Reuters blog archive
By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
Hong Kong’s tycoons could be part of ending the standoff with pro-democracy activists. The city’s business leaders have an outsize influence over local politics. Relaxing their grip on special corporate votes could ease divisions over electoral reform as well as tensions over rampant inequality.
Hong Kong’s big businesses have generally resisted electoral reform, in line with China’s desire to keep a firm grip on any increased democratic representation in the former colony. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying summed up that view on Oct. 20 when he said that free elections would give poorer residents a dominant voice.
Yet as the protests rumble into their fourth week, that approach looks increasingly unsustainable. For Hong Kong’s business leaders, giving up a little now could help avoid a bigger confrontation later.
Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers are due to meet European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger in Brussels after presidents Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin said they had agreed on the "basic parameters" of a deal to get gas flowing to Ukraine again this winter.
Russia cut off gas supply to Ukraine in mid-June following more than two years of dispute on the price and said Kiev had to pay off large debts for previously-supplied gas before it would resume supply.
from The Great Debate:
The U.S. State Department is producing anti-Islamic State propaganda to persuade American and other would-be jihadis not to join the extremist group. It’s ham-handed, and often sarcastic, and unlikely to have the intended effect.
Why? Because the department fails to understand how Islamic State attracts recruits in the first place.
from The Great Debate:
At first sight, it seems that Israel is just as preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State as anyone else. Israeli media report diligently on the extremist group’s assault on the Kurdish town of Kobani and run at least a story every few days on its atrocities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu references Islamic State frequently, as do other Israeli ministers. And the stories of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who died fighting for the group have been recently featured in the press.
Still, Israel remains the least concerned and least directly threatened country in a region increasingly rocked by Islamic State’s advance. It certainly does not see the group as an external threat. Shocking though the events in Syria and Iraq are, Israel is far beyond the range of even the most sophisticated of Islamic State’s weapons. The group’s immediate territorial interests do not extend to anywhere near Israeli borders, and its support in areas adjacent to Israel is still negligible. What’s more, unlike many militant groups and states in the region, Islamic State has declared itself emphatically disinterested in intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring instead to draw its support from Sunni revanchism and introducing a semblance of order into war-torn regions of Iraq.
from James Saft:
Oct 21 (Reuters) - IBM's woes are interesting not simply
because they tell us about the economy, but because they reveal
broader truths about how, and for whom, companies are run.
IBM kicked its 2015 operating earnings goal off the
back of the truck on Monday, blaming an outright fall in
third-quarter revenues on a sudden downturn in client spending.
from Data Dive:
A Yiddish proverb says, "Don't be too sweet lest you be eaten up." If only.
The top sugar brand in the United States, Domino Sugar, has announced it is joining the diet bandwagon by launching a no-calorie, "natural" sweetener line extracted from Paraguay's stevia plant.
Last month, the three biggest soda companies in the U.S., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, proposed an initiative to reduce the number of calories consumed in sweetened drinks by 20 percent by 2025.
from Alison Frankel:
Professor Randall Thomas of Vanderbilt Law studies M&A class action litigation. To him, it's obvious that some plaintiffs' firms file these now ubiquitous suits simply to collect a so-called "deal tax" and others work the cases hard to win better terms for shareholders. Yet commentary on M&A class actions tends not to distinguish among shareholders' firms, he said. "It always bothered me that all plaintiffs' firms are painted with the same brush - they're either shareholder champions or scum of the earth," Thomas told me. "The reality is that there are big differences."
Thomas and two other eminent professors determined to quantify those differences. In a new working paper called "Zealous Advocates or Self-Interested Actors? Assessing the Value of Plaintiffs' Law Firms in Merger Litigation," Thomas worked with C.N.V. Krishnan of Case Western's business school and Steven Davidoff Solomon of UC Berkeley School of Law (and DealBook) to identify the best shareholder firms in M&A litigation. (Hat tip to Kevin LaCroix at D&O Diary.)
By Olaf Storbeck
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Unwinding the ill-fated acquisition of Reebok could offer a much-needed new start for German sportswear maker Adidas.