Airways with three pilots and 10 stewards, in line with "treatment for a head of state".
Mumbai's targeted hotels reopen partly
A Hindu priest chanted prayers while a Muslim cleric read from the Quran as the Trident Hotel at the Oberoi complex reopened amid tight security on Monday in Mumbai, three weeks after it was targeted in a militant rampage.
Sniffer dogs patrolled the grounds outside, police officers stood behind sandbag bunkers and guards checked bags and IDs as the hotel opened to guests for the first time since gunmen attacked it and nine other sites across Mumbai on November 26.
The band of accused Islamic militants killed 164 people over the course of a three-day siege, including dozens of Oberoi guests and staff members.
Chinese join in Christmas celebrations
Christmas has proven to be big business in China; what was once a foreign affair has not just grown in popularity, but morphed into a festival with Chinese characteristics.
In downtown Beijing, department stores and restaurants were festooned with bright festival decorations. And on Christmas Eve, traffic controls were needed at Northern Church, also known as the Xishiku Catholic Church, due to overcrowding.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.