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  • Congo militia leader 'Morgan' surrenders: government

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 1:42 PM EDT

    By Peter Jones KINSHASA (Reuters) - A militia leader accused of kidnap, rape and cannibalism has surrendered alongside around 40 of his followers in Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said on Monday. Paul Sadala, a poacher-turned-militia leader known as "Morgan" operating in Congo's Orientale province, has repeatedly attacked populations in the Okapi Fauna Reserve, a World Heritage site, since 2012. U.N. experts said in December Morgan changed his focus from poaching elephants to attacking gold mines. More »Congo militia leader 'Morgan' surrenders: government

  • EU could hold emergency summit to agree new sanctions on Russia

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 12:41 PM EDT

    By Justyna Pawlak and Adrian Croft LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union could hold an emergency summit next week to impose further sanctions against Russia if there is no breakthrough at talks with Ukraine scheduled for Thursday in Geneva, France's foreign minister said on Monday. At a meeting in Luxembourg, several EU foreign ministers threatened Moscow with new sanctions over its actions in eastern Ukraine, although some said diplomacy should be given time before firm decisions are taken. More »EU could hold emergency summit to agree new sanctions on Russia

  • Private money, public projects: More U.S. states doing deals

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 11:26 AM EDT

    Visitors to New York who land at LaGuardia Airport could be forgiven for not realizing they've arrived in one of the world's swankiest cities. The airport's leaky ceilings, threadbare atmosphere and meager food and public transit options put it at or near the top of lists of the worst airports in the United States. But with constraints on its resources and no appetite for further debt, the agency decided to tap private investors and developers to rebuild the 50-year-old central terminal for $3.6 billion, instead of using traditional public finance methods. Short on funding but big on need, U.S. states and cities are increasingly turning to such deals, known as public-private partnerships, or P3s, hoping to leverage assets that can bring a quick infusion of private dollars to rebuild crumbling infrastructure. More »Private money, public projects: More U.S. states doing deals

  • Housing industry asks $5 trillion question: what does Watt want?

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 9:39 AM EDT

    By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. housing industry has waited three months to find out how Mel Watt will govern taxpayer-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , and has been frustrated by his silence. "We have yet to see or hear Watt's vision for housing finance," said Clifford Rossi, a former banker and risk executive at Freddie Mac who is now a finance professor at the University of Maryland. Sources inside and close to the FHFA say they believe he is largely comfortable with the current direction of the two companies and they do not expect to see dramatic changes. At a private reception for him on February 27, Watt, who declined to be interviewed for this story, jokingly described his routine as "meeting all day and reading all night." In his sole policy action, just days after taking office in early January, he set aside a decision by his predecessor to increase the loan fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge. More »Housing industry asks $5 trillion question: what does Watt want?

  • GE Capital seen ripe for more slimming after credit card IPO

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 7:40 AM EDT

    As General Electric Co starts spinning off its consumer credit card business, some on Wall Street are hoping that the U.S. industrial conglomerate will eventually slim down its GE Capital finance unit even further. Commercial real estate, which GE Capital expects to make up 10 percent to 15 percent of its portfolio in the future, stands as another major potential area for GE to abandon, analysts and investors said. "From my investor's point of view, the more they look like an industrial company, the better off they are," said Andrew Meister, an equity research analyst at Thrivent Investment Management. The future of GE Capital is central to a larger issue facing GE and other conglomerates: What mix of businesses makes the most sense? More »GE Capital seen ripe for more slimming after credit card IPO

  • Factbox: U.S. public-private partnerships in play

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 7:10 AM EDT

    Across the United States, more state and local governments are tapping private dollars to build, repair and maintain public infrastructure. Here are some of the biggest and most-watched projects: *Pennsylvania is pushing to replace at least 500 bridges under a single contract in the next five years. If the project were to use traditional public financing, it would cost about $1.2 billion, said Bryan Kendro, director of public-private partnerships in Pennsylvania's Transportation Department. *The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed a $1.5 billion deal in November to rebuild the Goethals Bridge, which links New York's Staten Island to New Jersey. More »Factbox: U.S. public-private partnerships in play

  • No doubt that Russia behind unrest in Ukraine: UK's Hague

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 6:30 AM EDT

    The destabilization of eastern Ukraine is clearly being instigated by Russia, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday, and he called for further sanctions against Moscow. "There can't really be any real doubt that this is something that has been planned and brought about by Russia," Hague said as he arrived at a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the crisis. "I don't think denials of Russian involvement have a shred of credibility." He added that events had all the hallmarks of Russia's actions to seize Crimea from Ukraine: "It has all the appearance of a further gross deliberate, premeditated violation of the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine." Hague said he would be arguing for the EU to take further measures to sanction Russia for its actions. A so-called "third phase" of EU sanctions is expected to include restrictions on trade and finance with Russia, potentially with wide-reaching repercussions for the Russian and EU economies. More »No doubt that Russia behind unrest in Ukraine: UK's Hague

  • German finance minister sees no sign of deflation spiral in Europe

    Reuters - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 4:54 AM EDT

    BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday he sees no signs at all of a deflation spiral in Europe and ECB President Mario Draghi had made a convincing case at the recent IMF meeting that Europe's low inflation held no deflation risk. In an interview with Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio he added, "of course the exchange rate is strong and if it were to continue to rise then it could negatively impact economic development in Europe, which has improved but needs to improve further. ... More »German finance minister sees no sign of deflation spiral in Europe

  • Guinea-Bissau counts votes after big turnout in crucial poll

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 10:15 PM EDT

    By Bate Felix and Alberto Dabo BISSAU (Reuters) - Vote counting began in Guinea-Bissau after a heavy turnout in Sunday's legislative and presidential elections meant to bring stability to the West African state after years of coups and political infighting. At sunset, officials in Pefine, a neighborhood in the crumbling capital Bissau, sat under a mango tree tallying ballots under the watchful eyes of residents and election observers. "I've voted for Guinea-Bissau. I hope this election will bring peace and stability so that we can get back to work and develop the country." The last attempt at an election, in 2012, was aborted when troops under army chief Antonio Indjai stormed the presidential palace days before a run-off was due to take place. More »Guinea-Bissau counts votes after big turnout in crucial poll

  • More Russian incursions would hurt Ukraine economy: central bank

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 6:42 PM EDT

    Russia's further incursions into eastern Ukraine would have serious macroeconomic consequences, destabilizing banks and crimping Ukraine's national output, the central bank governor said on Sunday. Many of Ukraine's biggest factories and some of its agricultural production lie in the east, where pro-Russian separatists have taken up arms and occupied government buildings. "The main risk (to the economy) has a political-occupational character," National Bank of Ukraine Governor Stepan Kubiv said in an interview on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington. "Because if after Crimea, it will be Lugansk, Slaviansk, Donetsk, Kharkhiv, and other small towns, then we immediately talk about a considerable amount of liquidity," he said, listing other towns in Ukraine. More »More Russian incursions would hurt Ukraine economy: central bank

  • UK aerospace and defense firms fret over Scottish independence bid

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 8:27 AM EDT

    Britain's aerospace and defense industries warned on Sunday that the sector could lose its global competitive edge as a result of Scotland's bid for independence, which is due to be decided by a referendum later this year. The ADS Group, an aerospace and defense trade organization, said the uncertainty over the future of taxation, fiscal and monetary policy that the September 18 referendum has generated was a major cause of concern for firms operating in Britain. "September's referendum on the future of Scotland could have a profound impact on these sectors' global competitiveness," said ADS Group Chief Executive Paul Everitt. "In addition to the debates about monetary and fiscal policy, there is genuine uncertainty about the impact of independence on the UK's - and Scotland's - international influence, export opportunities and inward investment." Britain is home to a number of major aerospace and defense industry firms such as BAE Systems, Cobham and Babcock - all of whom are members of the ADS Group. More »UK aerospace and defense firms fret over Scottish independence bid

  • Reviving investment is key, says man tipped to be India's finance minister

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 8:04 AM EDT

    By Raju Gopalakrishnan BOHARU, India (Reuters) - Massaging his swollen feet after campaigning in the villages of Punjab, the man tipped to be India's next finance minister says he wants the government that takes office next month to approve five big-ticket investments quickly to signal it means business. Arun Jaitley is a senior leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), hot favorite to form a government after the election that began last week and will be staggered over the next month. A former commerce minister and a skilled courtroom lawyer, he is a key lieutenant of Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi, the BJP's candidate for prime minister. "You will have to re-start the investment cycle," he said, speaking after a day on the stump in the parliamentary constituency he is contesting, Amritsar, in the northern state of Punjab. More »Reviving investment is key, says man tipped to be India's finance minister

  • Reforms to IMF hit serious deadlock: G20 official

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 2:16 AM EDT

    By Lidia Kelly WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Reforms to the International Monetary Fund have hit a deadlock despite a declaration from global financial chiefs that they would move forward without the United States if it fails to ratify the changes by year-end, a G20 official said on Sunday. The inability to proceed with giving emerging markets a more powerful voice at the IMF and shoring up the lender's resources appeared the most contentious issue for officials from the Group of 20 leading economies and the representatives for all IMF member nations who met over the weekend. In a final communique, G20 finance ministers and central bankers said they were "deeply disappointed" with the U.S. delay. "I say we are at a dead end." Any attempt to break the package of reforms, proposed by the G20 in 2010, would be disastrous not only for the United States, but for the whole group, he said, because most countries have already gone through the ratification procedures. More »Reforms to IMF hit serious deadlock: G20 official

  • Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 1:23 AM EDT

    (Reuters) - Mexico is preparing to implement new regulations that will allow the government to identify individuals and businesses linked to drug trafficking and ban financial firms from doing business with them, the finance minister said on Saturday. Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said banking authorities would provide further details in coming days. "For the first time, we have the capacity to issue a list and this list will impede any financial institution from carrying out transactions with these people," Videgaray told a news conference in Washington D.C., according to a transcript. The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) periodically issues blacklists of individuals and businesses alleged to be laundering drug gang profits. More »Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist

  • Tensions over money flows bode poorly for global economy

    Reuters - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 1:10 AM EDT

    By Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For a bunch of people who just agreed the global economy is doing better, top officials from the world's rich and poor nations sound rather worried. For poor nations, the easy monetary policies in advanced economies are leading to big swings in capital flows that could destabilize emerging markets. For rich countries, the hoarding of currency by developing nations is blocking progress toward a more stable global economy. Those tensions, which have been brewing for years, seemed to be rising as finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 economies gathered last week in Washington, as evidenced by harsh words from Washington and Delhi. More »Tensions over money flows bode poorly for global economy

  • Australia says progress towards G20 growth target "unacceptable"

    Reuters - Sat, Apr 12, 2014 11:00 PM EDT

    PERTH, Australia, April 13 - Slow progress towards meeting economic growth targets set by the Group of 20 bloc of advanced and developing nations this year is "unacceptable", Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Sunday. G20 finance ministers had pledged to have "real and effective plans to lift the global economy by a further 2 percent" before they meet in Australia in September but were only one-tenth of the way there, he said. "The proposals put forward by nations so far have been unacceptable and they only meet 10 percent of our goal," Hockey told Australian Broadcasting Corp. TV after talks in Washington. Hockey coordinated the talks, with Australia holding the G20 presidency. More »Australia says progress towards G20 growth target "unacceptable"

  • Beijing rejects IMF's hard-landing warning for China's economy

    Reuters - Sat, Apr 12, 2014 8:40 PM EDT

    By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior Chinese official hit back on Saturday at International Monetary Fund warnings that China's economy faced the danger of a hard landing due to poor asset quality, saying the government was taking action to deal with financial risk. Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said China worked closely with the IMF but did not agree with all of its analysis. "In general, we think they are a very professional financial institution, but some of the methodology used and some traditional thinking, they also need reform," he told a small group of Western journalists on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington. If your policy suggestion is (to be) a valuable suggestion, you must base it on reality." IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of the risk of what she termed a "hard landing" in China, the world's second-largest economy, and negative repercussions on other emerging markets in her Global Policy Agenda released at the start of the meetings in Washington on Thursday. More »Beijing rejects IMF's hard-landing warning for China's economy

  • Draghi says a stronger euro would trigger looser ECB policy

    Reuters - Sat, Apr 12, 2014 4:54 PM EDT

    By Jan Strupczewski and Krista Hughes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will ease monetary policy further if the euro keeps strengthening, President Mario Draghi said on Saturday as world finance chiefs ramped up pressure on Europe to ward off deflation. In the clearest signal yet the ECB was prepared to launch a stimulative asset-purchase program, Draghi said the euro's exchange rate had become increasingly important to policy and would act as a trigger. "The strengthening of the exchange rate would require further monetary policy accommodation. If you want policy to remain as accommodative as now, a further strengthening of the exchange rate would require further stimulus," he told a news conference. More »Draghi says a stronger euro would trigger looser ECB policy

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