Ian's Feed
Mar 28, 2012

Could bombing Iran push it to build the Bomb?

VIENNA (Reuters) – Pre-emptive military strikes aimed at forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear activities may end up having the opposite effect: convincing the Islamic Republic’s leaders they need an atomic arsenal to secure their hold on power.

That is the argument from those in the West and elsewhere who say the negative impact of an Israeli or U.S. attack would eventually outweigh any gains – pushing Iran towards a decision that Western intelligence services believe it has not yet taken.

Mar 23, 2012
via Breakingviews

ECB short of firepower as Europe gets worse again

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Smoke is again visible in the euro zone. The economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2011 and looks like doing so again in the first quarter of this year. Sovereign yields have risen again. The European Central Bank put out the fires before by spraying one trillion euros on the banks. But its now greatly expanded balance sheet, and stubborn inflation, are big obstacles to a credible policy response.

Mar 22, 2012
via Breakingviews

UK budget deserves lukewarm applause

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

George Osborne deserves a lukewarm round of applause. Britain’s chancellor, pinned down by a still-large deficit and rating agencies threatening the UK’s triple-A credit rating, tried to work some tricks into his budget. Cutting taxes for the very rich and less well-off, and further lowering corporation tax, is mildly positive for optimism, growth and recovery. But the need to maintain fiscal sobriety means that what Osborne gives with one hand, he has to take with the other.

Mar 21, 2012

IAEA says nuclear security improving, more to be done

VIENNA, March 21 (Reuters) – More still needs to be done to
safeguard nuclear and radioactive materials given the scores of
security incidents the U.N. atomic agency hears about each year,
a senior official said on Wednesday.

Khammar Mrabit, a director of the U.N. International Atomic
Energy Agency, said much had been achieved in the last decade to
help make it harder for militants to carry out “malicious acts”
involving potentially dangerous nuclear substances.

Mar 20, 2012
via Breakingviews

Safe haven tremors signal big investment shift

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Suddenly markets are shifting. The dollar is at an 11-month high against the Japanese yen. Gold has fallen by 8 percent since Feb. 28 and yields on UK gilts, German bunds and U.S Treasuries have risen sharply as expensive safe havens wobble. Global equities are up, but pensive.

Mar 19, 2012

U.N. nuclear watchdog says receives North Korea invitation

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday it had received an invitation from North Korea to visit, three years after its inspectors were expelled from the reclusive Asian state for the second time.

The move appeared to be an attempt by North Korea to show it was serious about a nuclear moratorium deal with the United States last month, an accord which has been thrown into doubt by Pyongyang’s announcement on Friday of a planned rocket launch.

Mar 19, 2012

UN nuclear watchdog says receives NKorea invitation

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday it had received an invitation from North Korea to visit, three years after its inspectors were expelled from the reclusive Asian state for the second time.

The move appeared to be an attempt by North Korea to show it was serious about a nuclear moratorium deal with the United States last month, an accord which has been thrown into doubt by Pyongyang’s announcement on Friday of a planned rocket launch.

Mar 16, 2012

IAEA: “significant” nuclear growth seen in India, china

VIENNA (Reuters) – Global use of nuclear energy could increase by as much as 100 percent in the next two decades on the back of growth in Asia, even though groundbreakings for new reactors fell last year after the Fukushima disaster, a U.N. report says.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has not yet been made public but has been seen by Reuters, said a somewhat slower capacity expansion than previously forecast is likely after the world’s worst nuclear accident in a quarter of a century.

Mar 16, 2012

IAEA: “significant” nuclear growth despite Fukushima

VIENNA, March 16 (Reuters) – Global use of nuclear
energy could increase by as much as 100 percent in the next two
decades on the back of growth in Asia, despite a slump in the
construction of new reactors after the Fukushima disaster, a
U.N. report says.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
which has not yet been made public but has been seen by Reuters,
said a somewhat slower capacity expansion than previously
forecast is likely after the world’s worst nuclear accident in a
quarter of a century.

Mar 13, 2012

Older nuclear plants pose safety challenge: IAEA

VIENNA (Reuters) – Eighty percent of the world’s nuclear power plants are more than 20 years old, raising safety concerns, a draft U.N. report says a year after Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

Many operators have begun programs, or expressed their intention, to run reactors beyond their planned design lifetimes, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) document which has not yet been made public.