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News In Brief


    White House's Kudlow blames China's Xi for blocking US trade deal

    Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping was “holding up” a deal to resolve a “significant trade dispute” between the United States and China. 

    Larry Kudlow, head of the White House Economic Council, also said that he expects European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to bring a “significant” trade offer to Trump when he visits Washington next week.


    US to receive American soldiers remains in coming weeks: Pompeo

    Washington: The United States will receive the remains of American service members in the coming weeks from North Korea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. 

    The repatriation of remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War was one of the agreements reached during the June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June in Singapore.


    Trump says may pursue separate trade deal with Mexico

    Washington: President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States may hammer out a separate trade deal with Mexico, continuing to sow doubts about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement that he has frequently criticized, and then do a deal with Canada later.

    Speaking to reporters as members of his cabinet gathered at the White House, Trump said there have been “good sessions” with Mexico and with President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Lopez Obrador, who said he wants a good relationship with the United States and that his transition team will participate in future NAFTA talks.


    Houthis attack ARAMCO refinery in Riyadh using drone: Houthi-run TV station

    Dubai: The Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen said on Wednesday that one of its drones had attacked the Saudi state oil company ARAMCO’s refinery in Riyadh, according to Houthi-run al-Masira TV, based in Yemen. 

    “Our drone air forces have targeted the refinery of ARAMCO company in Riyadh,” a tweet on al-Masira account’s said. Aramco earlier said its fire control teams and the Saudi civil defence had contained a limited fire that erupted in the early evening in a storage containers at the refinery.


    Goldman sees US two-month bill introduced in November

    New York: Goldman Sachs analysts said on Wednesday the U.S. government would likely introduce a two-month bill issue at the November refunding and begin raising the auction size of five-year notes by a greater amount than its recent increase. 

    “We expect the Treasury to continue to increase coupon security issuance somewhat in the upcoming quarterly refunding, though our recently revised assumptions regarding Fed balance sheet runoff suggest that gross coupon issuance might not need to increase over the next few years quite as much as we had previously projected,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a research note.


    UniCredit sells 537 million euros in soured loans to Banca IFIS

    Milan: Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit (CRDI.MI) said on Wednesday it had sold a soured loan portfolio with a nominal value of 537 million euros ($625 million) to Banca IFIS (IF.MI). 

    The impact of the sale, which UniCredit did not disclose, will be reflected in second-quarter earnings, it said. UniCredit said the portfolio comprised both unsecured and secured loans granted to small businesses and individuals. IFIS, a bank that specializes in recovering soured debt, said in a separate statement that the portfolio included more than 20,000 loans, partly extended through current accounts.


    No report of exodus of Hindu families from west UP: Centre

    New Delhi: There is no report related to exodus of Hindu families from western Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the Rajya Sabha today. 

    Ahir was replying to a written question related to the alleged incidents of exodus of Hindu families and steps taken by the government to check such incidents. "A report in this regard has been received from the government of Uttar Pradesh. As per the report, no matter related to exodus of Hindu familes in Banhera Khas village of Deoband, Saharanpur has been reported," Ahir, the minister of state for home, said. 


    Carnival Cinemas appoints Seenu Kurien as VP Sales, Marketing

    Mumbai: Multiplex operator Carnival Cinemas today said it has appointed Seenu Kurien to the newly created position of vice-president of sales and marketing. 

    She will head sales and marketing functions and will be responsible for ad sales, off screen and onscreen, marketing, branding, alliances and PR.


    Spuul partners with Ola

    Mumbai: Global video-on-demand platform Spuul today said it has partnered with cab aggregator Ola's connected car platform Ola Play. Spuul's wide variety of bollywood and regional movies will now be available on Ola Play. 

    This strategic partnership between Spuul and Ola Play will further enhance the in-car experience for customers, it sais in a statement. Ola customers cross Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Pune can access the content in Prime Play cars including in longer duration trips such as rentals and outstation. 


    London's Heathrow investigating airfield fire alarm

    London: London’s Heathrow Airport is investigating a fire alarm activation on the airfield and emergency services are responding, an airport spokeswoman said on Wednesday. 

    “We are investigating what it means for flights landing and departing,” she added.


    US asks court to detain alleged Russian agent pending trial

    Washington: The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal court on Wednesday to detain alleged Russian agent Maria Butina pending her trial, saying she poses a serious flight risk and will likely appeal to people in the Russian government to assist her in fleeing. 

    The Justice Department said Butina has been in contact with Russian intelligence operatives, kept contact information for several Russian agents and had a handwritten note in her apartment asking how to respond to an offer of employment with a Russian intelligence agency.


    Fed's Powell quizzed again on trade risks by US House

    Washington: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, questioned by members of a House congressional committee, repeated on Wednesday that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to a U.S. and global expansion that appears largely on track to continue. 

    “If this process leads to a world of higher tariffs on a wide range of goods and services that are traded and those are sustained for a longer period of time, if it results in a more protectionist world, that would be bad for our economy,” Powell told the House Financial Services Committee. “It isn’t up to us to criticize (administration) policies. But the evidence is clear that countries that remain open to trade have higher productivity. They have higher incomes.”


    Ernst & Young appoints Marna Ricker Americas vice chair, tax services

    Accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP said it had named veteran insider Marna Ricker as Americas vice chair, tax services, effective July 1. 

    Ricker currently serves as the U.S. Central Region Tax managing partner. The company also said it named Paul Stroud Americas deputy vice chair, tax services. Stroud, who was previously Americas tax managing partner, would replace Jeff Banta. Banta would take the role of global law co-leader. The company also hired Craig Hillier as EY Americas ITS leader, replacing Jeff Michalak, who will be the EY global ITS leader.


    America Movil says still evaluating bid on Brazil's Cemig

    Mexico City: America Movil, Latin America’s largest telecoms firm by number of subscribers, said on Wednesday that it is still evaluating whether to participate in the sale of Brazil’s Cemig Telecom. 

    The company, which is controlled by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, reported on Tuesday a 94-percent drop in its second-quarter net profit due to currency-related swings.


    Russian, Syrian authorities set up center for refugees returning to Syria

    Moscow: Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday Russian and Syrian authorities had set up a refugee center in Syria to help refugees return home from abroad. 

    The defense ministry said in a statement that the Centre for the Reception, Allocation and Accommodation of Refugees will “monitor the return of all temporarily-displaced people and Syrian refugees from foreign countries to their places of permanent residence”.


    US Commerce launches national security probe into uranium imports

    Washington: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday that he has launched a new national security investigation into uranium imports that could lead to tariffs or quotas to limit them. 

    The “Section 232” probe was prompted by a petition filed by two U.S. uranium mining companies complaining that subsidized foreign competitors have caused them to cut capacity and lay off workers, Ur-Energy Inc (URG.A) and Energy Fuels Inc (UUUU.A).


    There is enough time for Brexit deal, says May

    London: Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday there was enough time to negotiate a Brexit deal with the European Union. 

    Asked by MPs whether there was enough time left for a deal before Britain leaves in March next year, May said yes.


    British outsourcer Capita CFO Nick Greatorex steps down

    British outsourcing company Capita plc (CPI.L) said chief financial officer Nick Greatorex has decided to step down. 

    He will remain with Capita over the coming months, the company said, adding that a search for a new CFO is under way.


    1,10,333 cases of rape in India in 2014-16

    New Delhi: As many as 1,10,333 cases of rape were registered in the country between 2014-16, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said today. 

    Rijiju said in Rajya Sabha that 38,947 cases of rape were registered in 2016, 34,651 cases of rape were registered in 2015 and 36,735 cases of rape were registered in 2014. Altogether 3,38,954 cases of crime against women were registered in 2016, as many as 3,29,243 cases of crime against women were registered in 2015 and 3,39,457 such cases were registered in 2014, he said in a written reply.


    Chemical weapons agency says has collected samples from Amesbury for identification

    Amsterdam: The world’s chemical weapons watchdog said on Wednesday it has collected samples to identify the substance believed to have caused the July 8 death of a British woman in Amesbury, England, and sickened her partner. 

    The British government had asked the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to independently identify a substance that London has found to be Novichok — the same nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. A team from the OPCW will send two separate samples of the substance to laboratories and report the results to London.


    RCom reports smaller loss in first quarter

    Debt-laden Indian telecoms company Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) reported a narrower first-quarter loss of 3.42 billion rupees ($34 million) on Wednesday, citing lower expenses in terms of access charges and licensing fees. 

    It was the company’s seventh straight quarterly loss and compared with a loss of 12.21 billion rupees a year ago. RCom is yet to complete a 181 billion rupee asset sale to Reliance Jio Infocomm and Canada’s Brookfield, which will trim its huge debt pile. Revenue from operations fell about 26 percent to 10.06 billion rupees in the first quarter, it said.


    'It's not too late to save Brexit', Johnson tells parliament

    London: Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary who quit in protest at Theresa May’s plan for leaving the European Union, urged parliament on Wednesday to rethink its strategy, adding that the country would never get the chance to get it right again.

    “It is not too late to save Brexit,” he said as he delivered his resignation speech. “We have time in these negotiations, we have changed tack once and we can change again. “The problem is not that we failed to make the case for a Free Trade Agreement of the kind spelt out (by May) at Lancaster House, we haven’t even tried. We must try now because we will not get another chance to get it right.”


    Russia says Greece's expulsion of its diplomats to have consequences: RIA

    Moscow: Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Greece’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats would have consequences, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday.

    Athens said last week it had expelled two Russian diplomats for trying to bribe officials and foment demonstrations to thwart a deal to allow Macedonia to join NATO.


    UK police interview three people under caution over Grenfell fire

    London: Police investigating the Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 71 people last year said on Wednesday they had conducted three interviews under caution, and more would probably take place in the coming weeks. 

    They said they were considering offences including gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and breaches of the Health and Safety Act.


    Continental CFO says Powertrain IPO paves way for consolidation moves

    Frankfurt: Continental (CONG.DE) said a listing of its powertrain division will allow it to strike alliances or participate in merger deals in the sector, Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Schaefer said on Wednesday. 

    “We do not rule out that Powertrain strikes cooperation deals or supports consolidation,” Schaefer told journalists on a call to discuss the company’s reorganization. Currently, there are no plans to strike a deal with or create alliances for the Powertrain division, he added.  Continental said its powertrain division will include its electric and combustion engine assets.


    White House's Kudlow blames China's Xi for blocking US trade deal

    Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping was “holding up” a deal to resolve a “significant trade dispute” between the United States and China. 

    Larry Kudlow, head of the White House Economic Council, also said that he expects European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to bring a “significant” trade offer to Trump when he visits Washington next week.


    Bosnia police make big "skunk" cannabis haul, arrest one

    Sarajevo: Bosnian police have seized 665 kg (1,466 pounds) of a potent form of cannabis known as skunk hidden inside a truck, and arrested one person in one of the biggest drug hauls in the Balkan country, the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday. 

    The stash was discovered during a search of the vehicle in the southern coastal town of Neum. It had been smuggled from neighbouring Montenegro to Croatia and was destined for Western drug market, the office said in a statement. The stash is worth several million euros, it said, adding that an investigation into the crime had started. Bosnia has stepped up its fight against drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime as part of its bid to join the European Union.


    Wall Street opens higher led by industrial, financial stocks

    New York: U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, led by gains in industrials after robust quarterly profit from United Airlines and CSX Corp and as Morgan Stanley’s strong results lifted financial stocks.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 13.90 points, or 0.06 percent, at the open to 25,133.79. The S&P 500 .SPX opened higher by 1.80 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,811.35. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC gained 4.31 points, or 0.05 percent, to 7,859.43 at the opening bell.


    Russia says no grounds for arrest in U.S. of suspected Russian agent: RIA

    Moscow: Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday the arrest in the United States of a 29-year-old woman accused of being a Russian agent was carried out to spoil the positive impact of Monday’s Russia-U.S. summit in Helsinki, RIA news agency reported.

    Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was cited as saying there were no grounds for the detention of Russian Maria Butina, who was arrested on Sunday, a day before presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump met in Helsinki. Butina has been charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian government.


    Nigerian police say eight suspected Boko Haram members confess to Chibok abduction

    Maiduguri: Nigerian police said on Wednesday that eight suspected members of militant group Boko Haram they had arrested had confessed to involvement in the 2014 abduction of some 270 girls from the northeastern village of Chibok.

    The mass abduction of their girls from their school caused global outrage and drew attention to the militant group which has been trying to create an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria since 2009.


    U.S. home refinancing recovers from 17-1/2 year low: MBA

    New York: U.S. loan applications to refinance existing homes rebounded from their lowest levels in over 17-1/2 years last week, while home borrowing costs were mixed, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed on Wednesday.

    The Washington-based industry group said its seasonally adjusted index on homeowners’ requests for refinancing rose 2.2 percent to 979.6 in the week ended July 13. The prior week’s figure of 958.5 was the lowest since December 2000. Refinancing’s share of weekly mortgage activity recovered to 36.5 percent from 34.8 percent the week before, which was the lowest since August 2008, MBA said.


    Israeli military says sirens in Israeli city of Ashkelon were a false alarm

    Jerusalem: Rocket warning sirens sounded on Wednesday in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, about 14 km (9 miles) from the Gaza Strip, but were a false alarm, the Israeli military said.

    The sirens blared in the city of 130,000 people four days after a 24-hour flare-up of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip ended in an unofficial ceasefire. But tensions remain high.


    Russia, Japan to hold two-plus-two talks in Moscow on July 31: RIA

    Moscow: The foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Japan will meet in Moscow on July 31 as part of the two-plus-two talks, RIA news agency reported on Wednesday, citing Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.


    China regulator asks banks to lower financing costs for small enterprises

    Beijing: China banking and insurance regulator has asked banks to actively lower the financing costs and improve funding services for small businesses and private firms, as part of wider efforts to reduce risks in its financial sector. 

    The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission also requested bigger Chinese banks should also take the lead to boost lending to these smaller enterprises, it said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday. The Chinese government has embarked on a deleveraging campaign to crack down on financial risks and economic uncertainty triggered by a trade war with the United States that economists have cautioned could slow China’s economic growth.


    StashFin partners with DMI Finance for joint financing facility of Rs 30 cr

    New Delhi: Digital lending platform StashFin today said it has partnered with non-banking finance company DMI Finance to raise Rs 30 crore for onward lending through its platform

    "Rising first-time borrowers and increasing credit penetration in underserved customer segments combined with the government's thrust for financial inclusion has resulted in rapidly-increasing demand for capital by Indian households," DMI Finance CEO Arindam Das said. Tushar Aggarwal, founder of StashFin, said the partnership with DMI Finance will further help the company to accelerate its growth and increase its imprint across India. 


    WDM witnesses trade worth Rs 1,044.10 cr on NSE

    Mumbai: Wholesale debt market segment of the National Stock Exchange today witnessed a total turnover of Rs 1,044.10 crore in 33 trades.

    Top securities (nn-repo) traded at the WDM were: The 8.08 per cent Government security maturing in CG2022 traded value of Rs 100.00 crore at weighted yield of 7.85 per cent, the 91-days Treasury bills issue no 111018 traded value of Rs 100.00 crore at weighted yield of 6.53 per cent, and the 364-days Treasury bills issue no 110719 traded value of Rs 84.64 crore at weighted yield of 7.18 per cent, an NSE release said.


    EU's fine on Google is 'excellent decision': French government

    Paris: The French government said on Wednesday that it welcomed the record 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion) fine imposed on Google (GOOGL.O) by European Union regulators, with a government spokesman describing it as an “excellent decision”. 

    “No-one is above the laws that have been laid down in common for all, not Google, nor any other entity,” said government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who was addressing reporters. Earlier on Wednesday, EU regulators hit Google with the record fine for using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals. Google said it would appeal against the fine.


    Stifel hires Oppenheimer's Derek Archila as director, senior analyst

    Stifel Financial Corp (SF.N) said Derek Archila has joined the financial services company as a director and senior analyst, covering the biotechnology sector.

    Archila, who is based in Boston, was previously with Oppenheimer & Co Inc.


    Airbus CEO says activating Brexit contingency plans

    Farnborough, England: The chief executive of European planemaker Airbus said he was activating his Brexit contingency plans after the British government’s plan for leaving the bloc appeared to be “unravelling”. 

    Airbus CEO Tom Enders told reporters on Wednesday that the White Paper published by the UK government last Thursday was going in the right direction but events since had changed that view. He had started to activate his Brexit contingency plans as a result, he said, explaining that that meant creating buffers of stocks so that output could continue whatever the trading relationship between Britain and the bloc after Britain leaves it in March 2019.


    OPEC, non-OPEC ministerial committee, joined by Iran, hold conference call: Sources

    Dubai: A joint OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee, chaired by Saudi Arabia and joined by Iran, held a conference call on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    Iran was represented by its OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili and a statement is expected to be issued later today, the sources said. Iran is not a member of the committee, known as the JMMC, which groups Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Algeria, Venezuela and Oman.


    Continental AG prepares powertrain for IPO in 2019

    Frankfurt: German auto supplier Continental (CONG.DE) on Wednesday said it will list its powertrain division as early as mid 2019 as part of a broader strategy overhaul to break itself up into three divisions under a holding company structure starting in 2020. 

    Continental will create three divisions: Continental Rubber, Continental Automotive and Powertrain, the company said. Continental added that the sale of a minority stake in the Rubber group, possibly through a stock market flotation, is an option for future.  The carve-out of the Powertrain group sector will lead to estimated operational costs of 350 million euros, Continental said, adding that a large part of that will be incurred in 2018 and 2019.


    Rupee drops 17 paise to close at 68.62 against US dollar

    Mumbai: The rupee today dropped by 17 paise to settle at 68.62 paise against US dollar at the interbank foreign exchange market. 

    The pound sterling finished sharply lower at Rs 89.39/41 at the close of the forex market here today. Following are the Interbank forex and FBIL rates: (In Rs per unit) Unit Interbank FBIL Reference US Dollar 68.62/63 US Dollar 68.5652 Pound Sterling 89.39/41 EURO 79.7363
    Euro 79.72/74 Japanese yen (100) 60.74/76


    China Commerce Ministry says will have to take further measures to respond to US 232 tariffs on steel, aluminium

    Beijing: China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday it would have to take further measures to compensate for losses caused by the United States’ Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium to safeguard its rights and interests. 

    The ministry’s statement came after Washington on July 16 lodged five challenges at the World Trade Organization against retaliatory tariffs imposed by countries, including China, in response to the Section 232 measures.


    Russian envoy says U.N. should discuss easing North Korea sanctions: RIA

    Moscow: Russia’s envoy to North Korea said it would be logical to raise the question of easing sanctions against North Korea with the United Nations Security Council, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday. 

    “The positive change on the Korean peninsula is now obvious,” said Alexander Matsegora.  The envoy also said Russia was ready to help modernise North Korea’s energy system if sanctions against Pyongyang are lifted and if Pyongyang can find funding for the modernisation.


    US envoy says disappointed by pastor's continued detention in Turkey

    Aliaga, Turkey: The U.S. charge d’affaires in Turkey said on Wednesday he was disappointed by a Turkish court’s decision to keep an American pastor in jail while his trial on terrorism and spying charges continues. 

    Philip Kosnett told reporters he was concerned about the status of the pastor, Andrew Brunson, and other Americans detained in Turkey and that he did not see any indication that Brunson was guilty of any sort of criminal activity.


    After record Google fine, Vestager says she likes the US

    Brussels: EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she “very much liked the U.S.” following a record-setting 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion) fine for Google (GOOGL.O) for using its Android mobile operating system the thwart rivals. 

    “I very much like the U.S.,” Vestager told a news conference in Brussels. “But the fact is that this has nothing to do with how I feel. Nothing whatsoever. Just as enforcing competition law, we do it in the world, but we do not do it in political context,” she added. Vestager added she would continue to enforce competition law, no matter the political context.


    Premier Foods CEO Darby set to survive vote to replace him by narrow margin

    London: Premier Foods (PFD.L) Chief Executive Gavin Darby has received the support of 58.92 percent of proxy votes counted ahead of Wednesday’s annual general meeting, with 41.07 percent of shareholders voting against his re-election.

    The final result will be announced later on Wednesday.


    EU needs to know Britain is also preparing for a no-deal Brexit: May

    London: Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday Britain needed to make clear to the European Union that it was preparing for a no-deal outcome to the Brexit negotiations despite wanting to leave with an agreement.

    “We do need to make sure that we have those no-deal preparations in place while we negotiate with the European Union on a deal ... The European Union need to be in no doubt that we are making those preparations,” she said.


    First Ethiopian flight in 20 years lands to cheers in Eritrea

    Asmara: The first flight in 20 years from Ethiopia to Eritrea landed safely in Asmara on Wednesday, to be greeted by traditional dancers waving flags and flowers, cementing a stunning reconciliation between the Horn of Africa foes.

    Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam took to the on-board intercom as the flight crossed into Eritrean airspace. “This is the first time that this is happening in twenty years,” he said, to applause from the 315 passengers on board.


    Comgest appoints Junzaburo Hyuga as analyst in Tokyo

    Comgest, an international asset management group, said it had appointed Junzaburo Hyuga as an analyst, based in the firm’s Tokyo office. 

    Hyuga was previously a senior associate at Global Strategy Consultants.


    Turkish court rules to keep US pastor in jail as trial continues

    Aliaga, Turkey:  A Turkish court has ruled to keep in jail an American pastor being tried on terrorism and spying charges, a case which has deepened a rift between two NATO allies. 

    Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of helping the group that Ankara blames for the failed 2016 coup against President Tayyip Erdogan, as well as supporting outlawed PKK Kurdish militants. The next hearing for the trial is scheduled for October 12.


    Britain already talking to EU on future ties based on white paper: May

    London: Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday her government was already negotiating with the European Union on future ties, based on a white paper policy document published last week.

    “The Chequers agreement, the white paper are the basis for our negotiation with the European Union and we have already started those negotiations,” she told parliament, adding that she had not abandoned her plan for the facilitated customs arrangement with the EU.



    Google says will appeal EU fine

    Brussels: Google said it will appeal against a record 4.34-billion-euro ($5.04 billion) fine levied by EU antitrust regulators on Wednesday over illegal restrictions on Android smartphone makers and mobile network operators.

    “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” Google spokesman Al Verney said. “A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. We will appeal the Commission’s decision.”


    Britain already talking to EU on future ties based on white paper: May

    London: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday her government was already negotiating with the European Union on future ties, based on a white paper policy document published last week.

    “The Chequers agreement, the white paper are the basis for our negotiation with the European Union and we have already started those negotiations,” she told parliament, adding that she had not abandoned her plan for the facilitated customs arrangement with the EU.


    India raises 2018/19 sugar cane floor price by 7.84 percent: Minister

    New Delhi: Indian cabinet has approved raising the price that sugar mills must pay for cane in the next season beginning Oct. 1, to 275 rupees ($4.01) per 100 kg, up from 255 rupees a year earlier, a minister said on Wednesday. 

    The government raises the floor price for cane every year, but Uttar Pradesh state, the country’s top cane producer, invariably raises the floor price further to woo million of cane growers, an influential voting bloc.


    EU regulators fine Google record $5 billion in Android case

    Brussels: EU antitrust regulators levied a record 4.34-billion-euro ($5.04 billion) fine against Google on Wednesday for illegal restrictions on Android smartphone makers and mobile network operators. 

    The European Commission ordered Google to end the illegal conduct within 90 days or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of parent Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover. The EU enforcer also dismissed Google’s arguments citing Apple as a competitor to Android devices, saying the iPhone maker does not sufficiently constrain Google because of its higher prices and switching costs for users.


    EU's Vestager to hold news conference, Google decision expected

    Brussels: EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager will hold a news conference at 1100 GMT, the European Commission said on Wednesday, where she is expected to announce a record fine against Google for using its Android mobile operating system to block rivals. 

    The Commission said Vestager would speak on an antitrust case but did not provide details.


    VietJet Air, Boeing announce MoU for 100 737 MAX planes

    Farnborough, England: Vietnamese budget airline VietJet Air and Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Wednesday they had reached a provisional agreement for 100 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.

    Of the 100 aircraft in the memorandum of understanding announced at the Farnborough Air Show, 80 were 737 MAX 10 and 20 were 737 MAX 8 variants, Boeing said.


    Thailand's cave boys leave hospital for first public appearance

    Chiang Rai, Thailand: The 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach rescued from a flooded cave left a hospital in the northern province of Chiang Rai on Wednesday for a news conference to be broadcast on national television, a Reuters witness said. 

    The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach sparked an international rescue effort after they became trapped inside the flooded Tham Luang cave complex.


    Hungary to quit UN migration pact: Minister

    Budapest: Hungary will quit the United Nations migration pact before its final approval, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday, adding that the accord posed a “threat to the world”.

    “This document is entirely against Hungary’s security interests,” Szijjarto told a news conference. The accord is to be formally adopted in December, but Hungary will not take part at the Morocco meeting, Szijjarto said, adding that the country would also oppose the pact should it come up for a vote in the General Assembly.


    FBIL sets rupee reference rate at 68.5652 against dollar

    Mumbai: The Financial Benchmarks india private limited (FBIL) today fixed the reference rate of the rupee at 68.5652 against the US dollar and 79.7363 for the euro. The corresponding rates were 68.2978 and 80.1006, yesterday.

    According to an FBIL statement, the exchange rates for the pound and the yen against the rupee were 89.7258 and 60.65 per 100 yens, respectively, based on reference rates for the dollar and cross-currency quotes at noon. The SDR-rupee figure will be based on this rate, the statement added.


    Goa bans fish import from neighbouring states

    Panaji: The Goa government has banned the import of fish from neighbouring states until July end in the wake of a controversy over the use of formalin in fish consignments, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday. 

    "A formal notification will be issued by evening. The decision has been taken as a measure of abundant caution," Parrikar told a press conference. Parrikar said that once the annual ban on fishing in Goa ends on July 31, and fishing officially resumes on August 1, there will be no issue of fish shortage in the state. 


    Trump says Russia to 'help with North Korea'

    Washington: President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Russia would help with North Korea and offered an enthusiastic update on the U.S. process of negotiating with the antagonistic Asian nation over nuclear weapons.

    “Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along,” said Trump on Twitter. “There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!”


    Russia supplies North Korea with 200-400 tonnes of oil products a month: RIA

    Moscow: Russia supplies North Korea with between 200 and 400 tonnes of oil products per month, Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, was cited as saying by RIA news agency on Wednesday.

    North Korea relies on imported fuel to keep its struggling economy functioning. Quotas set by the United Nations allow over 60,000 tonnes of oil products from Russia, China and other countries to be delivered to North Korea per year, Matsegora was quoted as saying in January.


    ED files charge sheet against pharma firm Sterling Biotech director

    New Delhi: ED files charge sheet against pharma firm Sterling Biotech director Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit in over Rs 5,000 cr bank loan fraud case.


    Summit between Russia and North Korea is on the agenda: RIA

    Moscow: A summit between the leaders of Russia and North Korea is “on the agenda”, Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, was cited as saying by RIA news agency on Wednesday.

    The Kremlin said last month that Russia had invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to travel to the country, adding he could visit as part of an economic forum due to be held in the far eastern city of Vladivostok in September.


    Credit Benchmark names Nick Pastoressa chief product and technology officer

    Financial data analytics company Credit Benchmark said it had appointed Nick Pastoressa as chief product and technology officer, effective immediately. 

    Pastoressa, who would be based in New York, joins from Nasdaq, where he was the global head of product and platform.


    SC asks Amrapali to submit financial details of projects undertaken by it since 2008-09

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Amrapali to furnish details of proposal in ten days and submit financial details of projects undertaken by it since 2008-09.


    Trump says 'big results will come' with Putin

    U.S President Donald Trump said Wednesday he got on well with Russian President Vladimir Putin at their summit in Finland and “big results will come”.

    “So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!” he said on Twitter. Trump sought on Tuesday to calm the storm over what critics said was his failure to hold Putin accountable for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, saying he misspoke in the joint news conference in Helsinki.


    UK PM May to visit Northern Ireland to offer Brexit reassurances

    London: British Prime Minister Theresa May will make a two-day visit to Northern Ireland on Thursday, seeking to reassure businesses that her government will avoid a hard border after Brexit between the province and European Union member Ireland.

    “I look forward to hearing views from businesses on the border in Northern Ireland on our departure from the European Union,” May said in a statement.


    IS militants behead Taliban commander in Afghanistan: Official

    Kabul: Militants loyal to the Islamic State (IS) terror group captured and beheaded a senior commander of the rival Taliban on Wednesday amid fierce fighting continuing between the two groups in Afghanistan Jawzjan province, a government spokesman said. 

    The rival groups have been locked in a battle over the past one week in the Darzab district and on Wednesday IS militants killed Mullah Burjan, Reza Ghafoori said.


    Lok Sabha to take up discussion and voting on no-confidence motion on July 20

    New Delhi: Lok Sabha to take up discussion and voting on no-confidence motion on July 20, says Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.


    ED files supplementary charge sheet against 34 accused in AgustaWestland helicopters bribery scam

    New Delhi: ED files supplementary charge sheet against 34 accused in  AgustaWestland helicopters bribery scam. Charge sheet names ex Air Chief S P Tyagi, his cousin, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, two Italian middlemen and others as accused.

    Charge sheet accuses them of money laundering of Euro 28 million, punishable under sections 3 and 4 of PMLA. 


    DTCC opens Irish trade reporting base to avoid Brexit disruption

    London: DTCC, a global securities settlement house, said it will open an office in Dublin to continue serving European Union customers after Britain leaves the bloc next year. 

    The DTCC said its new Irish office will offer a service for reporting derivatives traded on and off an exchange.  “Our continued growth and desire to get ahead of new regulatory obligations, because of Brexit, now takes us across the Irish Sea to Dublin,” Simon Farrington, DTCC’s managing director in EMEA, said in a statement.


    UltraTech Cement first-quarter profit beats estimates

    India’s UltraTech Cement Ltd on Wednesday reported a first-quarter net profit of 5.98 billion rupees ($87.15 million), beating street estimates.Analysts on average were expecting the country’s largest cement manufacturer to post a profit of 5.58 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters data. 

    As standalone results include financial results of some cement plants acquired from Jaiprakash Associates Ltd and Jaypee Cement Corp last year, the reported figures are not comparable with the year-ago period, the company said.  Revenue from operations stood at 86.55 billion rupees.


    EU's Vestager to hold news conference, Google decision expected

    Brussels: EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager will hold a news conference at 1100 GMT, the European Commission said on Wednesday, where she is expected to announce a record fine against Google for using its Android mobile operating system to block rivals.

    The Commission said Vestager would speak on an antitrust case but did not provide details.


    Daimler's Mercedes-Benz China to recall 106,594 vehicles from April 30, 2019: Regulator

    Beijing: German carmaker Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz Chinese joint ventures will recall 106,594 vehicles from April 30, 2019, due to potential issues with Takata Corp air bags, China’s market regulator said on Wednesday.

    Daimler is the owner of Mercedes-Benz and Smart.



    Irish foreign minister says EU to negotiate Brexit on white paper only

    Dublin: The European Union plans to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal on the basis of the British government’s white paper on Brexit and will not focus on amendments passed by the British parliament, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

    “What we need to do is focus on the white paper that the British govt has published and it is up to the British govt then to get that through their parliament system or get a version of that when the negotiations conclude,” Simon Coveney told RTE radio. “That is the only way we can work.” “If we get distracted by individual amendments to individual pieces of legislation — legislation that isn’t even fully passed yet, and isn’t even passed by House of Lords yet then I think we get dragged into a debate that wastes a lot of time and energy,” he added.


    China foreign ministry says trade war has become biggest 'confidence killer' for world economy

    Beijing: China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that a U.S. trade war has become the biggest “confidence killer” for the global economy, and that the whole world would fight back if the United States continued to impose tariffs.

    Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular press briefing that the US is fabricating all kinds of justifications, including that of national security. The US and China have imposed tariffs on $34 billion of each other’s imports. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened further tariffs unless Beijing agrees to change its intellectual property practices and high-technology industrial subsidy plans.


    EU to launch safeguards to curb steel imports on Thursday

    Brussels: The European Union will launch safeguard measures on Thursday designed to prevent a surge of steel imports into the bloc that could have followed the U.S. imposition of tariffs on incoming steel and aluminium, the EU’s official journal said.

    The European Commission has proposed a combination of a quota and a tariff to counter EU concerns that steel products no longer imported into the US would instead flood European markets. The quotas for 23 steel product categories are designed to be a reflection of imports over the past three years, with a 25% tariff set for volumes exceeding those amounts.


    Airbus says Pratt & Whitney catching up on engine delays

    Farnborough: European planemaker Airbus said on Wednesday that supplier Pratt & Whitney was catching up on engine delays and there would be an improvement especially in the second half of the year.

    Airbus has faced a backlog of up to 100 A320neo jets sitting on the ground outside factories without their engines due to delays in deliveries, mainly from U.S.-based Pratt & Whitney. Airbus is holding an investor meeting on day three of the Farnborough Airshow near London.


    Sealing, demolition of unauthorised constructions in Delhi will not stop, says SC

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that sealing and demolition of unauthorised constructions in Delhi will not stop and directed adequate police protection for officers carrying out sealing drive.


    Bandhan Bank first-quarter profit surges on higher interest income

    India’s Bandhan Bank Ltd posted a 47 percent surge in its quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by higher interest income.

    Net profit was 4.82 billion rupees ($70.32 million) in the first quarter ended June 30, compared with 3.27 billion rupees a year ago, the Kolkata-based bank, which started as a micro-finance firm, said in a statement. Gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans stood at 1.26% at end-June, compared with 1.25% in the previous quarter and 0.93% a year earlier. Interest earned during the quarter was up about 35 percent.



    Ethiopian Airlines makes first Ethiopia-Eritrea flight since border war began in 1998

    Addis Ababa: The first Ethiopian Airlines flight from Ethiopia to Eritrea in 20 years departed Addis Ababa early on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said, marking the resumption of flights between the two neighbors who ended their “state of war” last week.

    Since signing an agreement in Asmara on July 9 to restore ties, the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia have moved swiftly to implement concrete signs of a stunning rapprochement that has swept away two decades of hostility since conflict erupted over a disputed frontier in 1998.


    Syrian state TV: evacuation buses enter al-Foua and Kefraya villages

    Beirut: Buses and ambulances entered the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, under siege from insurgents in northwest Syria, on Wednesday as part of an agreement to evacuate residents, state TV said.

    Rebels and Iran-backed negotiators reached a deal to evacuate thousands of people from the two Shi’ite villages in return for the release of hundreds of detainees in state prisons, sources said on Tuesday.


    Parliament to debate no-trust motion against Modi's government

    New Delhi: The parliament will debate a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government moved by the opposition, the house speaker said on Wednesday.

    Modi’s government has a clear majority in the 545-member Lok Sabha, but the opposition is hoping to make political gains by focussing attention on slow job growth and deteriorating law and order. National elections are due next year.


    GVC's gaming revenue rises 11 percent on football World Cup boost

    British gambling company GVC Holdings Plc said on Wednesday its quarterly net gaming revenue rose 11 percent as the football World Cup boosted margins, volumes and value of new customer deposits.

    The company said its second-quarter online net gaming revenue grew 22 percent, with a 15 percent rise recorded between Jan. 1 to June 13, the period before the World Cup began. GVC’s online brands have continued to benefit from a pipeline of new products and marketing campaigns, the company said.


    Smiths Group medical unit hurt by EU medical devices regulation

    Smiths Group Plc (SMIN.L) expects a 2 percent drop in full-year revenue at its medical unit, hurt by some products losing certifications under the new European Union medical devices regulation and two contracts falling through in the United States, it said on Wednesday. 

    The engineering company, which provides hospital equipment, industrial services and security sensors, said group underlying revenue was 3 percent higher for the eleven months ended June, as its growth rate in the second half accelerated.Smiths, which is in talks about a potential combination of its medical division with U.S.-based ICU Medical Inc (ICUI.O), said there was no certainty that a transaction would be concluded.


    GVC's gaming revenue rises 11 percent on football World Cup boost

    British gambling company GVC Holdings Plc (GVC.L) said on Wednesday its quarterly net gaming revenue rose 11 percent as the football World Cup boosted margins, volumes and value of new customer deposits. 

    The company said its second-quarter online net gaming revenue grew 22 percent, with a 15 percent rise recorded between Jan. 1 to June 13, the period before the World Cup began.GVC’s online brands have continued to benefit from a pipeline of new products and marketing campaigns, the company said.


    Rajya Sabha disrupted on Day 1 of monsoon session

    New Delhi: The monsoon session of Parliament began on a stormy note on Wednesday with the Rajya Sabha witnessing its first noisy disruption by opposition members, causing ruckus and an adjournment. 

    After reading obituary references and making an announcement to allow members make speeches in their regional languages, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu called for Zero Hour.  But TDP MPs protested, demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh. Naidu adjourned the House till 12 p.m.


    Premier Foods sales rise on strong demand for Mr Kipling cakes

    Premier Foods (PFD.L) posted a 1.7 percent increase in quarterly sales on Wednesday, fuelled by higher sales of its Mr Kipling cakes, as the company battles to retain under-fire CEO Gavin Darby at Wednesday’s annual meeting.

    Premier Foods, which has been under pressure from two major shareholders to oust Darby, said it is identifying strategic opportunities to speed up the company’s turnaround.


    Plastics packager RPC posts 5.8 percent rise in revenue

    RPC Group Plc (RPC.L), Europe’s biggest plastics packager, reported a 5.8 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Wednesday, helped by contribution from its Astrapak moulded plastic packaging business and favourable polymer pricing.

    The company said revenue rose to 964.7 million pounds in the quarter ended June 30.


    UK airline easyJet upgrades profit guidance

    London: British low cost airline easyJet (EZJ.L) upgraded its full-year profit guidance on Wednesday, shrugging off the cost of air traffic control strikes after it said it was benefiting from a benign competitor environment.

    easyJet said that pretax profit for the 12 months to the end of September 2018 would now be in the range of 550 million pounds to 590 million pounds, up from the 530-580 million pounds it forecast in May.


    British lender Close Brothers reports rise in loan book

    British lender Close Brothers Group Plc (CBRO.L) reported on Wednesday a rise in its loan book, driven by growth in its commercial and property finance businesses.

    The merchant banking group, which provides loans and wealth management and securities trading services, said the loan book at its banking division rose 6.6 percent to 7.3 billion pounds as at June 30.


    Ericsson posts surprise profit in second-quarter

    Stockholm: Mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson (ERICb.ST) reported on Wednesday an unexpected swing to a second-quarter operating profit and said it was confident in reaching its long-term targets.

    Marking its second consecutive quarter of substantial progress toward hitting its 2020 financial goals, the Swedish firm posted an operating profit of 0.2 billion crowns ($22.6 million), compared to a 0.5 billion loss a year earlier and a mean forecast for a 0.1 billion loss seen in a Reuters poll of analysts.


    Akzo Nobel misses second-quarter core earnings, sales forecasts

    Amsterdam: Akzo Nobel (AKZO.AS), the Dutch paints and coatings maker, on Wednesday said its operating income fell 23 percent to 225 million euros as sales slid 3 percent in the second quarter, missing market forecasts.

    Analysts polled for Reuters had expected adjusted operating income to drop 15 percent to 249 million euros. Sales had been seen slipping roughly 2 percent to 2.48 billion euros.


    Tamil Nadu to ask court to dismiss Vedanta's smelter reopening plea

    New Delhi: Tamil Nadu will ask India’s environment court to dismiss Vedanta Ltd’s petition seeking to reopen its copper smelter, a lawyer representing the state government said on Thursday.

    The Tamil Nadu government ordered the permanent closure of the plant and disconnected its power supply in May following protests that turned violent and culminated in the police opening fire on protesters, killing 13 of them.  The protesters had demanded a permanent shutdown of the plant, which they said was causing air and water pollution. Vedanta says the protests were based on false notions.


    Fed's George says uncertainty over trade policy could hurt

    Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George said on Tuesday that uncertainty over U.S. trade policy could slow the economy, even if the current tariffs in and of themselves are too small to have a big impact.

    George called trade policy a “significant” downside risk to her outlook for economic growth, even as tax cuts and other fiscal policy is an upside risk.



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