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Showing posts from June 6, 2014

Bankruptcy of Texas power firm Energy Future to stay in Delaware

The Chapter 11 class="mandelbrot_refrag"> bankruptcy of Texas's largest power company, Energy Future Holdings, will remain with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, the judge handling the case ruled on Thursday. _0"> Energy Future filed one of the largest nonfinancial bankruptcies ever in April in Delaware, where the company's subsidiaries are incorporated. The company has $42 billion in debt. U.S. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi rejected arguments by a trustee for junior creditors that the case should be in Dallas, where the company is headquartered, because it would better serve employees and regulators. (Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware)

UPDATE 1-Bankruptcy of Texas power firm Energy Future to stay in Delaware

Texas's largest power company, Energy Future Holdings, overcame the first challenge to its huge class="mandelbrot_refrag"> bankruptcy on Thursday when a Delaware judge ruled the Chapter 11 case should stay in his court rather than be transferred to Dallas, as some creditors wanted. Judge Christopher Sontchi said Energy Future could have filed in several courts, and that it was clearly forum shopping, but he said that doing so was not "insidious". "Given that it is a financial restructuring and given that the parties are in the Northeast, I think that favors Delaware," he said, accepting the company's main argument for filing in Wilmington.   true       The Dallas-based company has said it plans to restructure its $42 billion in debt, not its operations. It argued that most parties involved in the restructuring are class="mandelbrot_refrag"> hedge funds and other sophisticated investors that are based in New York, a two-hour

UPDATE 1-Michigan House passes bill package for bankrupt Detroit

Detroit's plan to adjust its debts and exit class="mandelbrot_refrag"> bankruptcy as soon as this fall got a boost on Thursday when the Michigan House of Representatives approved a package of bills that includes state money to aid the city's retirees. Under the so-called grand bargain in Detroit's debt adjustment plan, Michigan's nearly $195 million lump sum contribution, along with $466 million pledged over 20 years by philanthropic foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts would be used to ease pension cuts for city retirees. The deal would also protect city art works from being sold to raise money to pay city creditors and includes commitments from two unions to raise money for retiree healthcare costs.   true       All of the contributions are contingent on each other and on members of Detroit's two retirement systems agreeing to accept minimal cuts to their pensions to help the cash-strapped city deal with $18 billion of debt and other obl

Spanish court approves banks' takeover of Pescanova

Spanish class="mandelbrot_refrag"> fishing company Pescanova came out of administration on Friday after a court approved a deal with creditors that leaves the company in the hands of its class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks . _0"> Pescanova - which filed for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> bankruptcy last year - will be controlled by creditors including Spanish class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks Sabadell, Popular, Caixabank, BBVA, NCG Banco and Bankia. Under the deal proposed by the banks, and accepted by the court, creditors will retain 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) of debt and will inject 125 million euros of capital into the company, the frozen fish products of which are among Spain's best-known brands. ($1 = 0.7336 Euros) (Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and David Goodman)

Momentive's $570 mln bankruptcy loan package approved by judge

A class="mandelbrot_refrag"> bankruptcy court judge on Friday approved a $570 million financing package to get Momentive Performance Materials through bankruptcy, over the objections of unsecured creditors who say the deal will threaten their recoveries. Momentive, the maker of silicone and quartz products that is owned by private equity group Apollo Global Management LLC , filed for Chapter 11 protection in April with a prearranged restructuring that had the support of key stakeholders. The plan, which still needs court approval, includes a $600 million rights offering and $1.3 billion in exit loans from class="mandelbrot_refrag"> JPMorgan Chase & Co . To get Momentive through Chapter 11, JPMorgan also arranged financing in the form of a $300 million loan and a $270 million credit facility. The bulk of that package had already been approved by Judge Robert Drain of U.S. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, Ne

Overseas Shipholding says near deal to advance bankruptcy plan

An attorney for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Overseas Shipholding Group Inc , one of the world's largest publicly traded tanker holding companies, told a U.S. judge on Friday a deal was close with noteholders that would clear the way for creditors to vote on its class="mandelbrot_refrag"> bankruptcy exit plan. Noteholders agreed to drop their objection to the company's $1.5 billion rights offering for a chance to participate in the stock sale, said Luke Barefoot, an attorney with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which represents the company. The rights offering is a key component to Overseas Shipholding's exit plan and would allow existing stock holders to buy newly issued stock in the company. The plan is also backed with $1.35 billion in financing from Jefferies Finance. Barefoot told a U.S. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Bankruptcy Court hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, that the parties had a few more details to work out. H

Egyptian crackdown risks spreading instability abroad, Islamist says

A former Muslim Brotherhood leader has warned that government oppression in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Egypt is fanning militancy that will pose a threat abroad unless the army-backed authorities start respecting freedom and human rights. Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, who left the Brotherhood in 2011, said that once former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wins a presidential election this week - as is widely expected - he had two choices: restore Egypt's path to democracy, or risk more instability that will dash hopes for economic development. In an interview with Reuters, Abol Fotouh predicted wider consequences flowing from the crackdown launched last year after the military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president. He noted, for example, how past oppression in the Middle East had bred radicalism of the type that led to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. "The world around us m

Italy's woeful waste management on trial with Il Supremo trash king

Italian businessman Manlio Cerroni thinks a monument would be a fitting recognition of his services to Rome. Instead, the 86-year-old, who spent 60 years building a global empire and a personal fortune on trash, is facing trial on a string of charges. Italian prosecutors say Cerroni - "Il Supremo" to his aides - oversaw a web of companies and individuals colluding to defend his monopoly over trash disposal in and around the Italian capital, including his Malagrotta landfill, Europe's largest, which closed last year after European Union authorities ruled it unfit to treat waste. Cerroni's lawyer, Giorgio Martellino, says his client denies all charges, which also include fraud and improper waste treatment, but declined to be interviewed. Several local politicians from the Lazio region, of which Rome is the capital, are also due to stand trial for collusion. Cerroni was earlier this year put under preventive detention at home, but has since been released on bail, o

Exclusive: Fugitive Thai minister says army led government into trap

Thailand's top generals lured the former government and its supporters into a trap by arranging peace talks between political heavyweights then seizing power in a coup moments later, a deposed minister said on Sunday. Speaking to Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location, ousted Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said he was suspicious of army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha's motives for declaring martial law on Tuesday, then calling all key players in the crisis to the negotiating table two days later. "I felt something wasn't right. I tried to warn cabinet members, but I couldn't get the message across in time," Chaturon said. "It was a trap. They'd planned it earlier, then they staged the coup and ordered the other Puea Thai Party members to report to them. I knew something was wrong," he said, referring to the ruling party of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Chaturon was describing Thursday's meeting at the Army

Taliban free most of 27 hostages in Afghan province

The Islamist Taliban have freed most of the 27 prisoners captured last week in Afghanistan's northern Badakhanshan province, a local official said on Sunday, but three remained captive because of their senior rank. _0"> The prisoners, most of them police officers, were taken in a battle for Yamgan district, after several days of fighting. "They still hold the prison chief, police chief and a NDS (intelligence agency) agent," district governor Nawroz Mohammad Haidari said by telephone. Yamgan initially appeared to have fallen to the Taliban, but local officials say it has since been recaptured by Afghan security forces.   true       Violence has intensified since the Taliban launched the start of the summer fighting season on May 12 in advance of the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of the year. The country's presidential election to replace Hamid Karzai, who cannot run for a third term, is underway, with a run-off round between the t

Thai protesters test military's resolve

Thailand's military tightened its grip on power on Sunday as it moved to quell growing protests, saying anyone violating its orders would be tried in military court. It also took its first steps to revitalize a battered class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy , saying nearly a million farmers owned money under the previous government's failed rice-subsidy scheme would be paid within a month. The military overthrew the government on Thursday after months of debilitating and at times violent confrontation between the populist government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the royalist establishment. Critics say the coup will not end the conflict between the rival power networks: the Bangkok-based elite dominated by the military and the bureaucracy, and an upstart clique led by Yingluck's brother and former telecommunication mogul Thaksin Shinawatra. The Shinawatras draw much of their influence from the provinces. The military detained numerous people incl

Iran hangs first of four men over Ahmadinejad-era bank scandal

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Iran has hanged the first of four men sentenced to death for a massive financial scam that tainted the government of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, local media reported on Sunday. _0"> Mehafarid Amir-Khosravi, described as a self-made tycoon, was hanged in Tehran's Evin Prison on Saturday after the supreme court upheld the four death sentences, the reports said. There was no word on the fate of the other three. Exposed in 2011, the 30 trillion-rial ($2.7 billion) scandal involved embezzlement, bribery, forgery and money-laundering in 14 state-owned and private class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks between 2007 and 2010 by people close to the political elite. Coming to light as normal Iranian were being hit by the impact of Western economic sanctions, the affair severely damaged the reputation of Ahmadinejad and his entourage towards the end of his eight-year presidency. Ahmadinejad's supporters said he had

Car bomb kills 13 in Syria's Homs: monitoring group

At least 13 people were killed when a car bomb exploded on a busy roundabout in the central Syrian city of Homs on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. _0"> Another 40 people were wounded in the explosion in the mainly Alawite Zahraa neighborhood, it said. Some of the dead were security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite, who is fighting a three-year revolt against his rule. Car bombs have become frequent in Homs in the past weeks, in particular since Assad's forces moved into previously rebel-held areas of the city this month. The uprising against Assad began as peaceful protests but became militarized after heavy crackdown by his forces, taking on an increasingly sectarian nature, pitting majority Sunni Muslims against Alawites, followers of an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Syria became a magnet for foreign al Qaeda-linked fighters who now control some rebel-held areas of

Colombians vote for president with peace talks in the balance

Opposition candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga won most votes in Colombia's presidential election on Sunday but fell short of a first-round victory and will face President Juan Manuel Santos in a runoff that casts doubts over peace talks with Marxist rebels. Zuluaga had 29.3 percent support and Santos trailed on 25.6 percent with returns in from almost 99 percent of voting tables. They had needed more then 50 percent for victory so will now go to a runoff on June 15. The election was largely seen as a plebiscite on Santos' strategy of negotiating a peace deal with Marxist guerrillas to end a 50-year-old war that has killed some 200,000 people. Zuluaga, a right-wing former class="mandelbrot_refrag"> finance minister, accuses Santos of pandering to terrorists and has suggested he would scrap the peace talks in favor of U.S.-backed military campaigns similar to those led by his mentor, former President Alvaro Uribe. "Security is important to us; we are 100 perce

Suspected Islamists kill 20 in Nigeria market attack

Suspected Islamist gunmen opened fire on a market in a Nigerian village on Sunday, killing 20 people in the latest violence against civilians in the northeast of Africa's top oil producer. _0"> The assailants surrounded the village of Kamuyya, a military source based in the nearest town told Reuters. The militants shot people as they gathered to trade in its open air market. Villages in Borno state, the epicenter of Boko Haram's violent campaign to carve an Islamic caliphate out of religiously mixed Nigeria, have been under almost daily attack. On Thursday, suspected Boko Haram gunmen rampaged through three villages in northern Nigeria, killing 28 people and burning houses to the ground. Boko Haram made world headlines when it claimed the abduction of more than 200 school girls from the village of Chibok last month, prompting international outrage and persuading President Goodluck Jonathan to accept foreign help to try to free them, including a team of around 80 U

Yemeni forces kill senior al Qaeda leader: Defence Ministry website

Yemen's security forces killed an al Qaeda leader suspected of attacks on foreign diplomats on Sunday, the Defence Ministry's news website said, in a raid north of the capital Sanaa in which four other militants died and four were captured. A government official said an intelligence officer also died when anti-terrorism units raided a house in Bayt al-Othdri, in the Arhab region, and fought a gunbattle with its occupants. Four other militants were captured alive, the official said. The raid was part of an escalating campaign against militants responsible for a wave of attacks across the country. "The forces exchanged fire with the wanted men who were holed up inside a house," the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters. "Five were killed and four were captured." The Defence Ministry's website quoted "informed sources" as saying that one of the dead was Saleh al-Tais, who it said was involved in the killing in

Poland's last communist ruler Jaruzelski dies at 90: agency

General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland's last communist leader who imposed martial law to crush the Solidarity movement only to hand over power less than a decade later, died aged 90 on Sunday after a long illness, the state news agency PAP said. _0"> In public a stern, enigmatic figure in his trademark dark glasses, Jaruzelski's record defies easy judgment and still divides Poles almost a quarter century after the fall of communism. Lech Walesa, who was detained by Jaruzelski as Solidarity leader but eventually succeeded him as president, described the communist as a tragic figure who should be judged only by God. For many Poles, Jaruzelski was a Soviet stooge who, with Moscow's backing, announced military rule on December 13, 1981, after the first independent trade union behind the Iron Curtain, Solidarity, threatened communist rule. Others accepted his argument that the decision helped to avert a Soviet-led military intervention like those that crushed similar

Police hunt Brussels Jewish Museum gunman, France tightens security

Belgian police on Sunday were hunting a gunman who shot dead two Israelis and a French woman at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, in an attack French President Francois Hollande said was without doubt motivated by anti-Semitism. Security around all Jewish institutions in Belgium was raised to the highest level following Saturday's shooting, while French authorities stepped up security after two Jews were attacked near a Paris synagogue. Belgian officials released a 30-second video clip from the museum's security cameras showing a man wearing a dark cap and a blue jacket enter the building, take a Kalashnikov rifle out of a bag, and shoot into a room, before walking out. "From the images we have seen, we can deduce that the perpetrator probably acted alone and was well prepared," said Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor's office. "It's still too early to confirm whether it's a terrorist or an anti-Semitic attack; all lines of

Niger arrests opposition members it says trying to incite coup

Niger has arrested some 40 armed opposition supporters on suspicion of attempting to destabilize the West African nation in order to incite the army to stage a coup, the country's interior minister said. _0"> Political tensions have risen in Niger since August after a reshaping of President Mahamadou Issoufou's ruling coalition that saw National Assembly leader Hama Amadou and his Nigerien Democratic Movement (Moden) party enter the opposition. The arrests came after unidentified gunmen on a motorbike, machinegunned the home of Mohamed Ben Omar, a vice president of Niger's parliament and member of the ruling coalition on May 20. "All those arrested have links with a premeditated attempt to create a campaign of terror which to them would lead to a military coup," Hassoumi Massaoudou said during a news conference on Saturday, adding 40 party members were detained. "The opposition party members were caught red-handed notably with Molotov cocktails,

Even before he is crowned, India's Modi struts the global stage

Narendra Modi will be sworn in on Monday as India's prime minister at a glittering ceremony that will be as much a show of his determination to be a key player on the global stage as a celebration of his stunning election victory. For the first time in India's history, a clutch of South Asian leaders will be among the guests watching Modi's inauguration at the presidential palace in New Delhi - including the prime minister of arch-rival class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Pakistan , Nawaz Sharif. Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies swept India's elections this month, ousting the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in a seismic political shift that has given his party a mandate for sweeping economic reform. Even before his inauguration, Modi made waves on the global stage, where once he was treated by many with suspicion - and by some as a pariah - for a rash of Hindu-Muslim violence that erupted 12 years ago in Gujarat, the western state

South Africa's Zuma turns to Gordhan's deputy as new finance Minister

South African President Jacob Zuma promoted deputy class="mandelbrot_refrag"> finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to finance minister on Sunday, replacing the widely respected Pravin Gordhan in a new cabinet line-up to start a second five-year term in office. The day after a glitzy inauguration in Pretoria, the 72-year-old Zuma also confirmed millionaire businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy president, a decision likely to go down well with investors and the private sector. Mining minister Susan Shabangu, who has been criticized for her handling of a strike in the platinum mines now in its fifth month, was replaced by Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a lawyer and former deputy minister in the prison service. Nene, 55, has been number two at the Treasury in Africa's most advanced class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy since 2008 and is seen as a capable technocrat familiar to domestic and international investors. His first name means 'Luck' in Zulu. He was a

In pointed moves, Pope prays at Bethlehem wall, invites leaders to Vatican

Pope Francis completes a tour of the Holy Land on Monday, paying homage to Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust and looking to affirm Christian rights at a disputed place of worship in Jerusalem. After visits to Jordan and the Palestinian Territories - including praying at the wall dividing Bethlehem from Jerusalem, Francis spends the third and final day of his trip in the latter with a slate of political and religious encounters and visits to some of the most sensitive holy sites in the world. Francis has used his trip so far to plea for an end to the generations-old Middle East conflict, inviting the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to join him in the Vatican early next month and pray for peace. Both Shimon Peres, who plays no decision-making role in Israeli diplomacy, and Mahmoud Abbas accepted the offer. It follows the collapse of U.S.-backed peace talks last month, and there was little hope that the highly unusual encounter could break decades of mutual mistrust and deadlock.

Poland's last communist ruler Jaruzelski dies at 90

General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland's last communist leader who imposed martial law to crush the Solidarity movement only to hand over power less than a decade later, died aged 90 on Sunday after a long illness, a military hospital in Warsaw said. In public a stern, enigmatic figure in his trademark dark glasses, Jaruzelski's record defies easy judgment and still divides Poles almost a quarter century after the fall of communism. Lech Walesa, who was detained by Jaruzelski as Solidarity leader but eventually succeeded him as president, described the communist as a tragic figure who should be judged only by God.   true       For many Poles, Jaruzelski was a Soviet stooge who, with Moscow's backing, announced military rule on December 13, 1981, after the first independent trade union behind the Iron Curtain, Solidarity, threatened communist rule. Others accepted his argument that the decision helped to avert a Soviet-led military intervention like those that crushed sim

Libyan premier wins congress backing after renegade general's threats

Libya's new Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq won a vote of confidence from parliament on Sunday in defiance of a renegade former army general who has challenged the assembly's legitimacy. Maiteeq, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, was initially elected two weeks ago after a chaotic parliamentary session that some lawmakers had rejected as illegal. Libya's legislature is at the center of a growing standoff between rogue former general, Khalifa Haftar, with a loose alliance of anti-Islamist militias, and pro-Islamist factions positioning for influence in the North African country. The Europe Union's special envoy on Sunday called the crisis Libya's worst since the 2011 war ousted Muammar Gaddafi, with the fragile government struggling to control brigades of former rebels and militias who are now key powerbrokers. Lawmakers met on Sunday under heavy security to vote to approve Maiteeq's government, a week after militia forces claiming loyalty to Haftar attacked t