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By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and five East African countries pledged on Thursday to ease trade flows and set the stage for more U.S. investment, a program that could be extended to other parts of Africa. The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards. "We see this agreement and all our work with (East Africa) to date as an important steppingstone, not the final destination," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said. China's rapid entry into Africa has fueled a rush to the continent by Western and other economies, including India and Brazil, and the region's economy has grown more than 6 percent in the last decade.
FILE - This Jan. 4, 2010 file photo shows an historic marker on Wall Street in New York. U.S. financial markets eased back from record highs in early trading Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Thursday on upbeat corporate earnings and rising Chinese factory output after the chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve said it will be patient about increasing interest rates.
File photo of workers preparing for the opening of an Apple store in HangzhouBy Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China has dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, while approving thousands more locally made products, in what some say is a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance. Others put the shift down to a protectionist impulse to shield China's domestic technology industry from competition. Chief casualty is U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc , which in 2012 counted 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list, but by late 2014 had none, a Reuters analysis of official data shows. Smartphone and PC maker Apple Inc has also been dropped over the period, along with Intel Corp's security software firm McAfee and network and server software firm Citrix Systems .
In this Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, file photo, Hong Kong worshippers burn incense while offering prayers on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong. Chinese people are celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Sheep. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)People in China and throughout the world began their Lunar New Year celebrations last week. The Year of the Sheep, known variably as the Year of the Goat or Ram, is being celebrated during the seven-day holiday, which started last Wednesday.
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, Qi Xue'en, a performer dressed as a Qing Dynasty emperor, seated at center, is carried during a re-enactment of an ancient sacrificial ceremony at Beijing's Ditan Park, the “Altar of the Earth,” on the eve of the Lunar New Year. Ditan Park is one of four altars dedicated to worship of the natural elements under the principles of Chinese cosmology and geomancy, popularly known as feng shui. During the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, the parks throng with visitors shopping for festive goods, joining in carnival games and taking a break from hectic modern life. “I have been playing the part of emperor since 1990. I have two apprentices and several pupils now,” Qi, 58, said. “Today and tomorrow, I will play the part of emperor, so I can send New Year's greetings to people I know. Let the pupils play on the second and third days of the Lunar New Year. I am getting old.” (AP Photo/Andy Wong)BEIJING (AP) — Outfitted in a robe of yellow silk embroidered with dragons, the emperor is carried in a procession of warriors in the blue robes and red helmets of the Manchu army that conquered China in the 17th century.
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