China population rises 15.23 million in 2018, but rate slows

China added more than 17 million people to its population in 2016 and 2017 following the scrapping of the one-child policy. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 January 2019
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China population rises 15.23 million in 2018, but rate slows

  • Numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday put the population at 1.395 billion in 2018
  • It marked a growth rate of 3.81 percent over the previous year

BEIJING: China’s population rose by 15.23 million people in 2018, marking a continued decrease in the growth rate of the world’s most populous nation.
Numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday put the population at 1.395 billion in 2018, marking a growth rate of 3.81 percent over the previous year.
The total included 30 million more men than women, considered a long-time outcome of the recently abandoned one-child policy under which boys were favored over girls for cultural reasons.
The government estimates China’s population will peak at 1.442 billion in 2029 before beginning to decline the year after.
India, the world’s second most populous nation, has also been experiencing slower population growth. Its total population stood at 1.362 billion this month based on United Nations estimates.
China added more than 17 million people to its population in 2016 and 2017 following the scrapping of the one-child policy, but the effect hasn’t endured.
Care for the elderly is a rising government concern as the working-age population continues to fall as a percentage of the total.
Chinese increasingly enjoy better living standards, education and health care, but a yawning gap between the wealthy and poor has experts saying the country will grow old before it grows rich.
Also Monday, the government announced China’s 2018 economic growth fell to a three-decade low, adding to pressure on Beijing to settle a tariff war with Washington.
The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.6 percent over a year earlier, down from 2017’s 6.9 percent, official data showed.
China’s ruling Communist Party is trying to steer China to slower, more self-sustaining growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment. But the deceleration has been sharper than expected, prompting Beijing to step up government spending and order banks to lend more to shore up growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses.


Manafort ‘brazenly violated the law’ for years, says US special counsel Mueller

Updated 50 min 34 sec ago
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Manafort ‘brazenly violated the law’ for years, says US special counsel Mueller

  • Prosecutors said that “upon release from jail, Manafort presents a grave risk of recidivism”
  • Manafort is already facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison in a separate tax and bank fraud case
WASHINGTON: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort committed crimes that cut to “the heart of the criminal justice system” and over the years deceived everyone from bookkeepers and banks to federal prosecutors and his own lawyers, according to a sentencing memo filed Saturday by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
In the memo, submitted in one of two criminal cases Manafort faces, prosecutors do not yet take a position on how much prison time he should serve or whether to stack the punishment on top of a separate sentence he will soon receive in a Virginia prosecution. But they do depict Manafort as a longtime and unrepentant criminal who committed “bold” crimes, including under the spotlight of his role as campaign chairman and later while on bail, and who does not deserve any leniency.
“For over a decade, Manafort repeatedly and brazenly violated the law,” prosecutors wrote. “His crimes continued up through the time he was first indicted in October 2017 and remarkably went unabated even after indictment.”
Citing Manafort’s lies to the FBI, several government agencies and his own lawyer, prosecutors said that “upon release from jail, Manafort presents a grave risk of recidivism.”
The 25-page memo, filed in federal court in Washington, is likely the last major filing by prosecutors as Manafort heads into his sentencing hearings next month and as Mueller’s investigation approaches a conclusion. Manafort, who has been jailed for months and turns 70 in April, will have a chance to file his own sentencing recommendation next week. He and his longtime business partner, Rick Gates, were the first two people indicted in the special counsel’s investigation. Overall, Mueller has produced charges against 34 individuals, including six former Trump aides, and three companies.
Manafort’s case has played out in stark contrast to those of other defendants in the Russia investigation, such as former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who prosecutors praised for his cooperation and left open the possibility of no jail time.
Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy arising from his Ukrainian political consulting work and his efforts to tamper with witnesses. As part of that plea, he agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team, a move that could have helped him avoid a longer prison sentence. But within weeks, prosecutors say he repeatedly lied to investigators, including about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who the US says has ties to Russian intelligence. That deception voided the plea deal.
The sentencing memo comes as Manafort, who led Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for several critical months, is already facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison in a separate tax and bank fraud case in Virginia. Mueller’s team endorsed a sentence of between 19.5 and 24.5 years in prison in that case.
Prosecutors note that the federal guidelines recommend a sentence of more than 17 years, but Manafort pleaded guilty last year to two felony counts that carry maximum sentences of five years each.
Prosecutors originally filed a sealed sentencing memo on Friday, but the document was made public on Saturday with certain information still redacted, or blacked out.
In recent weeks, court papers have revealed that Manafort shared polling data related to the Trump campaign with Kilimnik. A Mueller prosecutor also said earlier this month that an August 2016 meeting between Manafort and Kilimnik goes to the “heart” of the Russia probe. The meeting involved a discussion of a Ukrainian peace plan, but prosecutors haven’t said exactly what has captured their attention and whether it factors into the Kremlin’s attempts to help Trump in the 2016 election.
Like other Americans close to the president charged in the Mueller probe, Manafort hasn’t been accused of involvement in Russian election interference.