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May 15, 2014

Pfizer move on Astra threatens UK science, MPs say

LONDON (Reuters) – Pfizer’s potential takeover of AstraZeneca poses a threat to British science unless the U.S. drugmaker can give more concrete, enforceable guarantees on jobs and investment, politicians scrutinising the deal said on Thursday.

London-based AstraZeneca has rejected a $106 billion (63.26 billion pounds) offer from Pfizer and expressed concern that Pfizer would shut down important research to save costs should the two merge. But it has also said it would have to consider an offer if the price was right, and Pfizer has said it could up its offer.

May 15, 2014

UK appoints former White House adviser as Bank of England rate-setter

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) – Britain’s finance minister named
former White House adviser Kristin Forbes as a member of the
Bank of England’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee,
continuing his trend of looking abroad for top BoE officials.

Forbes, an economics professor at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, was the youngest ever person appointed
to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, where she
served President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005.

May 15, 2014

Pfizer move on Astra threatens UK science, lawmakers say

LONDON (Reuters) – Pfizer’s (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) potential takeover of AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) poses a threat to British science unless the U.S. drugmaker can give more concrete, enforceable guarantees on jobs and investment, politicians scrutinizing the deal said on Thursday.

London-based AstraZeneca has rejected a $106 billion offer from Pfizer and expressed concern that Pfizer would shut down important research to save costs should the two merge. But it has also said it would have to consider an offer if the price was right, and Pfizer has said it could up its offer.

May 14, 2014

UK’s Osborne: Scottish nationalist leader Salmond is misleading Scots

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – British finance minister George
Osborne on Wednesday accused the leader of Scotland’s
independence campaign of misleading the Scottish public by
continuing to base his plans for independence on sharing the
pound with the United Kingdom.

In a 90-minute cross-examination by parliament’s Scottish
Affairs Committee Osborne hammered home the British political
establishment’s message that there was no prospect of an
agreement to share sterling with an independent Scotland.

May 13, 2014

Pfizer hints at improved Astra offer as CEO heads into political grilling

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) hinted it could make a higher offer for Britain’s AstraZeneca as the New York-based group’s boss went into a meeting with UK lawmakers on Tuesday at which he was expecting to be grilled over promises on British jobs.

Ian Read faces hostile questions in parliament over his proposed $106 billion play for AstraZeneca. He goes into committee hearings having pledged to keep a fifth of research jobs in Britain, and warned the country’s second biggest drugmaker could wither without Pfizer’s financial muscle.

May 13, 2014

Conservatives in poll lead for first time in over two years

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party took the lead in two opinion polls ahead of European elections, the first time it has led the opposition Labour party in a national opinion poll for more than two years.

Two polls put the Conservatives ahead of Labour on Monday, giving the right-leaning party an unexpected morale boost before European elections later this month and a national election next year.

May 13, 2014

Pfizer boss enters lion’s den of UK politics to sell AstraZeneca deal

LONDON, May 13 (Reuters) – The boss of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer
faces UK lawmakers on Tuesday with a promise and a
threat – to protect British jobs in his proposed joint creation
with AstraZeneca of a global powerhouse upon which he
says the latter’s future depends.

Ian Read faces hostile questions in parliament over his
proposed $106 billion play for AstraZeneca. He goes into
committee hearings having pledged to keep a fifth of research
jobs in Britain, and warned the country’s second biggest
drugmaker could wither without Pfizer’s financial muscle.

May 12, 2014

UK Cameron’s party in poll lead for first time in over two years

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party took the lead in two opinion polls ahead of European elections, the first time it has led the opposition Labor party in a national opinion poll for more than two years.

Two polls put the Conservatives ahead of Labor on Monday, giving the right-leaning party an unexpected morale boost before European elections later this month and a national election next year.

May 12, 2014

UK needs new watchdog for its spies, ex-MI6 chief says

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should create a new body to oversee its intelligence agencies to reassure the public after revelations from ex-U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the former head of the British foreign intelligence service said on Monday.

Documents leaked by Snowden exposed the vast scale of surveillance carried out by Britain’s intelligence agencies and their close collaboration with America’s National Security Agency, sparking a public debate about how they operate.

May 7, 2014

Cameron tells Pfizer wants more commitments for AstraZeneca deal

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron demanded U.S. drugmaker Pfizer give stronger guarantees it will keep jobs and investment in Britain in order to secure his government’s blessing for a takeover of AstraZeneca.

By proposing the biggest ever foreign takeover of a British firm, New York-based Pfizer has sparked fierce debate on whether the government should let outsiders buy a pharmaceuticals group seen as a national champion in a strategically vital industry.