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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

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Volkswagen profit fell 20% in Q1 of 2016 as the auto maker continues to grapple with fallout from the diesel emissions scandal.

Pre-tax profit fell to €3.2 billion in Q1 of 2016, down from €3.97 billion in the same period a year ago.

VW CEO Matthias Muller said he was “satisfied” with the start of “what will undoubtedly be a demanding” 2016.

The German giant admitted last year that it installed software to cheat US emissions tests.

VW has already set aside more than €16 billion to pay for costs arising from the scandal.

The company has agreed a deal with the DoJ in which it will buy back and “substantially” compensate more than 500,000 American owners of its diesel cars affected by the emissions cheating. Final details are expected in June.VW CO2 issue 2015


“In the first quarter, we once again managed to limit the economic effects of the diesel issue and achieve respectable results under difficult conditions,” Matthias Muller added.

VW Group sales revenue fell 3.4% to €51 billion in the period.

Sales of VW-branded cars were particularly hard hit, with profit from that part of the business falling 83% to €73 million from €514in 2015.

VW maintained its forecast of a 5% fall in 2016 sales revenue compared with last year, “depending on economic conditions – particularly in South America and Russia – and exchange rate developments as well as against the backdrop of the diesel issue”.

However, the company predicted “a marked decrease in sales revenue” in 2016 for its passenger car brands, which include Audi, Seat and Skoda.

Matthias Muller said: “2016 will be a transitional year for Volkswagen… we remain confident that our operating business will again record solid growth this year.”

After publishing the profit report, VW shares fell 3% in Frankfurt to €133.57 and are down 40% over the past 12 months.

Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido is now “safe and sound” after police rescued him from kidnappers who seized him in north-eastern Mexico.

Alan Pulido was abducted at gunpoint on Saturday night in his home town of Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas state.

The  25-year-old striker, who plays for Greek team Olympiakos, phoned police while his captors were distracted, officials say.

A 38-year-old man has been arrested. Officials say he confessed to belonging to a local criminal gang.

Police are searching for another three men believed to have been involved in the kidnapping.Alan Pulido kidnapped in Mexico

Alan Pulido’s car was surrounded by several vehicles as he was leaving a party with his girlfriend on Saturday night.

Masked men took him away, leaving his girlfriend unharmed in the car park where the incident took place.

Alan Pulido’s family received a phone call on Sunday demanding a ransom payment, state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla told journalists.

It is not clear whether the family was planning to meet the kidnappers’ demands or how big the ransom demand was.

Ismael Quintanilla said that the security forces were able to locate Alan Pulido thanks to the phone call he managed to make to police.

He said no shots had been fired and the Olympiakos striker only sustained a minor injury.

One of his hands bandaged, Alan Pulido told reporters on May 30: “[I am] very well, thank God.”

Tamaulipas is one of Mexico’s most violent states, and Mexico recently deployed more security forces to tackle cartels operating in the area.

Mexico has one of the world’s highest kidnapping rates, with government figures saying some 1,000 people are abducted every year.

Others argue that the true figure could be almost 10 times as high.

Alan Pulido joined Olympiakos in July 2015 and finished the season with six goals in 15 games.

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Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido has been abducted near his home in Ciudad Victoria – the capital of the northern border state of Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Security forces have launched a major search operation after the 25-year-old striker was abducted near Ciudad Victoria after leaving a party.

Local reporters said they saw soldiers and police officers in the streets of the Mexican city.

Alan Pulido plays for the Greek team Olympiakos and has made several appearances for Mexico’s national team.

Olympiakos said on its Twitter page: “At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Alan.”

Similar comments were published on social media websites by Alan Pulido’s teammates from the national squad.Alan Pulido kidnapped in Mexico

Mexico has one of the world’s highest kidnapping rates, with government figures saying some 1,000 people are abducted every year.

Others argue that the true figure could be almost 10 times as high.

Local media reports said Alan Pulido had been leaving a party with his girlfriend in the early hours of May 29 when their car was surrounded by several trucks.

Six masked men reportedly took the striker away “by force” while Alan Pulido’s girlfriend was left unharmed in the car park where the incident took place.

Tamaulipas is one of Mexico’s most violent states, and Mexico recently deployed more security forces to tackle cartels operating in the area.

Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks in the border state, which is criss-crossed by drug-smuggling routes to the US.

Alan Pulido joined Olympiakos in July 2015 and finished the season with six goals in 15 games.

Lufthansa has announced that it will suspend flights to Venezuela from June 18 due to economic difficulties in the country.

The German airline also said currency controls in Venezuela made it impossible for airlines to convert their earnings into dollars and send the money abroad.

Venezuela’s economy has been hit hard by a sharp drop in the price of oil – the country’s main source of income.

The country has high inflation and severe shortages of basic goods.

In a statement, Lufthansa said that it “will be forced to suspend our service between Caracas and Frankfurt as of June 18”.Lufthansa suspends Venezuela flights

The company noted that the demand for international flights to Venezuela had dropped in 2015 and in the first quarter of the current year.

However, it said it hoped to restore services in the near future.

Strict currency controls were first imposed in Venezuela in 2003 by late President Hugo Chavez.

The restrictions were further tightened two years ago, forcing several airlines to reduce their operations in the country as they struggled to repatriate billions of dollars in revenue held in the local currency – the bolivar.

Some airlines are now requiring passengers to pay their fares in dollars.

Venezuela’s government has defended its policies, saying it must prioritize.

Caracas says it is using its foreign reserves – which are now scarce – to pay for essential items such as medicines and industrial machinery.

In a major breakthrough deal, eurozone finance ministers have agreed to extend further bailout loans to Greece as well as debt relief.

After Brussels talks, the ministers agreed to unlock 10.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion) in new loans.

The move came two days after the Greek parliament approved another round of spending cuts and tax increases demanded by international creditors.

The 19 eurozone ministers – known as the Eurogroup also said debt relief would be eventually offered to Greece.

This had been a key demand from the IMF, which says public debt is unsustainable at current levels of about 180% of Greece’s gross domestic product.Greece bailout Wikileaks

The deal was announced after 11 hours of talks between the Eurogroup ministers.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters on May 25: “We achieved a major breakthrough on Greece which enables us to enter a new phase in the Greek financial assistance program.”

Jeroen Dijsselbloem said a package of debt measures would be “phased in progressively”, adding that he was “glad to confirm” the IMF would now stay on board.

Poul M. Thomsen, director of the IMF’s European Department, welcomed the recognition that Greek debt was unsustainable and relief was needed.

He warned, however, that the IMF board in Washington still had to agree to the fund’s participation. He also said that the extent of debt relief was still not clear.

The IMF and the Eurogroup have been at odds for months over the issue of reducing Greece’s debt.

Greece’s parliament passed new budget cuts and tax rises at the weekend, in order to unblock much-needed aid to help meet the country’s debt repayments over the coming months.

The bill also created a state privatization fund requested by eurozone finance ministers.

Opponents of the measures demonstrated outside parliament on May 22.

The Greek government, led by the leftist Syriza coalition, agreed to a third bailout worth €86 billion ($96 billion) in 2015.

 

Coca-Cola has been forced to stop producing soft drinks in Venezuela amid an escalating food and energy shortage.

The company said that sugar suppliers in Venezuela will “temporarily cease operations due to a lack of raw materials”.

The announcement comes after Venezuela’s biggest brewer, Empresas Polar, closed plants due to a barley shortage.

Venezuela’s economy has contracted sharply as oil prices plunge.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said the company would continue producing sugarless drinks such as Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke).

She said: “We are engaging with suppliers, government authorities and our associates to take the necessary actions for a prompt solution.”Coca Cola Venezuela sugar shortage

Sugarcane production has been falling due to price controls and rising production costs, as well as problems in obtaining fertilizer.

As a result, many smaller farmers have turned to other crops that are not price controlled and thus generate higher income.

Venezuela is expected to produce 430,000 tonnes of sugarcane in 2016/17, down from 450,000 tonnes for the previous 12 months, and import 850,000 tonnes of raw and refined sugar, according to USDA figures.

The country’s economic problems have forced many consumers to queue for hours to buy basic foodstuffs.

Venezuela’s economy is expected to shrink by 8% in 2016 after it contracted by 5.8% in 2015.

Its reliance on oil to generate foreign currency and investment has made it a victim of regular recessions.

President Nicolas Maduro has declared a state of emergency in an effort to combat the economic crisis. Critics argue it is an attempt to strengthen his grip on power.

Meanwhile, Bridgestone said on May 23 it was selling its Venezuelan business after six decades in the country.

Bridgestone’s Venezuelan assets will be sold to Grupo Corimon.

Other multinational companies such as Procter & Gamble, Ford and Halliburton have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.

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German chemicals giant Bayer has made a $62 billion offer for American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto, in a deal that would create the world’s biggest agricultural supplier.

Both companies confirmed last week that Bayer had launched an offer for the US seeds giant.

Monsanto is primarily known for genetically modified crops, often leading to vocal activist criticism.

The offer comes amid a wave of mergers in the industry.

Rivals DuPont, Dow Chemical, and Syngenta have all announced tie-ups recently, although they have yet to be cleared by regulators.Bayer to buy Monsanto

Bayer said the offer of $122 per share represented a 37% premium on the price of Monsanto shares before rumors about the takeover bid emerged in the media.

When news about the takeover offer broke last week, Bayer shares took an 8% hit and a number of large Bayer investors voiced their criticism of the prospective deal.

Bayer has a market value of about $90 billion, making it the second-largest producer of crop chemicals after Syngenta.

Monsanto, which has a market capitalization of $42 billion, attempted to buy Swiss rival Syngenta in 2015.

However, Syngenta ended up accepting a $43 billion offer from ChemChina in February, although that deal is still being reviewed by regulators in the US.

Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto is expected to be bigger in value than the ChemChina-Syngenta deal.

The biggest merger in the chemicals industry took place late last year when Dow Chemical teamed up with Du Pont to form a new $130 billion company.

The US has increased its import duties on Chinese steelmakers by more 522% after accusing them of selling their products below market prices.

According to the US Commerce Department, the taxes specifically apply to Chinese-made cold-rolled flat steel, which is used in car manufacturing, shipping containers and construction.

Its ruling comes amid heightened trade tensions between the two sides over several products, including chicken parts.

Steel is an especially sensitive issue.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

American and European steel producers claim China is distorting the global market and undercutting them by dumping its excess supply abroad.

A separate filing by major US steelmakers to the International Trade Commission is looking to completely ban all Chinese steel imports.

The US steel industry claims that around 12,000 workers have been laid off in the past year because of unfair Chinese competition.

China claims the weak economy is more responsible for the industry’s problems and that it has taken steps to reduce its steel production.

In 2015, China’s exports of cold-rolled steel flat products to the US were valued at an estimated $272.3 million.

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Pfizer will acquire California-based Anacor Pharmaceuticals – the maker of a new eczema treatment – in a deal worth $5.2 billion.

The pharmaceutical giant announced it had agreed a deal with the board of Anacor.

Anacor’s flagship product is crisaborole, a cream for eczema which is awaiting approval by US regulators.Pfizer buys Anacor

The deal comes just weeks after Pfizer scrapped a planned $160 billion merger with Irish drugmaker Allergan for tax reasons.

Albert Bourla, head of Pfizer’s global innovative pharma unit, said: “We believe the acquisition of Anacor represents an attractive opportunity to address a significant unmet medical need for a large patient population.”

Crisaborole can achieve $2 billion in annual sales if approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Pfizer.

Some 18 million to 25 million people suffer from eczema in the US, but currently there are few safe appropriate treatments, Pfizer said.

Anacor shares jumped 57%, rising above the $99.25 a share agreed with Pfizer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoTor_BOKgs

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Warren Buffett has revealed that his investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, has bought a $1 billion stake in Apple.

In a regulatory filing, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a holding of 9.81 million shares in Apple.

Warren Buffett, who has traditionally shied away from tech stocks, is known for buying “value stocks”, so it is being seen as significant for Apple.

Apple’s shares have fallen almost 30% over the past year but rose on May 16 and closed the trading session 3.7% higher at $93.88.

Slowing iPhone sales have led investors to question whether the company can maintain Apple’s huge profit levels.

Last week Apple temporarily lost its place as the world’s most valuable company after a fall in shares pushed its total market value below that of Google parent Alphabet.Apple patent infringement case University of Wisconsin

Warren Buffett did not make the actual investment himself, meaning the order would have been placed by his stock-picking team Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, the Wall Street Journal reports. The paper says they are willing to invest in areas that Warren Buffett himself wouldn’t.

They are each thought to manage a $9 billion portfolio and usually make the smaller investments, while Warren Buffett makes the big bets.

The Apple holding makes Berkshire Hathaway the 56th largest shareholder.

Apple is not Berkshire Hathaway’s only technology investment. It is also the biggest shareholder in IBM and increased its holding in the first quarter.

However, Warren Buffett admitted at Berkshire’s annual meeting last month that his investment firm had been slow to get involved the new tech industry. He has always said he would not invest in companies he doesn’t understand.

On May 16, Warren Buffett also told CNBC that he would consider helping Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans, finance a bid for Yahoo.

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Volkswagen is being sued by a Norwegian sovereign wealth fund over the car giant’s emissions scandal.

Norges Bank Investment Management, the world’s largest fund, said it had been advised by lawyers that VW’s conduct “gives rise to legal claims under German law”.

VW admitted last year that it had installed secret software to cheat US emissions tests.

The move, from one of VW’s biggest investors, is the latest in a flood of legal actions over the scandal.VW emissions scandal 2016

VW faces action from US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and its own dealers.

Norges Bank Investment Management is worth $850 billion (€751 billion) and has stakes in more than 9,000 companies.

According to the Financial Times, which first reported the story, the lawsuit is expected in the coming weeks. It will be filed in Germany, joining class-action cases which are being prepared there.

“Norges Bank Investment Management intends to join a legal action against Volkswagen arising out of [the fact that] the company provided incorrect emissions data,” the statement said.

“As an investor, it is our responsibility to safeguard the fund’s holding in Volkswagen.”

In April, VW reached a deal with US authorities in which it agreed to offered to buy-back almost half a million vehicles and provide money for a fund to help develop cleaner car technology.

Norges Bank Investment Management recently announced action to clamp down on excessive executive pay at the companies it invests in, as well as encouraging oil companies to report more on the risks of climate change.

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Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has become FIFA’s first female secretary general as she was appointed to succeed former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was banned from soccer-related activity for 12 years.

The 54-year-old Senegalese spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will start at soccer’s governing body in June.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organization.

“She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization.”Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura FIFA secretary general

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organization which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Jerome Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter.

Sepp Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down in 2015 and was later suspended from soccer for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.

She started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Program in Rome in 1995 and has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.

At her appointment, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honored to take on this role.

“This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high-impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.

“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA.

“FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work – and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.”

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Serena Williams got sick after eating dog food hours before reaching the Italian Open quarters.

The world No 1 tennis player tried “a spoonful” of food meant for her dog, Chip, before beating fellow American Christina McHale in straight sets in Rome.

Serena Wlliams said: “I thought <<what the heck, I’m gonna try a piece, it looks good>>.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“Fast forward two hours, I just ran to the toilet like I thought I was going to pass out. It did taste weird. It tasted kind of like house cleaner.”

In a video posted on Snapchat, Serena Williams explained she sampled a dish of chicken and rice offered on a “doggy menu” at her hotel.

The 34-year-old said: “I force-swallowed it, I don’t know what they put in these dog foods, but Chip liked it.

“I don’t think it’s consumable for humans. They should have wrote that! So now I feel really sick. It was just a spoonful, but I don’t feel so good.”

Serena Williams defeated McHale 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 and set up a meeting with Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat fellow Russian Daria Gavrilova, in the last eight.

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Nissan has announced it will acquire a 34% stake in rival Mitsubishi Motors, in the wake of the latter’s recent scandal over fuel efficiency.

According to the Japanese auto giant, the all-share deal is valued at 237 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has called the deal “a breakthrough transaction and a win-win” for both companies.

The tie-up is subject to regulatory approval as well as the backing of Mitsubishi shareholders.

If it is approved, the deal is expected to close by the end of 2016 and make Nissan the largest shareholder in Mitsubishi Motors.Mitsubishi Nissan deal 2016

The strategic alliance will extend an existing partnership between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors forged over the past five years.

Both will co-operate in areas including purchasing, technology and sharing platforms.

Carlos Ghosn said: “We will support Mitsubishi Motors as they address their challenges and welcome them as the newest member of our enlarged alliance family.”

Nissan’s Alliance family is built around a 17-year cross shareholding agreement with French auto maker Renault. Nissan has also previously acquired stakes or signed partnerships with other carmakers including Daimler.

Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko said he hoped the deal with Nissan would restore confidence in the company: “It is not an easy task to regain trust, so through the alliance with Nissan, we will be starting a path towards tackling this difficult task.”

The tie-up was announced as Nissan reported a 14.5% rise in net profit to 523.8 billion yen ($4.4 billion) for the 12 months to March.

Nissan said rising demand in North America and China helped to offset unfavorable currency movements and weakness in emerging markets.

For the financial year to March 2017, Nissan is estimating flat profit growth and an 11% fall in operating profit due to the strengthening yen.

Carlos Ghosn said: “Encouraging demand for new models, combined with continued cost efficiency, helped us withstand currency headwinds and volatile trading conditions in several emerging markets.”

Nissan’s recently launched models including the Maxima, Altima and Titan pick-up trucks were expected to contribute to global sales growth in the coming year.

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Takata reported its third full-year loss in four years as it grapples with the rising costs of recalling airbags.

The Japanese airbag maker announced a net loss of 13.1 billion yen ($120.5 million) for its financial year ending in March.

Takata has been hit by a huge recall of faulty, potentially deadly, airbags used by car makers worldwide, which may affect more than 100 million vehicles.

The fault has been linked to the loss of 11 lives and more than 100 injuries.Takata airbag recall Mazda and Mitsubishi

The company has acknowledged some airbag inflators explode with too much force and spray metal shrapnel into the car.

Takata has paid out $70 million in fines so far and the company’s market value has dropped more than 80% since 2014.

Some 50 million vehicles have been recalled globally and last week, US authorities added up to 40 million more.

US regulators believe the volatile chemical used in the inflators, ammonium nitrate, can cause airbags to explode with excessive force.

Globally, 12 car makers are affected with Honda being the worst hit.

Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Ford have said they will stop using Takata airbags containing ammonium nitrate for their future models.

Takata also produces seatbelts, child seats, and other safety-related car parts.

For the current year, the company forecast a net profit of 13 billion yen.

Takata shares ended on May 11 2.5% higher, after losing 11% this week and more than 80% over the year.

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Mitsubishi Motors shares have risen on media reports the auto maker will compensate customers after it admitted falsifying fuel efficiency data.

Shares in the Japanese auto maker have lost some 50% of their value since the scandal. On May 10 shares rose 1.9%.

The Nikkei 225 benchmark index closed 2.2% higher at 16,565.19 points.Mitsubishi fuel test 2016

Meanwhile, Takata shares shed 7.4% on reports of an additional seven million recalls of its faulty airbags.

On May 9, Takata had also said it was expecting a loss instead of a profit for the fiscal year until March due to the soaring costs of their global airbag recall.

In China, markets were reacting to fresh inflation data showing April’s price increases steady from the previous year.

China’s consumer price index (CPI) was up by 2.3% on the same month the previous year.

The Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,832.59 points at the close of Tuesday’s session. Meanwhile Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed higher by 0.4% at 20,242.68.

Australia’s ASX/200 finished trading 0.4% higher at 5,342.80, despite the country’s commodity giants suffering from lower iron ore prices.

The Panama Papers relating to more than 200,000 offshore accounts have been posted online.

The huge database belonging to Mossack Fonseca law firm became accessible on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website offshoreleaks.icij.org.

The documents have shown how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax and avoid sanctions.

The papers were leaked by a source simply known as “John Doe”. The company denies any wrongdoing.

Last week Mossack Fonseca issued a “cease and desist ” order to prevent the database being made public but the organization that has the documents, the ICIJ, appears to be going ahead.

The papers have revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars.

They list more than 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts set up in more than 20 tax havens around the world.

Among those whose affairs have come under scrutiny include, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Mauricio Macri of Argentina, UK PM David Cameron along with Argentinean soccer star Lionel Messi, actor Jackie Chan and Spanish movie director Pedro Almodovar.

Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned after the matter came to light.What are Panama Papers

Mossack Fonseca says it has never been accused or charged with criminal wrongdoing. It says it is the victim of a hack.

Offshore companies are not illegal but their function is often to conceal both the origin and the owners of money, and to avoid tax payments.

Some 2.6 terabytes of information – 11.5 million documents – was originally given to the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, by “John Doe” more than a year ago.

The ICIJ insists that today’s online database is not be a data dump of the kind used by the WikiLeaks organization.

The ICIJ said: “The database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers. The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest.”

On May 9, 300 economists signed a letter urging world leaders to end tax havens, saying they only benefited rich individuals and multinational corporations, while boosting inequality.

Although the name John Doe is used, the gender of the source has not been revealed.

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Shares in Japanese airbag maker Takata fell as much as 3.5% in morning trade before recovering, as media reports suggested more recalls over faulty airbags supplied by the company.

An additional 20 million Takata airbags would be recalled by car maker Honda, Nikkei newspaper reported on May 8.

Honda shares rose 1.6% in Tokyo, while Takata shares closed 0.3% down.Takata airbag recall 2015

Meanwhile Nikkei 225 index rose by 0.7% to close at 16,216.03, following last week’s gains in the US.

In China, shares fell in response to the disappointing trade data released on May 8, which showed that both exports and imports fell more than expected in April.

The mainland benchmark Shanghai Composite fell 2.8% to close at 2,832.11 points while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fared better. That market index closed up 0.2% at 20,156.81.

In South Korea, the Kospi index fell 0.5% to close at a one-month low, at 1,967.81 points.

Australia’s benchmark ASX/200 rose 0.5%, closing at 5,320.70.

Saudi Arabia’s veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi has been removed by King Salman as part of a broad government overhaul.

Ali al-Naimi has been replaced after more than 20 years in the role by former health minister Khaled al-Falih.

Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest crude exporter – unveiled major economic reforms in April, aimed at ending the country’s dependence on oil.

In 2015, about 70% of Saudi Arabia’s revenues came from oil, but it has been hit hard by falling prices.

The Saudi government shake-up, announced in a royal decree, sees a number of ministries merged and others, such as the ministry of electricity and water, scrapped altogether.King Salman of Saudi Arabia Removes Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi

A public body for entertainment is being created, and another for culture.

King Salman’s son Prince Mohammad directs Saudi Arabia’s economic policy, and Ali al-Naimi’s removal is an indication that he wants tighter control over the commodity.

Khaled al-Falih has spent more than 30 years working at state oil giant Aramco, most recently serving as chairman.

He will take charge of a new department managing energy, industry and mineral resources.

Years of oil profits have allowed the Saudi government to offer generous benefits and subsidies to its citizens.

However, with another huge budget deficit forecast in 2016, last month saw the approval of wide reforms including plans to create the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund and widen the participation of women in the workforce.

Many of the changes announced by King Salman in this overhaul focus on areas where reforms have been promised.

Zimbabwe has announced it will print its own version of the US dollar in order to ease a cash shortage in the country.

John Mangudya, the governor of Zimbabwe’s central bank, said the cash, known as bond notes, will be backed by $200 million support from the Africa Export-Import Bank.

The specially-designed two, five, 10 and 20 dollar notes will have the same value as their US dollar equivalents.

Zimbabwe introduced the US dollar after ditching its own currency in 2009 following sustained hyperinflation.

In 2009, Zimbabwe started using foreign currencies, including the US dollar and South African rand, when inflation hit 500 billion per cent.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

John Mangudya stressed that the issuing of bond notes was not the first step on the way to reintroducing the defunct currency, the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper reports.

He also introduced a number of other measures to steer people away from using US dollar cash.

This includes setting a $1,000 limit on how much cash can be taken out of the country.

John Magudya wants to encourage people to make greater use of the rand since a large portion of Zimbabwe’s trade is with South Africa.

However, people are reluctant to hold rands as they are not confident that the currency will maintain its value against the dollar.

John Mangudya adds that not all shops and traders accept the full range of currencies officially in use.

Zimbabwe’s central bank brought in so-called bond coins of one, five, 10 and 25 cents, pegged to the US dollar, in 2014.

John Mangudya said the bank was still working on a design for the new notes, but they should be in circulation “within the next two months”, the Herald reports.

Fiat Chrysler and Google have signed a deal to double the size of the tech giant’s fleet of self-driving cars.

The auto maker will supply 100 Chrysler Pacifica vans and provide engineers to help integrate the technology.

Fiat and Google described the deal as the most advanced partnership to date between Silicon Valley and a traditional auto maker.

Google wants to add more vehicles to its fleet to increase the amount of road testing it does.

Fiat CEO Srgio Marchionne has in the past raised also concerns about the tech industry’s impact on the auto makers.

Photo Google

Photo Google

Sergio Marchionne called tech companies moving into the sector “disruptive interlopers” and questioned the caliber of the vehicles they could produce.

John Krafcik, Google’s head of self-driving cars, said: “The opportunity to work closely with [Fiat] engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer.”

Google has said it believes driverless cars could be ready to goes on sale by 2020.

The announcement of the partnership came a week after Astro Teller, the head of “Moon Shots” at Google said the driverless cars project may soon move from under the umbrella of the Google X division that focuses on futuristic innovations and projects.

Google will own the Fiat cars, and both companies will be free to work with other companies to develop driverless technology.

The deal could propel Fiat to the head of the self-driving pack and position it to become a major manufacture for Google.

Brazil has welcomed the Olympic flame for the start of a torch relay that will culminate with the opening of the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

The flame was flown inside a small lantern on a special flight from the Swiss city of Geneva to Brasilia.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch which will be carried around Brazil by 12,000 runners.

It could be one of Dilma Rousseff’s last public acts ahead of a possible impeachment trial.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on whether proceedings against the president should go ahead.Olympic torch Brazil 2016

If a simple majority votes in favor, Dilma Rousseff will be suspended from office for up to 180 days and Vice-President Michel Temer will take over.

Dilma Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts ahead of her re-election in 2014.

The Olympic torch will pass through more than 300 towns and cities from the Amazon to Brazil’s southern border, arriving at the Maracana Stadium in Rio on August 5.

Among the first torchbearers will be a Syrian refugee who now lives in Brazil.

The first torchbearer was Fabiana Claudino, who led Brazil to Olympic gold medals in women’s volleyball in the 2008 and 2012 games, and is team captain this time.

Brazilian mathematician Artur Avila Cordeiro de Melo ran the second leg.

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HSBC has posted a 14% drop in profits for Q1 of 2016 following “extreme levels of volatility” in financial markets at the start of the year.

The banking giant’s profit before tax came in at $6.1 billion for Q1, down from $7.1 billion a year ago.

However, analysts had expected a far steeper fall in profits.

HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver said the bank had been “resilient in tough market conditions”.

Adjusted pre-tax profits, including currency effects and one-off items, fell 18% to $5.4 billion.HSBC job cut 2015

HSBC cut almost a thousand jobs worldwide in Q1, leaving it with 254,212 full-time staff across 71 countries and territories.

Stuart Gulliver said HSBC was confident of hitting its $5 billion cost-cutting target by the end of 2017.

HSBC’s adjusted revenue for Q1 amounted to $13.9 billion, a 4% drop from the same time last year.

The bank also said the development of its Asian business was gaining momentum, “despite a challenging environment with key increases in market share in debt capital markets, China M&A and syndicated lending”.

Ahead of the results, analysts had warned HSBC might signal an end to its highly-valued progressive dividend, which delivers ever-increasing payouts.

However, HSBC maintained the progressive target and left its dividend unchanged from the same period last year at $0.10.

HSBC also announced that the $5.2 billion sale of its Brazil unit to banking giant Banco Bradesco received preliminary approval from competition regulators.

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The head of South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics organizing committee, Cho Yang-ho, has resigned.

Cho Yang-ho said he wanted to focus on “urgent matters” with his business group, which includes the struggling Hanjin Shipping carrier, the Yonhap news agency reports.

Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s largest shipper by assets, is facing severe financial difficulties and Cho Yang-ho needed to focus his efforts on restructuring and stabilizing the company.

Photo LA Times

Photo LA Times

Cho Yang-ho is the chairman of the Hanjin conglomerate, which also controls the nation’s flag carrier Korean Air, a corporate sponsor of the 2018 Games.

According to reports, Cho Yang-ho, who took on the role in 2014, was nearing the end of his two-year term.

The Winter Games are due to take place in Pyeongchang in February 2018.

In March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was confident South Korea’s preparations were “moving in the right direction”.

Cho Yang-ho said he had “truly put forward my very best efforts to work with every member of the organizing committee to prepare a successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018.”

He said he would “continue to support Pyeongchang through to the Games in 2018”.

In April, Hanjin Shipping said it would ask creditor banks to restructure its debt. It had debt of 5.6 trillion won ($4.92 billion) and a debt-to-equity ratio of nearly 850 percent as at the end of 2015, according to the company.