Germany loosens up. The German government is considering the creation of independent agencies that would invest in the country’s economy without breaking federal spending rules, according to anonymous sources who spoke to Reuters. Under German law, the federal budget deficit cannot exceed 0.35 percent of gross domestic product, limiting the amount of debt the government can take on to invest in things like infrastructure to boost the slowing economy. The new agencies would be regulated by the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact, allowing them to incur debt that would not be factored into the federal budget. According to Reuters, this would allow Germany to incur new debt up to 35 billion euros instead of 5 billion euros, which is the current limit under German law. The move would be in line with other German efforts to loosen up fiscal requirements to deal with the slowing economy. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry reportedly said the government might review its position on balanced budgets if economic conditions change.

Kazakhs target China. A few dozen Kazakhs gathered today in the city of Zhanaozen to express their anger over Chinese expansion in Kazakhstan. Protesters called for the end of Chinese projects, including the construction of new Chinese factories, in the country. They also demanded that the Kazakh president call off his upcoming visit to China. Demonstrators also complained of high unemployment and low wages. According to the Kazakh Labor Ministry, oil company M-Techservice, whose workers had been on strike for nearly a week, offered to increase wages, but so far, the offer hasn’t been accepted. Similar protests have continued for over a week now, despite the fact that public dissent is normally tightly controlled in Kazakhstan. While they don’t appear to pose a threat to the Kazakh government at this point, they do raise questions over the country’s economic relations with China.

Chinese warnings. A Chinese official warned the U.K. against sending warships to support U.S. freedom of navigation operations and security efforts in disputed parts of the South China Sea. The official said Beijing would consider the move a “hostile action.” The comments are in response to the U.K. floating the idea that its aircraft carrier could be deployed near contested islands in the region. It would mark the first operational deployment of the British aircraft carrier to the waters, a move that the U.K. says would be part of its commitment to regional security and opposition to militarizing the South China Sea.

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