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Thousands of fans are attending a farewell procession for Muhammad Ali in his home city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Onlookers lining the roadside waved, took photos and chanted “Ali, Ali” as a cortege led by the hearse carrying his coffin drove through the downtown area.
The boxing legend and rights activist died on June 3 at the age of 74.
The cortege is taking Muhammad Ali’s body past key sites in his life, ahead of an interfaith memorial service.
Will Smith and ex-boxer Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers, while former President Bill Clinton will deliver one of the eulogies.
Thousands of free tickets for the memorial service, taking place at a major sports centre, were snapped up within half an hour.
The motorcade procession began at about 10:35 local time, more than an hour behind schedule, and is taking the coffin past his childhood home, the Ali Center, the Center for African American Heritage and then down Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Fans threw flowers at the hearse and rose petals were scattered along the route.
The procession, expected to take about 90 minutes, will end at the Cave Hill Cemetery where Muhammad Ali will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.
The funeral service at the KFC Yum! Center is due to begin at 14:00 local time.
Billy Crystal will also deliver a eulogy, while sports journalist Bryant Gumbel, the daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X, Attallah Shabazz, and Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie, and daughters, Maryum and Rasheda, are also expected to speak.
Among those expected to attend the service is King Abdullah of Jordan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended June 9 prayer ceremony and had been due at the service, but reports say he has cut short his visit to the US.
The reasons for his departure are not clear, though there are reports of differences with the funeral’s organizers.
President Barack Obama will not be there, as he is to attend his eldest daughter Malia’s graduation.
In a video message, Barack Obama said: “This week we lost an icon. A person who for African Americans, I think, liberated their minds in recognizing that they could be proud of who they were.”
Muhammad Ali’s family and fans are attending a Muslim prayer service to honor the boxing legend in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
The two-day funeral was planned by Muhammad Ali in the years before his death, according to a family spokesman.
Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest”, wanted the Muslim prayer service, known as a Jenazah, to be “a teaching moment”, according to Imam Zaid Shakir, who is leading the service.
The legendary boxer died on June 3 at the age of 74.
More than 14,000 people have tickets to the event at the site of Muhammad Ali’s last fight in Louisville in 1961.
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier
American Muslims attending the service and watching on TV say they hope that the public prayers will help Americans to become more familiar with Islam and its practices.
In 1964, Muhammad Ali famously converted to Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his “slave name”.
He first joined the Nation of Islam, a controversial black separatist movement, before later converting to mainstream Islam.
Muhammad Ali traveled the world as a boxer and speaker, and inspired Muslims around the world.
The funeral will continue on June 10 with an interfaith memorial service and procession through Louisville passing key locations such as Muhammad Ali’s childhood home, and a museum dedicated to him.
Tickets to attend the June 10 service sold out only an hour after they went on sale.
World leaders and celebrities will attend, including former President Bill Clinton and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Barack Obama will not be able to attend due to his eldest daughter’s graduation on the same day.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has banned Maria Sharapova for two years for using prohibited drug meldonium.
Maria Sharapova was provisionally banned in March after testing positive for meldonium at January’s Australian Open.
Meldonium, a heart disease drug, which 29-year-old Russian says she has been taking since 2006 for health issues, became a banned substance on January 1, 2016.
The five-time Grand Slam winner said she “cannot accept” the “unfairly harsh” ban – and will appeal.
Photo Getty Images
Maria Sharapova will challenge the suspension, which is backdated to January 26, 2016, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In a statement, Maria Sharapova said the tribunal concluded her offence was “unintentional” and that she had not tried to use a “performance-enhancing substance”.
However, she claimed the ITF had asked the tribunal to impose a four-year ban, adding it “spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules”.
The tribunal ruling said Maria Sharapova tested positive for meldonium in an out-of competition test on February 2, as well as in the aftermath of her Australian Open quarter-final defeat by Serena Williams on January 26. It treated both results as a single anti-doping violation.
The ITF will not appeal against the tribunal’s decision.
Nike, which suspended its relationship with Maria Sharapova in January, said it would “continue to partner” the Russian, based on the tribunal’s findings.
Maria Sharapova was Forbes‘ highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years, until Serena Williams moved above her in 2016.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in April that scientists were unsure how long meldonium stayed in the system, and suggested athletes who tested positive before March 1 could avoid bans, provided they had stopped taking it before January 1.
Maria Sharapova had already admitted she continued taking the substance past that date, saying she was unaware it had been added to the banned list as she knew it by another name – mildronate.
In reaching its verdict, the ITF recognized Maria Sharapova had not intentionally broken anti-doping rules, as she did not know that mildronate contained a banned substance from January 2016.
If you’re lucky enough to have a motorcycle, you’re probably riding it around constantly, enjoying its economic and convenient value to the fullest. However, like all vehicles you have to park it on the street. This can be problematic depending on your area’s busyness and crime.
Accidents can and will happen, even when your prized motorcycle is stationary and out of the way. So what happens if your bike gets hit by another car while parked?
Let’s take a look below.
Do You Know Who Did It?
If you didn’t actually see someone strike your bike, then they are being a good Samaritan by telling you, or a good Samaritan happened to be in the right place to capture the hit-and-run driver’s info. While people shouldn’t strive to be hit and run drivers, according to USA Today, it happens more often than any insurance company or motorcycle owner is willing to admit. Assuming that either you saw it or someone saw it and let you know (a witness), you have the ability to make them pay for it. Any specifics like vehicle type and color, and ideally, a license plate number will be your best bet in getting the at-fault party to pay for damages.
What is the State Law?
If another driver is able to claim that your bike was parked too far out in the street, or if they can say that both parties were equally negligent (say your kickstand wasn’t secure or you were parked on a hill), then you have to be careful. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance liability differs from state to state, and if you are even partially negligent or you happen to reside in a no-fault state, then under certain accidents and claims you might not be able to have the other driver pay (or pay fully) for their damages.
It’s important to know your state’s law, and also what you’re covered for when you actually obtain quotes. Your policy can always step in but you will need to compare motorcycle insurance quotes from a handful of different providers to truly know what you’re getting coverage-wise.
Can You Prove It?
As terrible and pessimistic as it is to say, can you prove that someone actually knocked over your bike? You obviously have the best of intentions, but what if someone made a claim against you that had no backing? Would you really want to be liable for any claim or remark that someone made about you even if they didn’t have any proof? The road goes both ways in this scenario in that if you can’t prove someone else hit your bike and knocked it over, then you may have a hard time getting their policy to pay.
You’ll obviously want to sort things out as quickly as possible if your bike is hit while parked, but rest assured you’ll be covered with a comprehensive package. Comprehensive coverage for motorcycles is the same as if a car was damaged during a hit and run; someone else is at fault, so they should pay. If fault cannot be determined (or you can’t prove it), then you’ll still be covered from a comprehensive point of view.
The only thing that you’ll be on the hook for in a worst-case scenario is your deductible, and you might even be able to get that back if you can prove fault is on the other party.
While you might get upset with the legal system of some states, and possibly even lose faith in other motorists on the road, you can at least be at ease when it comes to the protection and maintenance of your motorcycle. As long as you have quality coverage then you know you’ll be covered in any incident. Paying anything, even a few hundred dollars toward your deductible in an incident you didn’t cause, is annoying, but it’s small change compared to not having adequate coverage and having to pay big dollars should the hit-and-run driver get away scot-free.
Muhammad Ali died of “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes”, his family has announced.
The boxing legend, formerly known as Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 74.
Muhammad Ali had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.
A public funeral will be held for the boxer on June 9 in his hometown of Louisville in Kentucky.
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier
The family spokesman, Bob Gunnell said: “He was a citizen of the world and would want people from all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral.”
Former President Bill Clinton is among those who will give a eulogy at the service, and was one of many prominent global figures who paid tribute to Ali on June 4, saying he lived a life “full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences”.
The legendary Brazilian footballer, Pele, said the sporting universe had suffered a huge loss.
President Barack Obama said: “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.”
Soon after retiring, rumors began to circulate about the state of Muhammad Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy.
Parkinson’s syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Muhammad Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he traveled.
One of the world’s best-known sportsmen, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 74, a family spokesman has confirmed.
The former world heavyweight boxing champion died at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, after being admitted on June 2.
Muhammad Ali was suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.
The funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, his family said in a statement.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Muhammad Ali shot to fame by winning light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first world title and became the first boxer to capture a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions.
Muhammad Ali eventually retired in 1981, having won 56 of his 61 fights.
Crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated, Muhammad Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.
He was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality.
Asked how he would like to be remembered, Muhammad Ali once said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer. I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.”
Muhammad Ali turned professional immediately after the Rome Olympics and rose through the heavyweight ranks, delighting crowds with his showboating, shuffling feet and lightning reflexes.
British champion Henry Cooper came close to stopping Cassius Clay, as he was still known, when they met in a non-title bout in London in 1963.
Henry Cooper floored Cassius Clay with a left hook, but Clay picked himself up off the canvas and won the fight in the next round when a severe cut around Cooper’s left eye forced the Englishman to retire.
In February 1964, Cassius Clay stunned the boxing world by winning his first world heavyweight title at the age of 22.
He predicted he would beat Sonny Liston, who had never lost, but few believed he could do it.
Yet, after six stunning rounds, Sonny Liston quit on his stool, unable to cope with his brash, young opponent.
At the time of his first fight with Sonny Liston, Cassius Clay was already involved with the Nation of Islam, a religious movement whose stated goals were to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African Americans in the US.
In contrast to the inclusive approach favored by civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, the Nation of Islam called for separate black development and was treated by suspicion by the American public.
Muhammad Ali eventually converted to Islam, ditching what he perceived was his “slave name” and becoming Cassius X and then Muhammad Ali.
In 1967, Muhammad Ali took the momentous decision of opposing the US war in Vietnam, a move that was widely criticized by his fellow Americans.
Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted into the US military and was subsequently stripped of his world title and boxing license. He would not fight again for nearly four years.
After his conviction for refusing the draft was overturned in 1971, Muhammad Ali returned to the ring and fought in three of the most iconic contests in boxing history, helping restore his reputation with the public.
Muhammad Ali was handed his first professional defeat by Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” in New York on March 8, 1971, only to regain his title with an eighth-round knockout of George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) on October 30, 1974.
He fought Joe Frazier for a third and final time in the Philippines on October 1, 1975, coming out on top in the “Thrilla in Manila” when Frazier failed to emerge for the 15th and final round.
Six defenses of his title followed before Muhammad Ali lost on points to Leon Spinks in February 1978, although he regained the world title by the end of the year, avenging his defeat at the hands of the 1976 Olympic light-heavyweight champion.
Muhammad Ali’s career ended with one-sided defeats by Larry Holmes in 1980 and Trevor Berbick in 1981, many thinking he should have retired long before.
He fought a total of 61 times as a professional, losing five times and winning 37 bouts by knockout.
Soon after retiring, rumors began to circulate about the state of Muhammad Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy.
Parkinson’s Syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Muhammad Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he travelled.
Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.
Soccer star Lionel Messi is due to give evidence in a Spanish court on tax fraud charges.
The Argentina and Barcelona professional player and his father Jorge Messi, who manages his financial affairs, are accused of defrauding Spain of more than €4 million ($4.5 million) between 2007 and 2009.
Spain’s authorities allege that the two used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.
The tax agency is demanding heavy fines and prison sentences. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Lionel Messi is to face trial for alleged tax evasion
The trial began on June 1, and June 3 is expected to be the final day. A verdict is not expected until next week.
Evidence is being considered regarding income related to Lionel Messi’s image rights, including contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.
Lionel Messi’s lawyers had argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analyzing” the contracts.
However, the high court in Barcelona ruled in June 2015 that the football star should not be granted immunity for not knowing what was happening with his finances, which were being managed in part by his father.
Lionel Messi and his father made a voluntary €5 million ($5.6 million) “corrective payment” – equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest – in August 2013.
Donald Trump has reacted angrily after the PGA Tour golf tournament was moved from one of his courses to Mexico.
The PGA Tour said it could not find sponsors to hold the 2017 World Golf Championship at Donald Trump’s Doral course in Miami.
The presumptive Republican nominee said the PGA had “put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs”.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has portrayed Mexico as undermining the US economy.
PGA Tour commissioner Timothy Finchem said Donald Trump’s current profile had made it “difficult” to attract sponsors.
He said: “It’s fundamentally a sponsorship issue.”
Photo Getty Images
Luxury car maker Cadillac has reportedly not renewed its sponsorship deal.
“Donald Trump is a brand, a big brand, and when you’re asking a company to invest millions of dollars in branding a tournament and they’re going to share that brand with the host, it’s a difficult decision,” Timothy Finchem said.
However, he insisted the decision to move the event to Mexico City from Florida, where it has been held for the past 55 years, was not political.
“From a golf standpoint we have no issues with Donald Trump. From a political standpoint we are neutral. PGA Tour has never been involved or cares to be involved in presidential politics,” Timothy Finchem added.
The PGA Tour has signed a new seven-year sponsorship deal with Grupo Salinas, and the first WGC-Mexico Championship will held in March 2017.
Donald Trump said the decision marked a “sad day for Miami, the US and the game of golf”.
“This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for president of the United States,” he said.
The venue for the event has not been officially confirmed, but media reports say it will take place at the Club de Golf Chapultapec outside Mexico City.
“I hope they have kidnapping insurance,” Donald Trump told Fox News.
Timothy Finchem said that a member of his staff had already confirmed that this was in place.
“I haven’t inquired about the detail,” he said.
“But I made the point that maybe that’s something we don’t want to advertise.”
Gotthard base tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel, has officially opened in Switzerland, after almost twenty years of construction work.
The 35-mile (57km) twin-bore tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.
Switzerland says it will revolutionize European freight transport.
Goods currently carried on the route by a million trucks a year will go by train instead.
Gotthard base tunnel has overtaken Japan’s 53.9km Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and pushed the 50.5km Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France into third place.
In a speech to guests in Erstfeld, near the northern entrance to the tunnel, Swiss Federal President Johann Schneider-Ammann said it was a “giant step for Switzerland but equally for our neighbors and the rest of the continent”.
A live relay carried a speech from the southern end of the tunnel, in Bodio, by the Swiss federal transport minister, Doris Leuthard.
Afterwards two trains set off in opposite directions through the tunnel, each carrying hundreds of guests who had won tickets in a draw, and the new route was formally open.
A lavish show then got under way for the assembled guests in Erstfeld, with dancers, acrobats, singers and musicians celebrating Alpine culture and history.
The sacrifices of the tunnel miners, nine of whom died during the work, were also commemorated in the spectacle.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and other European leaders are to attend the day’s events, along with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
Europe’s goods had to cross the Alps and now they will able to do so more quickly, more safely, and more cheaply.
The project, which cost more than $12 billion to build, was endorsed by Swiss voters in a referendum in 1992. Voters then backed a proposal from environmental groups to move all freight travelling through Switzerland from road to rail two years later.
The completed tunnel travels up to 2.3 km below the surface of the mountains above and through rock that reaches temperatures of 46C.
Engineers had to dig and blast through 73 different kinds of rock, some as hard as granite and others as soft as sugar. More than 28 million tons of rock was excavated.
Now the completed tunnel – delivered on time and within budget – will create a mainline rail connection between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Genoa in Italy.
When full services begin in December, the journey time for travelers between Zurich and Milan will be reduced by an hour to two hours and 40 minutes.
The tunnel’s trajectory will be flat and straight instead of winding up through the mountains like the old rail tunnel and a road tunnel opened in 1980.
About 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will pass through the tunnel each day in a journey taking as little as 17 minutes.
The tunnel is being financed by value-added and fuel taxes, road charges on heavy vehicles and state loans that are due to be repaid within a decade.
Swiss bank Credit Suisse has said its economic benefits will include the easier movement of goods and increased tourism.
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.
“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.
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”.
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.
Your business is growing at a steady rate and bringing in solid revenue month after month. Still, you don’t have a huge profit margin yet and need cash flow to cover business expenses. Perhaps you need to expand your space to keep up with business growth, or maybe you need to invest in a new piece of equipment to make sure your company doesn’t fall behind the competition. Either way, you are in need of some business financing and are probably wondering how to get the money you need.
Two of the options you might consider are merchant cash advances and traditional bank loans. Both options are ways to go through lenders to get the cash you need. Beyond that obvious similarity, there are major differences between merchant cash advances and traditional bank loans that you should know about before you decide what to do for business funding.
What Is a Merchant Cash Advance?
You already know how bank loans work: you go to the bank, request financing, and go through a long application and vetting process to get approved. If the bank thinks your business will be able to repay their loan, they will approve your application and give you some money. Over time, you will have to repay the bank loan with interest, but the money will hopefully give you the freedom you need to grow your business and bring it to a more prosperous and profitable level.
A merchant cash advance is a more niche-based type of small business funding that will only be a possibility if your business has frequent receipts from credit or debit card sales. To accept credit or debit cards, your business needs to work with a company that can process credit card payments. These processors are also known as merchant account providers. In a merchant cash advance, instead of getting a loan from the bank, you are getting a lump sum monetary loan from your merchant account provider. Your merchant account provider will then take a percentage of your credit card sales each day until your business has paid off the original amount plus interest.
The Differences Between Traditional Bank Loans and Merchant Cash Advances (and Determining Which Business Funding Option Is Right for You)
As you can see, there are a few major differences between traditional bank loans and merchant cash advances. The financier is one big difference: with a bank loan, you are working with… well, the bank. With a merchant cash advance, you are working with your credit card processor. The terms of repayment are also very evidently different. With a bank loan, you will have to remember to make payments on the loan every month (or more frequently, depending on your terms). With a merchant cash advance, the entire process is automated, with your credit card processor just taking a set amount of your credit or debit card sales—usually on a daily basis.
Based on these two key differences, a merchant cash advance may well be the preferable option for your business funding needs. After all, plenty of people would tell you that banks are difficult to deal with, and the day-to-day automated setup of merchant cash advances makes them easy and largely not intrusive.
There are also other features of merchant cash advances that make them more attractive than traditional bank loans, from faster approval times to a lack of collateral. Merchant cash advances aren’t technically loans, so there’s no real reason to put up collateral. The “collateral” is your future credit card sales. You are essentially “selling” a portion of these sales to get an upfront cash payment.
The bottom line is that, if your business is in retail or some other industry where credit card sales are a substantial percentage of your revenues, it’s worth looking into a merchant cash advance for your business funding. You won’t have to jump through the hoops that come with applying for a loan and you will only have to give up a set percentage of your daily card sales. In other words, if you have a big sales day, you will make a bigger payment; if you have a smaller day, you won’t pay off as much. Either way, you won’t have to worry about a payment that you can’t cover. Get in touch with a reputable business funding company to talk about your possibilities.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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’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.”
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.
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.