The Great Debate UK

from Reuters Investigates:

WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks, GreenLeaks and more leaks

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A Reuters exclusive details the emergence of two anti-corporate, WikiLeaks-style websites in Europe, both called GreenLeaks. The sites promise to leak confidential documents regarding environmental abuses by a host of industries.

The report by Mark Hosenball also reveals the rise of other possible WikiLeaks copycats that would focus on specialized topics or regions -- from Russia and the European Union bureaucracy to international trade, the pharmaceutical industry and the Balkans.

GREENLEAKS/The two rival GreenLeaks sites were set up by Mads Bjerg (left) in Copenhagen (greenleaks.org) and Scott Millwood (below) in Berlin (greenleaks.com) -- and neither is happy about the competition.

Over lunch in a Berlin sushi bar, Millwood told Reuters his group acquired the domain name GreenLeaks in 36 countries where it also has registered GreenLeaks internet addresses under the ".com" and ".biz" designators. Millwood said he also has applied to the European Union to register "GreenLeaks" as a trademark, but recently learned that Bjerg's Denmark-based group had made a similar move within days of Millwood making his own application.

Has QE2 worked?

– Kathleen Brooks is research director at forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own. –

Ever since the U.S. Central Bank formally announced its second round of quantitative easing back in November, bond yields have trended higher. Ten-year Treasury yields have jumped by 100 basis points and are back at levels last reached in May 2010. Higher yields underpinned the dollar, which has risen by more than 5 percent over the same time period. So what does this tell us about the market, and has the Fed’s grand plan actually backfired?

from The Great Debate:

Will oil prices stabilize around $80?

Most commentators and oil analysts are convinced a further rise in prices is inevitable in the next few years as emerging market consumption grows and supplies increasingly come from more costly and technically challenging sources such as ultra-deepwater.

While there are disagreements about the extent and the timing of price changes, there is a remarkable degree of consensus about the direction: up. But the roller-coaster experience of the last five years should have taught forecasters to be much more cautious about extrapolating trends and assuming the future direction is obvious.

from Breakingviews:

BP’s second kitchen-sinking can’t mask comeback

It will be a long time before BP is back to business as usual following the Gulf of Mexico disaster. The UK oil and gas major has just upped its estimate of costs by $7.7 billion to $39.9 billion, in what investors must hope is the second kitchen-sinking exercise following the disaster—albeit the first under new chief executive Bob Dudley. But the hit can't mask what looks like the makings of BP's recovery.

The upward revision to the spill cost was twice as big as some analysts had expected—BP blamed delays in capping its leaking well—but the shares still rose on the news. That isn't so strange. The Gulf of Mexico disaster has already wiped some $60 billion from BP's market value, while global markets are little changed from when the Macondo well blew out in April. After tax, the hit falls to $27 billion. That number is still probably a best guess. A gross negligence charge for BP would send the bill skyrocketing. Equally, the costs could fall if BP's partners in the stricken well end up assuming their 35 percent share of the liability.

from The Great Debate:

Forecasting and its discontents

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future," is attributed to a long list of people. Even with that in mind, however, the first eight months of 2010 have been especially unkind to professional forecasters and investors as markets have lurched between extremes of pessimism and optimism.

Normally forecasters can benefit from diversification -- publishing lots of forecasts ensures at least some prove correct. But heightened correlation between and within asset classes has denied forecasters and investors even that consolation.

from Breakingviews:

Vedanta’s Indian oil interest is hard to fathom

Vedanta Resources' Indian oil interest is hard to fathom. No doubt Cairn Energy will have plenty of ideas for any cash it may raise by selling a stake in the UK oil explorer's Indian subsidiary. But it's harder to see what Anil Agarwal's mining group has to gain from dipping its toe into the oil business.

Vedanta's interest is in Cairn India, which pumps oil in the Rajasthan desert and has had a separate listing since January 2007. A full takeover would be a stretch. Cairn Energy's 62 percent stake is worth $8.5 billion at current market prices. Add in a control premium, and a possible offer to minority shareholders, and a deal could easily cost twice that amount.

from Breakingviews:

BP assets worth risk of indigestion for Apache

It's potentially hazardous to swallow a meal a third your size. But it could make sense for Apache to grab $10 billion of BP's Alaskan assets. The U.S. firm's flair for squeezing oil from older wells makes it an ideal buyer -- and BP is a keener seller than it was.

With a market capitalization just shy of $30 billion and only $2 billion in cash on hand, Apache might not find it easy to digest a big deal. Nor is it coming to the table with an empty stomach. Just days before BP's Gulf of Mexico rig explosion in April, Apache snapped up Mariner Energy for $2.7 billion and bought $1 billion of assets from Devon Energy.

Facebook group defends “harassed” BP

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OIL-SPILL/

BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward branded “the most hated man in America” may be surprised to find himself cast in the role of victim by a growing clan of web-based supporters on Facebook.

One such group ‘Support BP’ calls itself the defender of an “undeservedly harassed institution” and seeks to show that the public opprobrium BP faces over its now 60-day-old Gulf of Mexico oil spill is not universal.

Is the re-pricing in stocks and oil complete?

-Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The better tone in stock indices and oil prices that has appeared this week begs the question as to whether the bout of re-pricing is complete.

from Global News Journal:

Volcano chaos: A pointer to potential Iran/Gulf smoke disruption?

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volcanoAs if they didn’t have enough to think about, planners trying to pin down the unintended consequences of a strike on Iran may be required to reorder their lengthy worry list.

The concern? Iceland’s volcano, or rather, the vivid reminder the exploding mountain provided to governments of the importance of civil emergency planning.

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