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China's manufacturing activity contracted for the second straight month in February, the government said on Sunday, a day after the central bank announced an interest rate cut to help stem a slump in the world's second-largest economy. The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) came in at 49.9 last month, up a fraction from 49.8 in January, but remaining in contraction. The index, which tracks activity in factories and workshops, is considered a key indicator of the health of China's economy, a major driver of global growth. January's figure had been the first contraction for 27 months and highlighted weakness in the key sector as China's economic growth slows.
By Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday his government had detained U.S. citizens, including a pilot, on suspicion of espionage, in a move likely to strain already tense relations between Washington and Caracas. Maduro also said his government would order a reduction in the number of U.S. embassy staff in Caracas and prohibit some U.S. officials from entering Venezuela in retaliation for a similar U.S. measure last year. Venezuela would also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before visiting, he told a rally. The Venezuelan president, long at odds with Washington, has renewed accusations in recent weeks that the United States is seeking to topple him.
MOSCOW (AP) — Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin, officials said. Nemtsov was killed just a day before a protest planned against Putin's rule.