Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

All Japan, all the time

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Two more special reports from Japan today: first up, a look at how globalization has made companies around the world vulnerable to a shock like the earthquake. ”Disasters show flaws in just-in-time production.”

The PDF version, here, has a nice graphic showing the location of Japan’s ports, some of which have been hard hit by the disaster.

The second report takes another look at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It makes worrying reading:

TOKYO (Reuters)- When the massive tsunami smacked into Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power plant was stacked high with more uranium than it was originally designed to hold and had repeatedly missed mandatory safety checks over the past decade.

Hedge fund investors flex their muscles

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By Emily Chasan

Bernie Madoff, didn’t technically run a hedge fund, but his effects on the industry are still being felt today. 

Hedge fund investors learned the hard way that they wanted to invest in hedge funds with a more institutional feel, and pushed successfully over the past few years for reforms to hedge fund redemption policies, transparency, use of outside fund administrators and even lower fee structures.

Battling meltdowns, nuclear and fiscal, in Japan

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JAPAN-QUAKE/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.

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.  

The battle of Waterloo

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RIM/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.

Dan Loeb learns email is forever

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RTR2D72S.jpgBy 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.

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.

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.

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“)

The coming of Glencore

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Checking background for our Special Report on Glencore, “The Biggest Company You Never Heard Of”, I stumbled on the novel “The Fortunes of Glencore” by Charles Leveglencore acquisitionsr. On a whim I read it. There were some intriguing parallels between the 20th-century company and the book, even though that was published in 1857.

The further I read, the more I asked myself if this little heard-of scrap of 19th-century literature couldn’t be used as some kind of coda. It sounds crazy, but maybe you can understand the temptation. Glencore is a secretive, controversial Swiss-based commodities trading and mining giant, and even though it may soon be quoted on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, it works hard to maintain its mystique. Could this little novel be some kind of “Da Vinci Code” for Glencore?