Israel PM announces major offshore gas deal

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday announced a major deal between his government and a consortium including US firm Noble Energy on natural gas production in the Mediterranean Sea.


The agreement is aimed at ending months of uncertainty and setting a framework for the exploitation of gas discoveries that are expected to bring major new government revenue.

China devalues yuan for third straight day

Yuan notes

The central bank put the yuan’s central parity rate at 6.4010 yuan for US$1, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System said, a drop of 1.11% from the previous day’s 6.3306.

It was also lower than Wednesday’s close and comes after China adopted a more market-oriented method of calculating the currency rate in a move widely seen as a devaluation. The move triggered concerns over a currency war. The “one-off” reset of the Yuan was certainly an unexpected move. But the critical aspect of the move was the shift in the mechanism for setting the fix (the target value of the Yuan against the Dollar). Instead of being set unilaterally by the PBoC and allowed to move very little, the Yuan will now be, in part, set by market forces—a move the International Monetary Fund has been calling for ahead of China’s possible inclusion as a reserve currency. The resetting of the Yuan’s value has only just begun.

Jamaica Gleaner and RJR combined market cap soars by $1.2b

THE market capitalisation (cap) of the Gleaner Company Ltd and Radio Jamaica Ltd (RJR) collectively rose by $1.2 billion, sending both stocks to 52-week highs following last week’s acquisition announcement.

The Gleaner Company Ltd’s market cap or value of shares outstanding rose by two-thirds in under a week (between August 5 to August 11) from $1.57 billion to $2.6 billion; comparatively RJR’s market cap increased by 18 per cent from $1.2 billion to $1.42 billion over the same period.

The Gleaner and RJR respectively, operate the oldest print and broadcast media entities in the island. It’s rare for these established stocks to rapidly fluctuate in price over a short period. But investors have taken note that RJR will issue 1.2 billion shares to Gleaner shareholders as payment for the Gleaner Company (Media) Limited subsidiary.

Year to date the stock price of the Gleaner and RJR increased by 152 per cent to $2.15 and 254 per cent to $4.00 respectively.

“Shareholders in The Gleaner Company Limited will receive one RJR share for every share they now hold in the Gleaner Company.

Fidel Castro to US: you owe us millions


Havana (AFP) – Fidel Castro marked his 89th birthday Thursday by insisting the United States owes Cuba “many millions of dollars” because of the half-century-old American trade embargo. Castro spoke out in an essay published in local media a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry makes a historic visit to Cuba to reopen the US embassy as part of the countries’ restoration of diplomatic relations.

The trade embargo that the United States slapped on communist Cuba in 1962, three years after Castro seized power by ousting a US-backed regime, remains in effect despite the thawing.

President Barack Obama wants Congress to lift it, although US officials say this will take time and is not an automatic part of the restoration of ties as it requires congressional action.

Many Republicans, who control both chambers of the legislature, oppose the idea, insisting Cuba has to improve its human rights record and make other democratic reforms. Castro’s 89th birthday is being celebrated with a wide array of events.


Russia Adds Four Countries To Food Import Ban,


Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that four countries have been added to its import ban list for foreign food.

He also threatened on August 13 that Ukrainian products would be added to the Russian blacklist if Kyiv implemented the economic parts of its Association Agreement with the European Union.

Medvedev named the four additional countries as Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, and Lichtenstein.

He said Ukraine would be added at the start of 2016 unless Kyiv reached a settlement with Moscow that circumvents the economic regulations in Ukraine’s trade accord with the EU.

The ban has already made it illegal for Russians to import food from the United States, Canada, Australia, and the European Union.


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