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 Lever. 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?
LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Libya’s ruling family tried to
coerce billions of dollars from Libyan and foreign oil
companies, and its leader Muammar Gaddafi exhorted the United
States to sow division in Saudi Arabia, leaked American
diplomatic cables reveal.
One cable seen by Reuters, sent from the U.S. embassy in
Tripoli, shows Gaddafi’s government exerting heavy pressure on
U.S. and other oil companies to reimburse Tripoli the $1.5
billion Libya had paid in 2008 into a fund to settle terrorism
claims from the 1980s.
We stepped into the new new Media Universe for our report on Augmented Reality, creating our own app which will alert anyone using it (iPhone or Android-phones only so far) when they are near one of the new movers and shakers of the business. It wasn’t so hard — you can see how we did it here.
But for anyone who just wants an overview, here’s the contents of the layer we made and published through Hoppala (on a Firefox browser) and AR browser firm Layar. It’s our take on the movers and shakers in the AR industry, mainly linking to Twitter feeds, and Tarmo Virki is happy to learn of any updates. These entries are unadorned:
Two graphs tell an apparently conflicting story: analysts forecast a steady recovery in BP’s dividends, but its valuation remains weak. Tom Bergin’s close look at the potential costs facing BP as a result of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill helps explain the latter, but less so the former.
“They love a conspiracy theory on the boards,” David Jones, chief market strategist at spread betting firm IG Index told UK correspondents Rosalba O’Brien and Matt Scuffham when they were reporting for “The stock, the web, the CEO and his lawyers” . It’s a look at some of the shenanigans around highly speculative resource stocks when they are discussed on message boards like ADVFN and iii. Late-night gossip and personal insults are par for the course: some suspect organised short-sellers may be behind the talk. Given the high volumes of online trading in the UK, we wonder how long it will be before regulator FSA is forced to take a closer look.
It’s taking a while to filter through to those of us who don’t follow these things that Israel might become an energy exporter. Ari Rabinovich in Tel Aviv explores some of the potential consequences.
“I see it becoming a source of considerable tension until the location and the scale of the reservoirs are better understood,” says Catherine Hunter, a Levantine energy analyst at IHS in London.
BP’s Macondo Gulf spill would be nothing compared to the effect of a drilling accident in the Arctic, Jessica Bachman reports from “the foulest place in all of Russia.” Scientists and Russian officials are just starting to wake up to the fact that “if something happens on the Arctic Barents Sea in November it would be, ‘OK, we’ll come back for you in March,’” Jessica says.
But quite what Russia would do about that is not at all clear. The Russian government gets more than 50 percent of its revenues from oil and gas and Prime Minister Putin’s stated aim is to keep producing more than 10 billion barrels a day through 2020. Environmentalists aren’t the only ones who are worried.
Kate Kelland, EMEA Health and Science Correspondent, has won the British Guild of Health Writers Award for Best Online Feature 2010 for her Special Report on using financial incentives to nudge people towards kicking their unhealthy habits: Special Report: In austere times can bribery be healthy?
The judges of the award, which was presented at an event in London on November 4th, praised Kate for what they said was a “fascinating” piece which was well written, thoroughly and accurately reported, informative and insightful. We couldn’t agree more.
In Britain, the coalition government is readying its “comprehensive spending review” later this month. Rather than get caught up in chasing which government departments or bodies will be cut, two of our reporters focused on a single council – in this case, the City of Birmingham, which happens to be the biggest local authority in Europe – and explored what it’s doing to prepare for the change ahead.
For a lot of people, the most visible sign of cuts in Britain will be at a local level, as services are pulled back and jobs are lost. In the leadup to the spending review details, lobbyists in London have been doing great business. Check out their tactics for survival – although if you’re worried about your government contract but haven’t done anything about it, you’re probably already too late.
We went behind the scenes of Dubai’s debt debacle last November and found a much more sober city-state starting to rebuild itself from the $59 billion hole that was dug by the whizz kids who had powered its transformation. Loans don’t come as easy — particularly the nod and the wink of association with the royal family isn’t cutting it like it used to.
Some people see a connection between the crisis and the fact that Dubai has also started to tighten up on its trade with Iran, in line with broader international sanctions, but we’re not so sure about that.