Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced on Wednesday that the country's federal oversight board had filed in a US court in San Juan, seeking to slashthe island's multi-billion-dollar debt after failing to strike an agreement with bondholders. Rosselló said he failed had to persuade the island's major creditors to accept less than they were owed, adding that the government was now facing an onslaught of new lawsuits stemming from a series of defaults. "We have reached this decision because it protects the best interests of the people of Puerto Rico," Rosselló said. Puerto Rico has roughly $73 billion (66.8 billion euros) of bond debt, and nearly $50 billion of unfunded pension obligations to restructure. It amassed its debt load after decades of borrowing and years of economic decline. More than 45 percent of the 3.4 million US residents on the island live below the poverty line, with the unemployment rate more than double the US national average. No 'big … [Read more...] about Puerto Rico files for bankruptcy-like case to cut massive debt
New bankruptcy law
Joao Lourenco is considered to be a loyal party soldier - a man who has always been ready to take on greater responsibility in the governing People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). He served as governor in several provinces of Angola, and between 1992 and 1997 he was responsible for propaganda in the MPLA's Politburo. Later, he served as the party's secretary-general for several years. Read more: Angola chooses successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos Lourenco was recently the country's defense minister before becoming the ruling party's flag-bearer in the August 23 parliamentary election to replace long-term President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. "He is continuing to take on responsibility now," state-run newspaper Jornal de Angola wrote, praising him. However, Lourenco's ambition almost cost him his career in the past. In 2003, he fell into a trap: He put himself forward as a possible successor in the country's highest … [Read more...] about Who is Angola’s new president Joao Lourenco?
Whether you're traveling on business or jetting off on holiday, long delays and cancelled flights can be expensive and annoying. Even more aggravating? Being told you can't board your flight because it's been overbooked. The European Commission has decided that passengers are getting a raw deal and has replaced outdated legislation on passenger rights with a new law, which takes effect on Feb. 17. In addition to doubling the compensation limit paid to passengers who are bumped from an overbooked flight, the law will compensate passengers in the event of cancelled flights, which weren't covered under the old legislation. Passengers can demand compensation ranging from €250 to €600 ($325 - $778), depending on the length of the flight. In the case of delays -- also not covered by the previous law -- passengers are now entitled to a ticket refund if the delay is five hours or more. In addition, airlines may, under certain circumstances, have to foot the bill for passenger … [Read more...] about New EU Passenger Rights Anger Airlines
The "energy transition" has become one of the key projects of Chancellor Angela Merkel's tenure. About one year ago, following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan, Merkel announced that all of Germany's nuclear power stations would be shut down by 2022 and money would be invested in renewable energy technology. The first spectacular step was the immediate shut down of eight German nuclear power stations that lacked the most up-to-date safety technology. But the massive energy shortages and winter power cuts feared by many critics did not materialize. This was a success that former Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen - sacked on Wednesday by Merkel – could claim a piece of. Up until this week, he was the central administrator for Germany's energy transition. But while the closure of the old nuclear power stations went relatively smoothly, Röttgen got bogged down in other areas. State broadcaster WDR reported that a leaked paper from the … [Read more...] about What’s in the new environment minister’s inbox?
For years already, the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has had a reputation for causing a stir with its controversial headlines and biting humor. Now, the French publication is following up on that. The magazine has put a Muhammad caricature on its front cover, despite the tensions and violence across many Muslim countries in reaction to an anti-Islam video. The caricature shows a Muslim with a turban – intended to depict the prophet Muhammad – in a wheelchair being pushed by a Jew. Inside the copy, the magazine picks up on the controversy around the anti-Islam video produced in the United States. Just like in the case of the Muhammad caricatures published seven years ago in a Danish daily paper, it's about the freedom of expression and the responsibility of the media. While the French government is trying to de-escalate the situation, Charlie Hebdo defends its decision to publish the caricatures as freedom of the press. "We see this publication as a part of our job and as … [Read more...] about Rising tensions over new Muhammad caricatures
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is set to resign on Saturday after a crucial new austerity law was approved by the lower house of parliament. The new economic measures were passed by the Senate on Friday. The Chamber of Deputies approved the measures by 380 votes for and 26 against. There were two abstentions. The adoption of the law was set by Berlusconi as a precondition for his resignation after the premier lost his parliamentary majority earlier this week. An emergency transitional government will now be formed. Berlusconi is expected to hand in his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano later on Saturday. The new law had been sought by the European Union to stave off bankruptcy of the eurozone's third largest economy as bond markets pushed Italy to the brink of a bailout the bloc could not afford. Market relief Monti was welcomed with sustained applause in the senate on Friday European shares ended the week higher on Friday, fueled on hopes that … [Read more...] about Berlusconi to resign as Italian lower house approves austerity law
The German government adopted a package of measures Wednesday at a cabinet meeting in Berlin aimed at ensuring depositors' savings are better protected if a German bank fails. The measures responded to a European Union directive passed in June, requiring each EU member country to create a deposit insurance fund for the nation's banking sector. The directive specifies that each nation's fund must set aside an amount corresponding to at least 0.8 percent of total bank deposits covered by deposit guarantees. The deposit insurance fund is to be brought up to the required level over the coming ten years, i.e. by 2024. It's part of a wider effort to renovate the European banking system to achieve greater safety and stability in the wake of the problems since the 2008 financial crisis, which was generated by irresponsible banking practices. Europe-wide banking regulation - rather than purely national regulation - is key to that effort. Deposit insurance provides stability to banks A … [Read more...] about Germany gets new deposit insurance law
Megha Mittal beat out several other bidders, including a consortium led by Sven Ley, son of Escada founder Wolfgang Ley. No financial details of the deal have been disclosed. Mittal, 33, has already paid a visit to the firm where she went on a shopping spree before introducing herself to the staff. "Mrs. Mittal first of all went shopping this morning," Escada CEO Bruno Saelzer told the German newspaper Handelsblatt on Friday, November 6. "She bought items from the new collection and, of course, she got the usual staff discount," he added. Saelzer described Mittal as the "ideal face of Escada" and the Mittal family as the company's "partner of choice." "Now all that counts is to look forward," he said. Megha Mittal's father-in-law is Lakshmi Mittal, the world's eighth richest man. Cheered by workers The company's new owner was given a warm welcome by several hundred workers, according to labor representative Ursula Dreyer. "We cried for joy," she … [Read more...] about Indian steel magnate’s daughter-in-law buys fashion house Escada
Hanjin Shipping, South Korea's largest and the world's seventh-largest shipping company, filed for court protection on Wednesday and stopped accepting new cargo, after creditors rejected its self-rescue plan. Following its decision, Hanjin ships on the China-to-Canada route have been refused permission to offload or take aboard containers, because there are no guarantees that tugboat pilots or stevedores will be paid. The company said Friday that about a third of its cargo fleet - some 40 vessels - is marooned at sea or has been impounded at ports. 10 Hanjin vessels were either seized or denied access at Chinese terminals in Shanghai and Tianjin over the past 48 hours, according to local media reports, with another vessel impounded in Singapore earlier the week. An estimated 540,000 containers are expected to face delivery delays, according to the reports. Ocean freight shipping fees between China and the US have soared as much as 50 percent since the bankruptcy was announced, … [Read more...] about Hanjin bankruptcy sparks global shipping crisis
The three firms are supected of padding invoices submitted to the company building Berlin's third airport (BER) which has been plagued by cost overruns and delays , the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday. Lawyers for the airport consortium called the rate at which the additional bills were paid "unparallelled and suspicious," according to report. Citing internal documents, the newspaper said that the anti-corruption unit of the consortium responsible for the third airport had launched an investigation into large payments to the three companies approved by top airport executives. A spokesman for Siemens declined to comment on the report but said that the company had introduced broad internal review practices in recent years. "We cannot completely rule out wrongdoing by individuals but if there are indications that the law and internal guidelines were violated we will decisively investigate this in cooperation with the relevant authorities," the unnamed spokesman told the dpa … [Read more...] about Fraud probe into main contractors for Berlin’s new airport