Deputy head of top news, Americas
Claudia's Feed
Mar 17, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Battling meltdowns, nuclear and fiscal, in Japan

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Check out two special reports out of Tokyo today.

The first examines what has happened at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant since Friday’s massive quake: “Mistakes, misfortune, meltdown: Japan’s quake” (PDF version here)

 Here’s how one expert sums up the situation:

“They might have been prepared for an earthquake. They might have been prepared for a tsunami. They might have been prepared for a nuclear emergency, but it was unlikely that they were prepared for all three,” said Ellen Vancko, an electric power expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Mar 16, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Stalemates have consequences

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By Andy Sullivan

Could you imagine General Electric operating for six months without knowing how much money it has to spend? That’s the situation the U.S. government finds itself in as Congress still hasn’t settled on a budget for the fiscal year that started last October.

While Republicans and Democrats argue over $50 billion in proposed cuts, the effects of the stalemate are being felt around the globe. Airport control towers go unstaffed, scientific research goes unfunded and fighter jets are grounded.  

Mar 15, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

The battle of Waterloo

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By Alastair Sharp

University of Waterloo students looking for a bit of extra cash and some experience in the world of technology often end up spending a semester in the bowels of Research In Motion’s sprawling campus next door.

Waterloo, a university town an hour’s drive from Toronto where RIM built its empire at the entrance to its mine, is a technology hub and its main university is often referred to as either the MIT or Stanford of the north by proud Canadians, with good reason.

Mar 14, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Dan Loeb learns email is forever

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By Matthew Goldstein

The trouble with email is that even once you hit the delete button a message often is never really gone.

Long forgotten emails often lie buried in the deep recesses of a computer’s hard drive. That is until some  enterprising lawyer with a subpoena comes around and gets a techie to retrieve it. And all too often, those old emails can come back to haunt a person — especially in litigation.

Mar 14, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

The Macau Connection

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We teamed up with Matt Isaacs and the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley for a special report last week on the murky world of Macau casinos.

The Macau Connection” focused on Las Vegas Sands, which is being sued by the former CEO of its China division.

Mar 9, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Have you driven an F3 lately?

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By Ben Berkowitz

Diplomats, consultants and analysts have plenty of questions about Chinese car maker BYD and its growth tactics, but there’s one thing no one can question: BYD shares have made a lot of people a lot of money in recent years.

Since Warren Buffett invested in the company at the depths of the financial crisis in September 2008, BYD shares are up nearly 300 percent. (And that’s after a sharp decline over the last 16 months, as the company delayed its American debut and experienced sliding sales domestically). Compare that with Ford, up about 170 percent over the same period – and Toyota, which has lost more than a fifth of its value. At one point, BYD shares were so strong that its chairman, Wang Chuanfu, was China’s richest man.

Mar 4, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Diplomacy Inc

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By Ben Berkovitz

Diplomacy is a complex thing, and it gets even more complicated when diplomats are trying to act as salesmen.

A series of State Department cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Reuters by a third party, demonstrates just how intertwined American political and commercial interests really are. (See special report “Weapons, frozen chicken, and the art of diplomacy“)

Feb 23, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Steve Cohen and the law of big numbers

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By Matthew Goldstein

All too often the bigger an investment fund gets, the more difficult it is to continue to generate blowout returns.

Maybe the best example of a fund getting so popular and ultimately unwieldy is Fidelity’s Magellan fund.  One has to wonder if on a smaller scale, the same phenomena is happening to Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors.

Feb 17, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

China’s U.S. debt holdings make it a powerful negotiator

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Worrying about the power China has over the U.S. as America’s largest foreign creditor has become a national pastime. It’s a bipartisan issue in Congress and a favorite subject among pundits lamenting the decline in U.S. influence around the world. But could China really use its Treasury purchases to shape U.S. policy? Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and obtained by Reuters suggest that has already happened.

Emily Flitter’s special report outlines a diplomatic flare-up between the two superpowers following the U.S. financial crisis. Chinese officials said they were worried about the safety of their U.S. investments. U.S. diplomats worked hard to ease the tensions, but the conflict ultimately led to the request of a personal favor by a top Chinese money manager in a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Feb 16, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

ElBaradei: From nuclear diplomat to Cairo politics

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Who is Mohamed ElBaradei, the professional Egyptian opposition figure who joined the ranks of disaffected Eypgtians to topple President Hosni Mubarak after thirty years in power?  Does the 68-year-old diplomat and lawyer have what it takes to become Egypt’s next president if it holds free and fair elections? 

Louis Charbonneau’s special report takes a close look at ElBaradei’s performance while at the helm of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where he stood toe-to-toe with the Bush administration over Iraq and Iran. It tells how he survived a plot by hawkish U.S. politician John Bolton to oust him and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 jointly with the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.  It looks into his questionable record as a manager while showing that he may have what it takes to lead Egypt — if he wants the job.