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Jul 8, 2011

Murdoch and Britain: has “the music stopped?”

LONDON (Reuters) – “Let me declare my vested interests up front,” Rupert Murdoch said in a 2010 speech praising Margaret Thatcher’s years as Prime Minister. “I speak as more than an admirer of Margaret Thatcher. I speak as a person grateful for the opportunities this nation has given me — and the opportunities she has created for every other individual in Britain.”

Australian-born Murdoch did not mention the opportunities he has given Britain’s politicians. It’s become a rite of passage for leaders of Britain’s main political parties to cozy up to Murdoch while in opposition, in the hope that his newspapers help them win power. Thatcher, Tony Blair and David Cameron all received the Murdoch stamp of approval before they took office.

May 24, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

The Britain Obama won’t see


Security tops the agenda as Barack Obama visits Britain, with a tighter relationship on the cards between the United States and the UK:

“Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world,” Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

May 12, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Why a Greek default wouldn’t be news


“From 1800 until well after World War Two, Greece found itself virtually in continual default,” write Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in “This Time Is Different” — it’s a point Nouriel Roubini underlines in our latest look at Europe’s mess, from Noah Barkin.

In other words, for Greece over the long term, default is more steady-state than news.

May 9, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Greece’s unsteady privatisation


 Scepticism in financial markets about how effective the EU bailout of Greece will prove has long been mounting . One reason is concern that the country cannot deliver on its privatisation schedule. We checked out Greek efforts to sell off real estate, which are supposed to make up the bulk of funds raised there, and found little doing

A local mayor’s campaign to block the flagship Hellenikon airport project looks like building up into a major psychological battle.  He’s used hunger strikes in his past campaigns, and appears to be morally fortified by the bust of Lenin that he keeps on his desk.

Mar 10, 2011

Exclusive: Cables give U.S. insight into Saudi succession

LONDON (Reuters) – The Saudi prince seen as most likely to accede may in office prove less conservative than his public image suggests, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, which offer rare insights into the succession debate inside America’s ally and leading oil supplier.

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and reviewed by Reuters, run a close commentary on the rules and candidates to succeed King Abdullah, around 87, on the assumption that the current Crown Prince, who is slightly younger and also has health problems, would not remain king for long even if he takes the throne. The cables pre-date the king’s latest publicized illness.

Feb 25, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

The coming of Glencore


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?

Feb 23, 2011

Cables show Libya pressed oil firms to reimburse terror costs

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.

Jan 21, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

A peek inside our layer


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:

Dec 2, 2010
via Reuters Investigates

BP – Tough to price in the consequences


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.


Nov 22, 2010
via Reuters Investigates

Financial cyber-bullying?


“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.

Day-trader John Douce is sceptical about the boards' impact on stock prices

    • About Sara

      "I work on the top news team edit long stories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa region as part of a global team. Before that, I was training journalists on writing about companies, after working as a tech correspondent. I've been a correspondent in Paris, Helsinki and Amsterdam and have worked freelance for a wide range of publications."
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