• Anglo copper, iron output rise, while strike hits platinum

    Reuters - 17 minutes ago

    Miner Anglo American posted an increase in its copper and iron ore production in the first quarter of 2014, broadly in line with analysts' forecasts, but its platinum output slumped, hit by a strike at its South African operations. Output of iron ore, which makes up almost half of group earnings, totalled 11.3 million tonnes in the first quarter, up 10 percent from the year before, when production at the Sishen mine in South Africa was curbed following a strike in late 2012. Anglo raised its 2014 copper production output guidance to 710,000-730,000 tonnes from 700,000-720,000. In platinum, where Anglo is cutting jobs and mothballing mines to improve the unit's profitability, equivalent refined platinum production fell 39 percent to 357,000 ounces, largely due to a crippling three-month mining strike over wages affecting some of its South African operations. More »Anglo copper, iron output rise, while strike hits platinum

  • Large Scania shareholder accepts Volkswagen bid

    Associated Press - 20 minutes ago

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Volkswagen has come closer to realizing its ambition to takeover Scania after the fourth largest shareholder in the Swedish truck maker announced it will accept the 6.7 billion-euro ($9.2 billion) bid. More »Large Scania shareholder accepts Volkswagen bid

  • Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies

    Reuters - 25 minutes ago

    By Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory. Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit. More »Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies

  • FACTBOX-Key pending reforms facing India's next government

    Reuters - 30 minutes ago

    The biggest challenge for India's next government, due to take charge after election results in May, will be to pull the economy out of its deepest slump in decades. Thursday was the sixth round of voting, which runs to May 12, with one recent opinion poll showing that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies may win an outright majority, ousting the Congress-led government. Here are 10 economic reform challenges that will require urgent attention from the new government: 1) GOODS AND SERVICES TAX (GST): India's most ambitious indirect tax reform would replace existing state and federal levies with a uniform tax, boosting revenue collection while cutting business transaction costs. GST, which could boost India's economy by up to two percentage points, has so far faced resistance from various states, including those governed by the Hindu nationalist BJP who fear loss of their fiscal powers. More »FACTBOX-Key pending reforms facing India's next government

  • South Africa platinum strike talks to continue Thursday

    Reuters - 33 minutes ago

    By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Marathon talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector will resume on Thursday after the world's top producers and union AMCU spent two days haggling over an offer tabled last week by the companies. The strike is already the longest and most costly in living memory for South Africa's mines, though there has been a renewed drive to break the deadlock in recent days after several weeks with no formal direct talks between the two sides. The talks involve the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) leadership and chief executives from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. Initially demanding an immediate doubling of the basic wage - net salary before allowances such as housing - for entry-level workers to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month, AMCU has since said it would accept annual increases that would reach this goal in three or even four years' time. More »South Africa platinum strike talks to continue Thursday

  • Asian stocks drop on no trade deal in Obama visit

    Associated Press - 41 minutes ago

    TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed as stocks in Tokyo slipped Thursday after talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting President Barack Obama produced little on a trade agreement. More »Asian stocks drop on no trade deal in Obama visit

  • Japan, US focusing on trade statement, final deal elusive: official

    Reuters - 41 minutes ago

    Japanese and U.S. cabinet members are trying to hammer out a joint statement on trade but are not likely to reach a bilateral deal in the course of talks on Thursday, a Japanese official said. "There are too many issues remaining to wrap them up even if we worked through the night," the official said, just hours after President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered their trade negotiators to seek a deal, considered key for reaching an Asia-Pacific trade pact. Economy Minister Akira Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman are focusing their efforts on crafting a joint statement, the official said on condition of anonymity. More »Japan, US focusing on trade statement, final deal elusive: official

  • Wage talks resume as South Africa platinum strike marks 13th week

    Reuters - 59 minutes ago

    By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Marathon talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector were to resume on Thursday after the world's top producers and union AMCU spent two days haggling over an offer tabled last week by the companies. The strike is already the longest and most costly in living memory for South Africa's mines, though there has been a renewed drive to break the deadlock in recent days after several weeks with no formal direct talks between the two sides. The talks involve the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) leadership and chief executives from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. There is "potential for further downside revisions from the ongoing industrial action," the unit of global mining house Anglo American said in a trading update. More »Wage talks resume as South Africa platinum strike marks 13th week

  • Last year's deadbeats do best as stocks stall

    Associated Press - 1 hour 3 minutes ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Financial markets rarely stick to the script, and this year is no different. More »Last year's deadbeats do best as stocks stall

  • IMF says sub-Saharan Africa faces heightened risk of capital outflows

    Reuters - 1 hour 7 minutes ago

    Investment in infrastructure and natural resources will continue to underpin economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa, although capital outflows sparked by tighter global financial conditions pose a risk to growth, the IMF said on Thursday. "The main downside risk to this generally positive baseline scenario is the risk that growth in emerging markets might slow much more abruptly than currently envisaged," the International Monetary Fund said in its latest Regional Economic Outlook. "As advanced economies tighten their monetary policies, frontier market economies will also face higher funding costs and a heightened risk of reversal of capital flows," it said. The IMF forecasts economic growth of 5.5 percent for sub-Saharan Africa this year, up from 4.9 percent last year. More »IMF says sub-Saharan Africa faces heightened risk of capital outflows

  • Minister warns foreign firms against leaving Russia over sanctions

    Reuters - 1 hour 15 minutes ago

    Russia's Natural Resources Minister said on Thursday that the door would be closed to foreign companies working in Russia if they decide to leave the country over Ukraine-related sanctions. He also said that so far foreign companies had not signalled their desire to leave Russia, the world's top crude oil producer, over sanctions the West imposed after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. "It is obvious that they won't return in the near future if they sever investment agreements with us, I mean there are consequences as well," Sergei Donskoi told reporters. "Russia is one of the most promising countries in terms of hydrocarbons production. More »Minister warns foreign firms against leaving Russia over sanctions

  • South Africa's rand under pressure as risk appetite wanes

    Reuters - 1 hour 16 minutes ago

    South Africa's rand was still under pressure on Thursday after breaching the key 10.6000 mark to 2-1/2 week lows the previous session, with investor worries about the political crisis in Ukraine seen keeping risk appetite in check. "Similar considerations makes today's U.S. durable goods orders and weekly jobless claims also worth watching. More »South Africa's rand under pressure as risk appetite wanes

  • New law to lure investors to Egypt could feed corruption, critics say

    Reuters - 1 hour 18 minutes ago

    By Asma Alsharif CAIRO (Reuters) - A new Egyptian law that prevents third parties from challenging contracts made with the government may encourage foreign investors but critics say it will increase scope for corruption. President Adly Mansour on Tuesday approved the law that will restrict the right to challenge state business and real estate deals to only the government, the institutions involved and business partners. The law, long-awaited by businessmen and investors, is meant to revive investment hit by political instability since a 2011 uprising toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak. "Uncertainty over the legality of contracts has been one factor behind the lack of foreign investment into Egypt since the Arab Spring revolution, and so this law could provide the protection that some investors have been craving," said Jason Tuvey, assistant economist at Capital Economics. More »New law to lure investors to Egypt could feed corruption, critics say

  • Heineken returns to growth in Western Europe

    Associated Press - 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Heineken NV says it has returned to growth in its crucial Western Europe market in the first quarter, after a long period of stagnation. Organic sales — a figure which strips out the effects of currencies and acquisitions — grew by 3.4 percent. More »Heineken returns to growth in Western Europe

  • Big riders mean big horses on Western trails

    Associated Press - 1 hour 22 minutes ago

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Wranglers in the West who have for decades cashed in on the allure of getting on a horse and setting out on an open trail say they have had to add bigger horses to their stables to help carry larger tourists over the rugged terrain. More »Big riders mean big horses on Western trails

  • India's BJP eyes gains in south, east to cut clout of regional queens

    Reuters - 1 hour 28 minutes ago

    India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party was set to make gains in two big states in the south and east that began voting on Thursday in the sixth phase of a mammoth general election that could help it build a stable majority in parliament. A final set of opinion polls predicted a strong showing by the BJP and its allies in Tamil Nadu in the south and West Bengal in the east that could make it less dependent on the two women who rule those states and who have in the past proved to be fickle coalition partners. The Hindu nationalist-led opposition, led by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is riding a wave of public anger across India against the ruling Congress party over a slew of corruption scandals and a slowing economy. A little over 180 million people were registered to vote on Thursday in the sixth phase of the world's biggest election that will end on May 16 when votes are counted from across India. More »India's BJP eyes gains in south, east to cut clout of regional queens

  • Unilever first quarter sales hit by strong euro

    Associated Press - 1 hour 31 minutes ago

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Unilever PLC, the maker of consumer products such as Dove soaps and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, says its underlying sales grew in the first quarter, but revenue was down due to a big impact from the stronger euro. More »Unilever first quarter sales hit by strong euro

  • Russia, China block Central African Republic blacklist at U.N

    Reuters - 1 hour 35 minutes ago

    By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia and China have blocked a proposal by the United States and France to impose U.N. sanctions on Central African Republic's former President Francois Bozize and two other people linked to the conflict there, diplomats told Reuters on Wednesday. The proposal to sanction Bozize, in particular, was due to his "engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of CAR," according to an eight-page letter to the U.N. Security Council's sanctions committee on Central African Republic, which was obtained by Reuters. The sanctioning of Bozize, who was ousted by predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels in March 2013, and two other individuals was to have taken effect on Tuesday, but first Russia and then China raised last-minute objections, diplomats said. More »Russia, China block Central African Republic blacklist at U.N

  • Malians who sang out against conflict get Songlines honours

    Reuters - 1 hour 38 minutes ago

    By Angus MacSwan LONDON (Reuters) - Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate, whose album "Jama Ko" urged his countrymen to stand together just as Mali erupted in conflict, has won the Best Artist accolade in the annual awards for world music magazine Songlines.    Tuareg band Tamikrest, who decried the ravages of the war in their album "Chatma", won the Best Group category.    "Given what happened in Mali in the past year and a half, it's not a surprise that two of these awards go to Malian artists," Songlines Editor-in-Chief Simon Broughton said. "I'm pleased that it's Malians from other ends of the country," he told Reuters, referring to different fronts in the conflict.    The Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration award went to Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora (harp-lute)player Seckou Keita. More »Malians who sang out against conflict get Songlines honours

  • Historic canonization of two popes brings joy and controversy

    Reuters - 1 hour 41 minutes ago

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Two giants of Roman Catholicism in the 20th century will become saints on Sunday at an unprecedented twin canonization that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church. Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernizing Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years before his death in 2005 and whose trips around the world made him the most visible pope in history, will be declared saints by Pope Francis. While John died half a century ago, critics say the canonization of John Paul - which sets a record for modern times of only nine years after his death - is too hasty. They also believe he was slow to grasp the seriousness of the sexual abuse crisis that emerged towards the end of his pontificate. More »Historic canonization of two popes brings joy and controversy

  • U.N. Security Council members mulling South Sudan sanctions

    Reuters - 1 hour 46 minutes ago

    By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Security Council members are considering sanctions on South Sudan's warring parties, envoys said on Wednesday, after U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous demanded "serious consequences" be imposed to force an end to the violence. Ladsous and U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Ivan Simonovic briefed the 15-member council on a recent escalation in attacks on civilians, including an ethnic massacre in the oil town of Bentiu and the killing of dozens of people who had sought refuge inside a U.N. peacekeeping base in Bor. "The United Nations is doing everything it can to protect the civilians that are fleeing the violence, the war, but let us never forget that the primary responsibility for protection of civilians is with the government," he said. Nigerian U.N. Ambassador Joy Ogwu, president of the council for April, said there was a lot of support among council members for pursuing sanctions on South Sudan. More »U.N. Security Council members mulling South Sudan sanctions

  • Historic canonisation of two popes brings joy and controversy

    Reuters - 1 hour 48 minutes ago

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Two giants of Roman Catholicism in the 20th century will become saints on Sunday at an unprecedented twin canonisation that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church. Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernising Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years before his death in 2005 and whose trips around the world made him the most visible pope in history, will be declared saints by Pope Francis. While John died half a century ago, critics say the canonisation of John Paul - which sets a record for modern times of only nine years after his death - is too hasty. They also believe he was slow to grasp the seriousness of the sexual abuse crisis that emerged towards the end of his pontificate. More »Historic canonisation of two popes brings joy and controversy

  • Obama says more sanctions 'teed up' against Russia over Ukraine

    Reuters - 1 hour 51 minutes ago

    U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that more sanctions were "teed up" against Russia if it does not deliver on promises in an agreement in Geneva last week to ease tensions in Ukraine. "So far at least we have seen them not abide by the spirit or the letter of the agreement in Geneva," he said at a joint news conference after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He said that Russia could avoid further sanctions by changing course but that the evidence so far had not left him hopeful that Moscow would do so. "There's always the possibility that Russia, tomorrow, or the next day, reverses its course and takes a different approach," he said. More »Obama says more sanctions 'teed up' against Russia over Ukraine

  • Korea ferry accused get court-appointed lawyer

    Reuters - 1 hour 52 minutes ago

    The captain and two crew of a South Korean ferry that sank last week have a state appointed attorney to represent them as they face charges of negligence relating to the deaths of hundreds of passengers. Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and two other crew members who abandoned ship have been arrested on negligence charges. Their actions have been called "tantamount to murder" by South Korean President Park Geun-hye as the emotionally charged investigation and recovery of hundreds of bodies - many of them children from a single school - continues. Four of the crew were paraded in front of Korean television cameras on Thursday and apologized for their actions in leaving the sinking vessel while passengers were still on board. More »Korea ferry accused get court-appointed lawyer

  • Korean prosecutors raid shipping safety watchdog after ferry disaster

    Reuters - 2 hours 1 minute ago

    South Korean prosecutors said on Thursday that they had raided the shipping safety watchdog as part of their expanded investigation following the fatal sinking of a ferry. "The objective was to investigate malpractices and corruption in the entire shipping industry," Song In-taek, head deputy chief prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecution Service, told reporters. The raid took place on Wednesday when prosecutors also raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, the company that operated the ship. Financial watchdog and prosecutors are looking into the assets of Yoo's family for any possible embezzlement, prosecutors added. More »Korean prosecutors raid shipping safety watchdog after ferry disaster

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