Sandberg Speaks, China Cools Off, Rebels Bloodied: Saturday Wrap

  • U.S. draws Beijing rebuke over annual defense assessment
  • Ireland gets Moody’s boost while Poland dodges debt downgrade

Here are highlights of Saturday’s top breaking news stories from around the world:

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, speaking publicly for the first time about the death of her husband in 2015, may have previewed the theme for a possible second book. Addressing graduates at the University of California at Berkeley, she talked about the importance of resilience in the face of life’s challenges.

China’s economy stayed on a yo-yo trajectory as industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all fell short of estimates in April, dashing hopes that the country had turned a corner. The central bank reassured investors that monetary policy would continue to be geared toward supporting the economy. Surging home sales signaled that a government campaign to damp prices had failed to slow the market’s upward momentum.

A day after the Pentagon reviewed China’s defense capabilities, the government in Beijing weighed in with its usual sharp rebuttal to the annual U.S. assessment. While the U.S. report cited cyber probes of U.S. defenses and possible steps to boost long-range strike capabilities, China cast its military as being focused on territorial integrity. The exchange came ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam and Japan later this week.

Nigeria’s long-running struggle against the Boko Haram rebel movement got a boost with the capture of a militant leader and the deaths of scores of fighters. The battlefield success from a joint raid with Cameroon provided an upbeat backdrop for a regional security summit in Abuja that included French President Francoise Hollande.

Poland dodged a downgrade into junk but saw Moody’s cut its outlook, while Ireland’s rating was raised and had the outlook set at positive. Moody’s cited falling oil prices in reducing ratings for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, facing an economic crisis and a restive opposition, announced undefined military exercises a day after pledging to prolong his government’s special emergency powers. Drills by the army and military groups would prepare “for any scenario,” he told a rally in Caracas as anti-government demonstrators held their own protest.

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