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Nigeria to Bar Exporters Withholding Proceeds From Bank Services

Biden to Become Oldest President Ever at Inauguration

Amid a raging coronavirus pandemic, fragile economic recovery and unprecedented security measures throughout Washington, the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday will be memorable on many levels, not least of which because of his age. At 78, he’s the oldest president-elect in history, breaking the record set by his predecessor Donald Trump, who was 70 when he took the oath of office in January 2017. That means Biden is 40 years older than America’s median age, according to the latest available Census Bureau data. Since Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977 through Trump, the median age of the commander in chief was 54, with Democrats skewing younger than their Republican counterparts, making Biden an outlier.

China Embassy Refutes Report It’s Seeking Meeting With the U.S.

The Chinese embassy in the United States on Saturday refuted a Wall Street Journal report that said Beijing was pushing for a high-level meeting to ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

China has discussed a proposal to send Politburo member Yang Jiechi to Washington, and Ambassador Cui Tiankai suggested the idea in letters to U.S. officials and through conversations with intermediaries, the Wall Street Journalreported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

“This report is not true to facts. The Chinese side never wrote such letters,” the Chinese embassy said in astatement posted on its website Saturday that cited an unnamed spokesperson. “We hope the media concerned respect the facts and report on Sino-U.S. relations in an objective and responsible manner.”

Both China and the U.S. should focus on cooperation and manage their disputes in order to facilitate healthy and stable relations, according to the statement.

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, and Amanda Wang

Australia Retail Sales Rise 7.1% as Melbourne Trade Resumes

Australian household spending jumped in November as the southeastern state of Victoria was released from lockdown and consumers took advantage of discounts during annual Black Friday sales.

Retail sales advanced 7.1% from a month earlier, compared with the 7% gain forecast by economists and the 7% reported in late December as thepreliminary figure, data from theAustralian Bureau of Statistics showed Monday. The gain was driven by Victoria — up 22.4% — as Melbourne stores were able to trade for a full month, the ABS said. Excluding Victoria, sales rose 2.6%.

The release of new games consoles andApple Inc.’s new iPhones added to sales in household goods and other retailing, while Black Friday sales contributed to the increase across a number of industries, the ABS said in astatement.

Australia’s economy has been recovering rapidly since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in Victoria and its state capital, Melbourne, with consumer confidence and hiring surging. The data precede a recent outbreak in Sydney and isolated cases in other states, however.

Online sales made up 11% of total retail turnover in November, up from 10.4% in October, the ABS said.

Pence’s Farewell Message Contains A Glaring Omission And People Have Noticed

Vice President Mike Pence bid farewell to his supporters in a message on Twitter on Tuesday, his final full day in office. But there was something missing from the text and images he shared: any reference to President Donald Trump: 

Earlier this month, Trump leaned on Pence to overturn the election results, but it’s a power the vice president does not have.  

“You can either go down in history as a patriot or you can go down in history as a pussy,” Trump taunted the vice president, per The New York Times.

Pence refused and when the president’s supporters attacked the Capitol during the certification of the election results on Jan. 6, some of them chanted “Hang Mike Pence!”

The Washington Post reported that the mob came “perilously close” to reaching the vice president. 

Trump did not call Pence during the attack and waited hours before releasing a half-hearted statement that urged supporters to stop the assault on democracy. 

The two reportedly did not speak for days. 

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Pence was livid over the events.

“I’ve known Mike Pence forever,” Inhofe told Tulsa World. “I’ve never seen Pence as angry as he was today.”

Given that history, people certainly noticed the omission from Pence’s farewell message:

Nigeria to Bar Exporters Withholding Proceeds From Bank Services

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Nigerian exporters that have not repatriated export proceeds will be barred from all banking services from Jan. 31, the central bank said.

The new directive applies to exports up until June last year, central bank spokesman, Osita Nwanisobi said by text message on Saturday. “Proceeds for oil is to be repatriated within 90 days and non-oil within 180 days.”

The measures are part of an effort to defend the country’s currency by targeting importers and exporters with tougher regulations. That’s after a plunge in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic led to dollar shortages in Africa’s largest crude producer resulting in a wide spread between the official exchange rate and the parallel market. The differential of about 25% has created an incentive for exporters to divert forex income to unofficial channels.

Last year, the top lender ordered exporters to register with it through an online portal to ensure the repatriation of proceeds. The Abuja-based regulator has alsoordered banks to report exporters that fail to repatriate income earned abroad.