Hot on the heels of a report from the World Bank saying China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy this year comes the news that China really, really wishes it weren't.
A person involved in preparing the report told the Financial Times that "China wanted to throw this out. They don't want to be seen as number one. They're worried about the political implications with the U.S." They added: "[China] begged and threatened for a whole year... China hates it."
In another surprise, China's state media did not even mention the country's ascension to the No. 1 spot in the World Bank report. One would think that being coronated as the world's largest economy, a title held by the U.S. since the 1880s, would be seen as a crowning achievement after three decades of rapid economic growth. But China's leaders, according to the FT, are concerned that with great power comes great responsibility.
On the basis of economic activity per person, China is still a relatively poor country. This means that it does not want to be asked to do too much on the international stage.
The U.S. — as the world's largest economy — takes a very large role in international security, with its navy patrolling global shipping lanes, for example, and providing by far the largest national contribution of funding for international institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. With China now on the cusp of being ranked as the world's largest economy, China fears it may be called on to play a bigger role. John Aziz
The head of an evangelical legal organization has pledged to carry a gun into Target's bathrooms to defend against transgender women. Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver is calling for a boycott of the retail chain after it announced that it will allow patrons to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, The Huffington Post reports. Staver tweeted the following:
— Anita Staver (@AnitaStaver) April 22, 2016
Staver later claimed she always brings guns into public restrooms.
A Copycat Art Scratcher (approximately $190) is expensive as scratching posts go, but buying one a month is "a lot cheaper than your cat destroying an actual priceless piece of artwork," says Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo. Dutch designer Erik Stehmann had lost only an embroidered painting to his pets' claws when he decided he might be able to rechannel their artistic interests and did so by reproducing famous paintings on embroidered twine. A replica of the Mona Lisa will be the first scratchboard offered when the product begins shipping in May. Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring will soon follow.
Syria called local truces Friday, but put no end to the violence in Aleppo deemed "monstrous" by the United Nations, Reuters reports.
The death toll from a Wednesday airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital has risen to at least 50 people. On Friday, rebel forces reportedly fired mortar rounds into a mosque, killing at least 15 people. More than 200 people have been killed in Aleppo in the last week by pro-government and rebel forces, The Washington Post reports.
Peace talks aimed at establishing a cease-fire recently collapsed. Julie Kliegman
A friend of alleged Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof pleaded guilty Friday to lying to federal officials and withholding information about the attack. Joey Meek faces up to eight years in prison and $500,000 in fines, The New York Times reports.
He agreed to testify against Roof, who is accused of fatally shooting nine black people in a Bible study at a Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June. Roof had claimed to have been planning the attack more than six months in advance, Meek said.
Actor Will Ferrell has reportedly nixed plans to play Ronald Reagan in a comedy about the late president's dementia, just days after it was announced he had signed on to star. Ferrell's spokesperson now says he was never officially attached to the project. "While it is by no means an 'Alzheimers comedy,' as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project," his spokesperson said.
Shortly after news of the film broke, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis penned an open letter expressing her disappointment. "Perhaps if you knew more," Davis wrote, "you would not find the subject humorous." Becca Stanek
A lot can change in eight years — as Carly Fiorina knows. While the former Hewlett-Packcard CEO is now Ted Cruz's vice presidential candidate, Fiorina actually sung Hillary Clinton's praises back in 2008. While on the campaign trail for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Fiorina described Clinton as "incredibly intelligent, focused, tough, determined."
"As a woman, I take great pride in the fact that Hillary Clinton ran for president," Fiorina said.
Fiorina added that "bold women, women in power are characterized, scrutinized differently than their male counterparts are." Fiorina has since joined the chorus of conservative voices who have accused Clinton of "playing the woman card," saying that "Hillary Clinton, first of all, calls everybody a sexist and that's not a fair game."
A representative for Fiorina clarified to CNN that the vice presidential candidate "thinks Hillary Clinton is smart and hardworking, but she also believes she is profoundly misguided on the important issues facing this country."
Watch the surprisingly different tone Fiorina had less than a decade ago, below. Jeva Lange
The White House decided to mix things up at its daily press briefing Friday by having a fictional character step into Press Secretary Josh Earnest's role. Yes, seriously.
Allison Janney, who played the whip-smart press secretary C.J. Cregg on The West Wing, took over the podium while Earnest was supposedly out of commission for a root canal.
"But let's be honest," Janney said, "I'm better at this anyway."
Watch Janney's briefing, which — spoiler alert — Earnest eventually crashes, below. Becca Stanek
Allison Janney takes over White House press briefing as character 'C. J. Cregg' from 'The West Wing.' https://t.co/jdDgMDQbm5
— ABC News (@ABC) April 29, 2016