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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.

Australian broadcaster SBS has decided to fire presenter Scott McIntyre for “disrespectful” tweets about ANZAC Day.

SBS says Scott McIntyre’s remarks breached the organization’s code of conduct.

Tweeting on the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in Turkey during World War One, Scott McIntyre wrote that Australia’s and New Zealand’s soldiers had carried out “summary execution, widespread rape and theft”.

Some reporters criticized SBS’s move.Scott McIntyre SBS

They suggested that firing Scott McIntyre was against the principle of free speech.

Scott McIntyre, who was SBS’s football reporter and TV presenter, put out a series of tweets on April 25.

The presenter wrote: “Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these <<brave>> Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan.

“The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society.”

Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the posts as “despicable”.

“Difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments,” he wrote.

Scott McIntyre has so far made no public comments on his sacking.

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Harley-Davidson has decided to recall nearly 46,000 motorcycles in the US because they could stay in gear due to clutches that won’t fully disengage.

The current recall covers certain Electra Glide, Ultra Limited, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide, Road Glide and Road King models from the 2014 and 2015 model years.Harley Davidson recall 2015

Harley-Davidson says in documents that gas bubbles can cause the clutch master cylinder to lose its ability to fully disengage the clutch, especially if the bike has been parked for a long time. This could cause a rider to lose control of the motorcycle if it’s started in gear.

The problem was found through customer complaints.

Harley-Davidson reported 27 crashes and four minor injuries.

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Andy Wilman has decided to quit Top Gear in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson’s departure, the BBC has confirmed.

Jeremy Clarkson, 55, was dropped from the show on March 25 following a “fracas” with a producer.

Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, who was an old school friend of Jeremy Clarkson, helped reinvent the show and oversaw its growth into a globally successful program.Andy Wilman Top Gear

Co-presenter Richard Hammond has also confirmed his intention to walk away.

Richard Hammond, whose contract expired last month, wrote on Twitter: “To be clear, amidst all this talk of us <<quitting>> or not: There’s nothing for me to <<quit>>.

“Not about to quit my mates anyway.”

Andy Wilman had previously denied he was leaving Top Gear, after a leaked email was interpreted as a farewell note to colleagues.

Yesterday, James May said he would not return to Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson.

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NASDAQ index has closed at a record high, surpassing a level it last reached in 2000 at the height of the dot-com bubble.

The tech-heavy index gained 20.89 points to close at 5,056.06, besting the high of 5,048.62 it hit on March 10, 2000.

The Dow Jones rose 20.42 points to 18,058.69 and the S&P 500 index gained 4.97 to 2,112.93.

While the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones have hit several records recently, the NASDAQ has taken longer to recover.

Some analysts think it can push on from the current level.

Photo AP

Photo AP

The rise of Apple has been an important part of the NASDAQ’s recovery. It launched the iPod in 2001 and the iPhone in 2007.

The success of those products helped its market value surge to more than $750 billion and accounts for around 10% of the index’s value.

Back in 2000, Microsoft was the most valuable stock on the index, now it is a distant second to Apple with a value of $365 billion.

Away from the NASDAQ, IBM shares were the biggest winner on the Dow, rising over 3% after it reported better-than-expected earnings on April 20.

However, GM fell 3% despite a big profits jump.

The company reported Q1 2015 profits eight times higher than a year ago.

GM had no need to set aside money for recalls this year and the company said it made $945 million.

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Many businesses feel an immense amount of pressure to be up to date on everything.  They want to be the leaders in their industry in different areas.  They want to have the best office space even when they might not be doing so well financially.  Thankfully one big trend right now is allowing them to do just that.  The new executive suite trend is one of the hottest trends right now.  This great trend allows for businesses to have all of the up to date features and top of the line office spaces for a fraction of the actual cost.

Benefits of an Executive Suite

These commercial real estate offices offer a wide variety of products and services.  You can rent amazing executive suites that are full of features, like full 24/7 access to your suite space during your rental term.  Companies like ServCorp offer better terms with lower security deposits than their competitors as well as good prices on services.  You can also get a month by month service contract.  This means that you only have to rent your executive suite for one month at a time.  This is a huge advantage for small companies or startups that might not need office space for more than one month during a calendar year.

Plus when you are renting an executive suite you are getting other products and services.  Many times you are getting highly trained executive assistants that can help you to improve and grow your business.  This means that you are not going to have to pay for an executive assistant while you are renting the executive suite.  You will also have access to very nice board rooms.  These are the perfect space to host your annual shareholders meetings in as they give the feeling of class and prestige.

Ease of an Executive Suite

Not only do you get all of the above benefits with your executive suite, but you also get a number of things that are going to make life a little bit easier for you.  There is on site IT support which means that you never have to worry about equipment working properly or having to troubleshoot it if there are problems.  All of that will be done for you.  The office is also going to be cleaned by a professional cleaning crew which means that you are not going to have to clean anything yourself or pay for someone else to do it.  This can give you the time that you need to get work done and to be more productive.  Plus it is so easy to sit back and work when you know everything is really taken care of.

Extra Security

Many people have a lot of concerns with executive suites and virtual offices because they worry about security.  There are additional security precautions taken and lots of security support.  This means that you are going to have a secure environment to conduct business even if it is business that is of a sensitive nature.  Plus you can even conduct secure meetings through virtual boardrooms.

The Reviews

If you want to get the best information about the benefits then talk to someone who has used an executive suite.  Users agree that this has been one of the best things that they have done for their business.  Reading reviews or asking for referrals can help you rest assured  that you are choosing the right company to rent your virtual office space from or to benefit from your executive suite.

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Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz has been fined 350 million yuan ($56.5 million) in China for price-fixing as part of a broader clampdown on anti-monopolistic practices.

A pricing regulator in Jiangsu said Mercedes-Benz pressured local dealers into setting a minimum sales price on some of its car models.

Some of the luxury German carmaker’s local dealers were also fined 7.7 million yuan, regulators said.

A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said the company “accepts the decision and takes its responsibilities under competition law very seriously”.Mercedes Benz fined in China

“We have taken all appropriate steps to ensure to fully comply with the law,” the spokesperson told the Reuters news agency.

In a statement, the Chinese regulator said: “The investigation found Mercedes-Benz and its dealers in Jiangsu came to and carried out monopoly agreements to cap the lowest sales prices of E-Class, S-Class models and certain spare parts.”

In 2014, the Xinhua news agency reported that Mercedes had also been found guilty of manipulating the prices of after-sales services in China.

China is the world’s largest car market and foreign automakers have been under scrutiny for allegedly reaping high profits by overcharging customers.

In 2014, Chinese regulators fined the local units of Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler a combined $46 million for price-fixing.

They also levied a record fine totaling 1.24 billion yuan on 12 Japanese car parts companies including Sumitomo Electric and Mitsubishi Electric for price-fixing.

Chinese authorities also conducted investigations into foreign business practices in the pharmaceutical, technology and food sectors.

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American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker has decided to give up his cash salary and annual bonuses opting to be paid entirely in shares.

Doug Parker, 53, was paid more than $12 million last year, 40% of which was in cash, according to regulatory filings.

Google chief Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Kinder Morgan’s Rich Kinder are also paid solely in shares.

“I believe this is the right way for my compensation to be set – at risk, based entirely on the results achieved, and in the same currency that our shareholders receive,” Doug Parker said in a letter to employees.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Under the new deal, 54% of Doug Parker’s payout will tied to performance targets.

Doug Parker has helped transform American Airlines into one of the country’s most successful companies.

Shares of American Airlines have more than doubled in value since the company merged with rival US Airways in 2013.

Both carriers had undergone bankruptcy but their combination has since created the world’s largest airline company based on passenger traffic.

American Airlines also posted a record profit of $2.9 billion in 2014, helped by cheaper fuel prices and reduced competition.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has been charged by the European Commission with abusing its dominant market position in Central and Eastern European gas markets.

The EC said its preliminary view was that Gazprom was breaking EU anti-trust rules.

It added the company may have limited its customers’ ability to resell gas, potentially allowing it to charge unfair prices in some EU member states.

Gazprom rejected the EC’s objections, calling them “unfounded”.

“Gazprom strictly adheres to all the norms of international law and national legislation in the countries where the Gazprom Group conducts business,” the company said in a statement.

The company now has 12 weeks to respond to the Commission’s allegations.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The move could further sour relations with Moscow, which are already strained over the Ukraine crisis.

Brussels began investigating Russian state-controlled Gazprom in 2012, but Moscow says the Commission’s allegations are politically motivated.

The EU’s new anti-monopoly chief, Margrethe Vestager, said the Commission had found that Gazprom “may have built artificial barriers preventing gas from flowing from certain Central European countries to others, hindering cross-border competition.

“Keeping national gas markets separate also allowed Gazprom to charge prices that we, at this stage, consider to be unfair.

“If our concerns were confirmed, Gazprom would have to face the legal consequences of its behavior.”

Brussels’ competition authority has the power to impose fines of up to 10% of Gazprom’s global turnover.

The EC questioned the formulae Gazprom used to come up with the different prices at which it sold gas to individual countries.

“Gazprom’s specific price formulae, which link the price of gas to the price of oil products, seem to have largely favored Gazprom over its customers,” it said.

The Commission said that, in its preliminary view, Gazprom was hindering competition in the gas markets in eight Central and Eastern European member states – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.

Russia supplies about a third of the EU’s gas requirements, with half that amount going through pipelines that cross Ukraine.

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Rolls-Royce chief executive John Rishton will be replaced by Warren East after his retirement on July 2.

John Rishton, who has been at the company since 2011, said it was “time for a change in lifestyle”.

Warren East was head of UK chipmaker Arm Holdings between 2001 and 2013 and has been a non-executive director at Rolls-Royce since the beginning of last year.Rolls Royce CEO John Rishton to Be Replaced by Warren East

He helped turn Arm into a leading developer of chips to major technology companies such as Apple.

Warren East said he was “delighted” to be appointed as the new chief executive.

“[Rolls-Royce] is well positioned in growth markets, with world-class engineering skills and a proud record of innovation and delivery.

“The markets which Rolls Royce serves and the technology it deploys are fascinating. This is a wonderful opportunity and I am very much looking forward to leading this remarkable company.”

John Rishton said: “We have made good progress transforming Rolls-Royce and have a strong team in place. While there is clearly more to do, the company is better placed to face the future.”

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British retailer Tesco has reported the worst results in its history with a record statutory pre-tax loss of $9.5 billion for the year to the end of February.

That compares with annual pre-tax profit of $3.35 billion a year earlier.

It is the biggest loss suffered by a UK retailer and one of the largest in the country’s corporate history.

Around $7 billion of the losses were the result of the fall in property value of its UK stores, 43 of which it said would close earlier this month.

The decline in the value of its property portfolio comes as a direct result of falling footfall in many of its out of town superstores.Tesco annual loss

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis admitted it had been “a very difficult year for Tesco”.

He added: “The results we have published today reflect a deterioration in the market and, more significantly, an erosion of our competitiveness over recent years.

“We have faced into this reality, sought to draw a line under the past and begun to rebuild, and already we are beginning to see early encouraging signs from what we’ve done so far.”

Dave Lewis added that he expected conditions in the coming financial year to remain challenging.

However, investors reacted positively to the results.

Tesco’s share price rose by more than 1% in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

The results cap a tumultuous year for the supermarket giant which is still being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after it overstated its half-year profit forecast in August by $389 million.

Annual group trading profit, which counts sales through the supermarket’s tills was also down 60% at $2 billion, compared with $4.9 billion a year earlier.

Tesco company said the performance of its European stores disappointed as a result of “strong competition from discount retailers” which held back its sales performance, particularly in Ireland which saw a like-for-like sales fall 6.3% in the year.

In Asia, Tesco said trading profit was $836 million, once currency fluctuations were stripped out, 15.3% lower than a year earlier a result of sales falling in South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Tesco said it had also agreed a plan with the trustees of its pension scheme to pay $400 million a year to help mend its $5.75 billion pension deficit.

The company has started a consultation with staff to replace the current defined benefit pension scheme with a cheaper defined contribution scheme.

Oil prices will rise further, say industry leaders at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Indonesia.

Industry leaders at the meeting in Jakarta said the long-term view was that demand for oil is growing.

Oil prices are around their highest levels for 2015.

The price of Brent crude was at $63 a barrel on April 21, up 40% from its January low of $45 a barrel and near its high for the year of $65.Oil prices World Economic Forum on East Asia

Oil prices more than halved in the second half of last year, as falling demand and high levels of output caused a glut in supply.

Melody Boone Meyer, president of Asia-Pacific exploration and production at US energy giant Chevron, said that dramatic falls were not an uncommon feature of the oil market.

“The price of oil in the last 30 years has fallen five times by 50%,” Melody Boone Meyer said at the forum.

“There’s a surplus of supply right now, and inevitably the decline will occur.”

It was important to continue with projects that were in development, Melody Boone Meyer added, emphasising that Chevron had a lot of projects that are well supported at these price levels.

Shahril Shamsuddin, group chief executive at Malaysia’s SapuraKencana Petroleum, backed that view: “The light at the end of the tunnel is that, in the long term, demand is growing and over the next two to three years we will see prices come to an optimum level.”

Handry Satriago, the CEO of GE Indonesia, said that a lot of its customers in the country were delaying projects because of the slump in prices.

“Since last year we experienced some delay, but last year was because of the political situation of the country,” he said.

“We were having the election, and a new government, but now that delay has became more delayed due to the current situation.”

The company has been trying to work with partners to “keep projects warm” and not to cancel them.

“We show our commitment to them [oil partners], that we are here and we continue to support and work together,” Handry Satriago said.

“We also lobby to the government to make sure that the project can continue.”

With Asia expected to become a net importer of oil in the next decade as consumption booms, government officials said it was necessary to secure energy supplies, even with falling prices.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, lost its position as South East Asia’s sole nation in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2008 after it became a net oil importer.

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Lelisa Desisa has won the men’s race at this year’s Boston Marathon and Kenya’s Caroline Rotich came first in the women’s race.

Kenya’s Caroline Rotich took the title in two hours 24 minutes 55 seconds after a sprint finish with Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba.

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa’s victory at 2:09:17 was more comfortable and he crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of his compatriot Yemane Adhane Tsegay.

African runners dominated the top 10 in both races.

This is the second victory for Lelisa Desisa at the Boston Marathon.Boston Marathon 2015 winners

Lelisa Desisa’s last came in 2013, the year that a bomb exploded close to the finish some two hours after he crossed the line.

He returned his winner’s medal that year in honor of the three people killed.

“I’m happy to win,” Lelisa Desisa said after Monday’s race.

Caroline Rotich and Mare Dibaba battled for first place in the closing stages of the race, but Rotich was more determined.

She is the fifth Kenyan woman in a row to win at Boston.

Rita Jeptoo, who won the women’s race in 2013 and 2014, has been banned from athletics for two years after testing positive for drugs.

Cirque du Soleil has sold a majority stake to US and Chinese private investors, valuing the company at $1.5 billion.

Guy Laliberte, who founded the Canadian circus company in 1984, has retained a minority stake.

The two buyers are US private equity firm TPG Capital LP and Fosun Capital Group, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd.

Cirque du Soleil has staged performances in front of 160 million people in 48 countries around the world.

The company has recently sought to expand in China.Cirque du Soleil Kooza dress rehearsal at Royal Albert Hall, London, Britain - 04 Jan 2013

“After 30 years building the Cirque du Soleil brand, we have now found the right partners in TPG, Fosun and the Caisse to take Cirque du Soleil forward to the next stage in its evolution as a company founded on the conviction that the arts and business, together, can contribute to making a better world,” said Guy Laliberte said in a statement.

Quebec pension fund giant Caisse de Depot et Placement will also acquire a minority stake.

Based in Montreal, Cirque du Soleil started as the project of a small group of stilt-walkers and street performers who formed a performance troupe called the Le Club des Talons Hauts (the High Heels Club) to put on a performance celebrating the 450th anniversary of the European discovery of Canada by Jacques Cartier in 1534.

Since then, the company has expanded rapidly, taking in approximately $1 billion annually from 18 global shows, some of which tour and others of which are based in theatres in Las Vegas.

It employs about 5,000 people globally and is known for its mixture of acrobatics, artistic costumes and choreography.

Cirque du Soleil has faced difficulties in its efforts to expand, which led to layoffs in 2012.

In 2013, Cirque du Soleil was fined by US regulators after one of its acrobats died during a live show in Las Vegas.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to announce an investment of $46 billion in Pakistan.

The focus of the spending is on building a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a network of roads, railway and pipelines between the two.

They will run some 1,865 miles from Gwadar in Pakistan to China’s western Xinjiang region.

The projects will give China direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond.

This marks a major advance in China’s plans to boost its economic influence in Central and South Asia, correspondents say, and far exceeds US spending in Pakistan.China highway to Pakistan

“Pakistan, for China, is now of pivotal importance. This has to succeed and be seen to succeed,” Reuters quoted Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Pakistani parliament’s defense committee, as saying.

Pakistan, for its part, hopes the investment will boost its struggling economy and help end chronic power shortages.

Leaders are also expected to discuss co-operation on security.

President Xi Jinping will spend two days in Pakistan holding talks with President Mamnoon Hussain, PM Nawaz Sharif and other ministers. He will address parliament on April 21.

Deals worth some $28 billion are ready to be signed during the visit, with the rest to follow.

Under the CPEC plan, China’s government and banks will lend to Chinese companies, so they can invest in projects as commercial ventures.

A network of roads, railways and energy developments will eventually stretch some 1,865 miles.

Some $15.5 billion worth of coal, wind, solar and hydro energy projects will come online by 2017 and add 10,400 megawatts of energy to Pakistan’s national grid, according to officials.

A $44 million optical fiber cable between the two countries is also due to be built.

Pakistan, meanwhile, hopes the investment will enable it to transform itself into a regional economic hub.

Ahsan Iqbal, the Pakistani minister overseeing the plan, told the AFP news agency that these were “very substantial and tangible projects which will have a significant transformative effect on Pakistan’s economy”.

Xi Jinping is also expected to discuss security issues with PM Nawaz Sharif, including China’s concerns that Muslim separatists from Xinjiang are linking up with Pakistani militants.

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Jeremy Clarkson has revealed in his Sunday Times column that he thought he probably had cancer at the time he hit Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon.

Jeremy Clarkson, 55, said the incident came on his “most stressful day… in 27 years at the BBC” – but that other people facing stress “manage to cope better than I did”.

The former presenter told the paper he later got the all-clear over a lump on his tongue.

He was dropped from Top Gear on March 25 over what the BBC called an “unprovoked physical attack” on Oisin Tymon.

Jeremy Clarkson wrote: “Two days before the <<fracas>> I’d been told, sternly, by my doctor that a lump on my tongue was probably cancer and that I must get it checked out immediately.

“But I couldn’t do that. We were in the middle of a Top Gear series. And Top Gear always came first.”Jeremy Clarkson cancer scare

Jremy Clarkson also described his obsession with the Top Gear job, especially after the break-up of his marriage and the death of his mother, and the “enormous” sense of loss he felt after his contract was not renewed.

“It was an all-consuming entity, a many-tentacled global monster that was dysfunctional and awkward and mad but I loved it with a passion. I loved it like my own child,” he wrote.

“I felt sick because after I’d lost my home and my mother, I’d thrown myself even more vigorously into my job and now, idiotically, I’d managed to lose that too.”

Jeremy Clarkson told the newspaper he had initially thought about not doing any more television, but that he was now planning to “pick up the pieces” and do another car show – although he did not know whether he would be working with his former Top Gear co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond.

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Michigan billionaire Adolf Alfred Taubman has died at the age of 91.

A. Alfred Taubman, who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to universities, hospitals and museums, died on April 17 at his home of a heart attack, according to son Robert S. Taubman, president and CEO of Taubman Centers, Inc.

“This company and all that you stand for were among the greatest joys of his life,” Robert S. Taubman wrote in a message to the company’s employees.

“He was so proud of what this wonderful company he founded 65 years ago has accomplished.”

The self-made billionaire’s philanthropy and business success — including weaving the enclosed shopping mall into American culture — was clouded by a criminal conviction late in his career.

A. Alfred Taubman’s business success spanned from real estate and art houses to the hot dog-serving A&W restaurant chain, for which he traveled to Hungary to figure out why the country’s sausage was so good. He also became a major backer of stem-cell research.A Alfred Taubman dead at 91

It was his rearrangement of how people shop — parking lot in front, several stores in one stop close to home — that left a mark on American culture.

Taubman Centers, a subsidiary of his Taubman Co., founded in 1950, currently owns and manages 19 regional shopping centers nationwide.

Born January 31, 1924, in Pontiac, Michigan, to German-Jewish immigrants, Adolf Alfred Taubman worked as a boy at a department store after school near his family’s home, which was among the custom houses and commercial buildings developed in the area by his father.

Recognizing the booming post-war growth of the middle class, particularly in the Motor City, A. Alfred Taubman launched his first real estate development company in 1950. His first project was a freestanding bridal shop in Detroit — but he had his eyes on something bigger. He had noticed shoppers responding to the convenience of “one-stop comparison shopping opportunity,” he wrote in his autobiography.

When a friend suggested a shopping plaza in Flint, A. Alfred Taubman’s company did something radical for the time: stores were pushed to the back of the lot and parking spaces were put up front. It was a success, his young company took on larger-scale developments in Michigan, California and elsewhere in the 1950s and early ’60s.

A. Alfred Taubman served as chairman of Sotheby’s Holdings, Inc., parent company of Sotheby’s art auction house, from 1983 to 2000, and was a partner in international real estate company The Athena Group before he was tangled in a price-fixing scheme.

A. Alfred Taubman was convicted in 2001 of conspiring with Anthony Tennant, former chairman of Christie’s International, to fix the commissions the auction giants charged. Prosecutors alleged sellers were bilked of as much as $400 million in commissions.

According to German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble, Greece would struggle to find creditors outside the EU and IMF.

Wolfgang Schauble said Greece would be welcome to try to find investment from Beijing or Moscow, but may have difficulties.

His warning came after fears of a Greek debt default saw its borrowing costs jump 3.5 percentage points to 27%.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his government refuses to consider leaving the EU: “Toying with Grexit… is profoundly anti-European.”

Yanis Varoufakis also promised to “compromise, compromise, compromise without being compromised” to satisfy current creditors.

Wolfgang Schauble and Yanis Varoufakis were speaking at talks in Washington.

On April 15, ratings agency S&P downgraded Greece’s credit rating.

Yields also rose on longer-term Greek borrowing, with the 10-year bond yield – the amount investors demand for lending – rising one percentage point to 13%.

Wolfgang Schauble said that the Greek government needs to find creditors.

“The Europeans have said, OK, we are ready to do it [lend money] until 2020… If you find someone else, whether it’s in Beijing, in Moscow, in Washington DC, or in New York who will lend you money, ok, fine, we would be happy. But it’s difficult to find someone who is lending you in this situation amounts [of] €200 billion.”

He added that Greece must focus on increasing its competitiveness and primary surplus.Germany and Greece finance ministers

Wolfgang Schaeuble was speaking after the Greek government’s borrowing costs surged on April 16.

According to the Financial Times, Greece had made an “informal approach” to the International Monetary Fund to have its bailout repayments delayed, but had been rebuffed.

However, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said at the World Bank spring meeting in Washington: “We have never had an advanced economy asking for payment delays.

“Payment delays are analysed as additional financing granted to that country. Additional financing means additional contribution by the international community – some of which are in much direr situations than the country eventually seeking those delays.

“Payment delays had not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years and it was eventually granted to a couple of developing countries and that delay was not followed by very productive results.

“It’s clearly not a course of action that would actually fit or be recommendable in the current situation.”

Greece owes the IMF some €1 billion ($1.06 billin) in repayments next month.

Many in the markets think the Greek government will struggle to make those payments if it does not agree an economic reform package with European creditors soon.

Failure to agree a plan with creditors will mean that the country will default, a development that could force the government to put limits on money transfers and even lead Greece to leave the euro.

EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on April 16 that the EU was “not satisfied with the level of progress made so far” in debt negotiations.

Wolfgang Schauble had warned that he did not expect an agreement between Athens and its creditors in the next week.

However, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras on April 16 said he was “firmly optimistic” the Greek government could reach a deal with its creditors.

“Despite the cacophony and erratic leaks and statements in recent days from the other side, I remain firmly optimistic that there will be an agreement by the end of the month,” Alexis Tsipras said.

According to Alexis Tsipras, several points of agreement had been found since talks first started, including on areas such as tax collection, corruption and initiatives to distribute the tax burden on those who have the ability to pay.

HEe said the two sides still disagreed on four areas: labor issues, pension reform, an increase in value-added taxes and privatizations, which he referred to as “development of state property”.

In a later tweet, Alexis Tsipras said he was “certain that Europe will choose the path to democracy”.

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Barbie maker, Mattel, saw its sales drop for a sixth consecutive quarter as the appeal of its iconic doll continued to wane.

Net sales fell by 2.5% in Q1 2015 from a year ago, while global sales of Barbie fell 14% in the same period.

The toymaker’s net loss also widened more than four-fold to $58.2 million.

Fifty-six year old Barbie has been facing stiff competition from a range of new toys and gadgets.Barbie sales

Electronic toys, tablets and merchandise from popular films such as Disney’s Frozen, along with competition from rivals Hasbro and Denmark’s Lego have all led to sliding sales of the doll.

Barbie accounts for a quarter of Mattel’s sales.

In an attempt to revive Barbie’s lagging popularity, Mattel had fired chief executive Bryan Stockton in January and replaced him with board member Christopher Sinclair.

“We’re starting to see progress with our core brands like Barbie and Fisher-Price, and I am confident we are making the changes necessary to perform better in the future,” Christopher Sinclair said in a statement on April 16.

Mattel’s New York listed shares were up 6.5% in after-hours trading after its sales decline was not as bad as analysts had feared.

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Eugene, Oregon, has been awarded the 2021 World Athletics Championships without a bidding process.

The sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) bypassed the normal bidding process saying it was “a unique strategic opportunity” to hold the event in the United States for the first time.

IAAF chief Lamine Diack said the decision was taken “in the interest of the global development of our sport”.World Athletics 2021 Eugene

Eugene missed out on the 2019 event.

Doha in Qatar was awarded that championships, but a recent presentation to the IAAF persuaded the governing body that the American city has what it takes to stage a major event.

Lamine Diack added: “In granting the championships to Eugene the IAAF Council have made a clear choice on a strategic decision that enables us to take advantage of a unique opportunity that may never arise again.

“It will see public authorities, the private sector, the national Olympic Committee, NBC and a particularly enthusiastic public joining forces.”

The 2007 World Championships held in Osaka, Japan, was also awarded without a bidding process.

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Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of his friend, Boston Bandits linebacker Odin Lloyd.

Odin Lloyd’s relatives wept in the Massachusetts courthouse as the verdict was announced on live TV.

Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Aaron Hernandez arrested on June 26, 2013, 9 days after the murder of Odin Lloyd.

He was charged with killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro player who was dating the sister of Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée.

Odin Lloyd’s body was found with six bullet wounds less than a mile from Aaron Hernandez’s home.Aaron Hernandez guilty of first degree murder

At the time, Aaron Hernandez had a contract worth $40 million.

Within hours of his arrest, the Patriots sacked Aaron Hernandez, considered one of the top tight ends playing the game.

Aaron Hernandez is not an isolated case.

NFL players have been charged with any number of crimes over the years, from rape to dog-fighting.

Active NFL players are aged, in the main, between 21 and 34 and the arrest rate for that demographic is one in eight.

The arrest rate for people of Aaron Hernandez’s age – he was 23 – is a startling one in six.

During closing arguments, his defense team acknowledged that he was present during the murder but said others committed the crime.

Prosecutors say Aaron Hernandez planned the “orchestrated execution” because of an incident in a night club, and then helped to cover it up.

He was found guilty of murder and other weapons charges on the seventh day of jury deliberations.

In a tearful statement to the court, Odin Lloyd’s mother Ursula Ward called him the “backbone of the family”.

China’s growth slowed further in Q1 2015, expanding 7% compared to a year earlier, its slowest pace since the global financial crisis in 2009.

The rate was lower than the 7.3% posted for Q4 2014.

In 2014, China’s economy, which is the world’s second largest, grew at its slowest pace since 1990.

It expanded by 7.4% in 2014, missing its annual growth target of 7.5% for the first time in 15 years.

Despite the slowdown, the Chinese economy was still one of the world’s fasting-growing and analysts have said it was proving to be more resilient than expected.

However, they have also said that slower growth, together with China’s cooling property market – a key economic driver – was likely to mean further easing by its central bank this year, including further rate cuts among other measures.China economy 2015

In February 2015, the People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut interest rates for the second time since last November.

Interest rate cuts together with injections of liquidity are some of the tools Beijing uses to fine tune its economic growth.

The latest growth numbers were by no means a hard landing – which some had feared – and were in line with the latest government target, analysts said.

In Q1 2009, amid the financial crisis, China’s economy expanded 6.6% from a year earlier.

China also released industrial production (IP) figures on April 15 which fell to 5.9% month-on-month in March, down from forecasts for an expansion of 6.9% and the lowest since 2008.

Analysts said these figures were more glaring than the growth data.

Markets were lacklustre following the numbers however, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 0.7% and the benchmark Shanghai Composite flat, up just 0.01% at 4,135.91.

Nokia is to buy France’s Alcatel-Lucent in a €15.6 billion ($17 billion) takeover deal.

Under the all-share deal, Alcatel-Lucent shareholders will own 33.5% of the new combined company, and Nokia shareholders 66.5%.

Both companies said their boards had agreed the takeover and they expected it to go through in the first half of 2016.

The merger will form a European telecoms equipment group worth more than €40 billion.

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said the companies’ complementary technologies would give them “the scale to lead in every area in which we choose to compete”.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

“I firmly believe that this is the right deal, with the right logic, at the right time,” Rajeev Suri said.

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent are currently among the weakest players in the telecoms equipment industry. However, the combined company will have a market share of 35%, making it second only to Swedish rival Ericsson, which has 40%, according to Bernstein Research.

The companies expect the merger to cut operating costs by €900 million by 2019, but Nokia said it would not cut jobs beyond what Alcatel had already planned.

“No job cuts” in France was the condition under which the French government said on April 14 that it would back the deal.

Alcatel-Lucent’s shares fell 10% in early trading, with traders attributing the fall to shareholders’ disappointment that the deal did not have a cash element.

However, Nokia’s shares rose almost 5%, despite some analysts saying that the deal could take a long time to pay off.

Shelly Sterling, the wife of the former Clippers owner, is owed $2.6 million by V. Stiviano who was showered with gifts by Donald Sterling, a Los Angeles court has ruled on April 14.

Judge Richard Fruin Jr. awarded Shelly Sterling most of the nearly $3 million she had sought.

Shelly Sterling had claimed that money used to buy V. Stiviano a house, luxury cars and stocks was her community property.

V. Stiviano’s lawyer had argued the gifts were made when Donald and Shelly Sterling were separated and that Shelly Sterling couldn’t seek them from a third party.

The ruling comes nearly a year after V. Stiviano’s recording of Donald Sterling making racially offensive remarks bounced him from the NBA and cost him team ownership.V Stiviano Shelly and Donald Sterling

Shelly Sterling’s lawyers used other recordings to show Donald Sterling bought V. Stiviano a house, a Ferrari and other things.

In the recordings on V. Stiviano’s iPhone, she and the 80-year-old billionaire are heard discussing how to shield gifts from his wife.

“The truth is that everything that I have, you’ve given me from your heart without me begging or asking or throwing myself all over you,” V. Stiviano said in snippet played in court.

During the course of their 2 and a half years together, Donald Sterling gave her a Ferrari, a Bentley and a Range Rover, and paid the lion’s share of a $1.8 million duplex.

Donald Sterling testified that he paid for the entire house, though V. Stiviano said she had contributed an unknown amount of money given to her in small bills by family members that she saved in a bedroom drawer.

Shelly Sterling said V. Stiviano hadn’t contributed “50 cents” to the house and, noting that she is part black and Hispanic, said she illegally got her name inserted into escrow documents by befriending Hispanic bank and escrow employees.

Shelly Sterling filed the suit against V. Stiviano about a month before the recording of Donald Sterling telling Stiviano not to associate with black people created an uproar and led the NBA to ban him for life and fine him $2.5 million.

The Greek government has dismissed media reports that the country is preparing to default on its loans if it cannot reach agreement on its bailout terms with international creditors.

A government spokesman said negotiations were proceeding swiftly towards a solution.

Greece negotiated a three-month extension to its €240 billion ($272 billion) bailout at the end of February.

The Greek government is due to pay the IMF €203 million on May 1st and €770 million on May 12th.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

However, reports suggest the government is rapidly running out of money. It needs to find €2.4bn to pay civil service salaries and pensions this month.

The Greek government has also denied reports that it was considering calling early elections if it failed to negotiate a settlement with its international creditors.

Last week, eurozone officials said Greece only had six working days left to come up with a revised list of reforms to seal a deal on its next rescue bailout.

Eurozone deputy finance ministers want an agreement on the €7.2 billion loan in time for a Eurogroup meeting on April 24th.

PM Alexis Tsipras has said that Athens will not be able to service its debt without financial help from the European Union.

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British low-cost airline EasyJet has cancelled hundreds of flights as the second day of strike action by French air traffic controllers took its toll.

The airline did not operate 331 flights after cancelling 248 on April 8.

Some passengers have been stranded in European cities after Easter breaks, prompting Easyjet to operate five “rescue” flights on April 10.

The additional flights will run from London’s Luton to Paris, Paris to Barcelona, Barcelona to Luton, London’s Gatwick to Madrid, and Marrakech to Gatwick.

EasyJet says it will put larger aircraft on routes that have been most affected to allow more passengers to get home.EasyJet flights canceled

A spokesman said the “unnecessary” strike had caused “considerable and disproportionate disruption for passengers and airlines across Europe”.

Rival Ryanair said it had been forced to cancel more than 500 flights over the last two days.

“We again call on the EU [European Union] and French authorities to act now and prevent thousands of travelers being held to ransom by these French [air traffic control] workers,” the Irish low-cost airline said.

Air France said it was operating one-in-four flights to and from Orly airport in Paris, about 40% to and from cities in the rest of France, and 50% of medium-haul flights to and from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

No long-haul Air France flights were affected on April 9.

Air traffic controllers are planning further industrial action from April 16 to 18 and from April 29 to May 2 – both key holiday periods.

Roger Rousseau, head of the SNCTA union that represents French air traffic controllers, said: “We can assure our passengers that we are doing everything possible to limit the inconvenience of this strike on them.”

Among the issues upsetting members is that the retirement age will be raised from 57 to 59.