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World - EU puts conditions on deals involving Novartis, GSK

The European Union on Wednesday approved mega deals involving drugmakers Novartis of Switzerland and GlaxoSmithKline of Britain, provided they sell off assets in the vaccines and consumer health businesses. The European Commission, the EU`s executive arm, approved GSK`s acquisition of Novartis`s global human vaccines business as well as a tie-up of their global consumer health business under GSK control, it said in a statement. The commission had feared that the transactions, as initially planned, would undermine competition in vaccines against meningitis and diphtheria as well as in a range of consumer health products to stop smoking and to treat cold sores, cold and influenza. To tackle the commission`s concerns, GSK pledged to `grant a worldwide, exclusive, perpetual licence of GSK`s Nimenrix vaccine for bacterial meningitis and divest GSK`s Mencevax vaccine for bacterial meningitis worldwide,` the commission said.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015  20:22


World - EU presses on with anti-pollution law after Commission U-turn

By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union president Latvia will push ahead with a law to clamp down on air pollution after the European Commission`s plan to withdraw the proposals was rejected by many lawmakers. Air pollution from traffic and industry is responsible for about 400,000 premature deaths per year in the European Union, according to Commission data. An angry backlash from some member states and many in the European Parliament forced the issue back onto the agenda. `We are glad the Commission has decided to keep the NEC (National Emissions Ceiling) directive on the table,` said Alda Ozola, a deputy state secretary in the environment ministry of Latvia, which holds the rotating EU presidency until end-June.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015  13:42


World - EU executive ponders new airline data rules after Paris attacks

By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission is reviewing plans on sharing airline passenger data to address privacy concerns while still seeking to improve security following militant attacks in Paris. A system for sharing airline travel data among European Union countries put forward by the Commission in 2011 - known as Passenger Name Record (PNR) - has been resisted by lawmakers who argue it infringes privacy by instituting mass tracking and surveillance of all travelers. The Commission, the EU executive, proposes reducing the period airline passenger data is held before being stripped of its identifying elements from 30 days to seven days, according to the document seen by Reuters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015  13:24


World - 14 candidates to run against Bashir in Sudan election

Fourteen candidates have registered to run against Sudan`s Omar al-Bashir in a presidential vote in April, the country`s electoral commission said on Tuesday. `The electoral commission has received a total of 15 candidacies for the post of the president of the republic,` commission head Mokhtar al-Assam told reporters. The presidential vote is scheduled for April 13 and parliamentary elections will take place the same day. Incumbent Bashir, 71, has been in power for a quarter of a century and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015  18:16


Technology - Snapchat launches US superhero series

A big US phone company is commissioning YouTubers to create 12 episodes of a show called SnapperHero on Snapchat.

Thursday, January 29, 2015  22:58


Business - Uber adopts a no-commission approach to stay operational in New Delhi

The taxi-hailing app switches gears to remain operational in India, despite a ban on their main business due to an ongoing legal battle.>

Thursday, January 29, 2015  07:42


World - EU`s Katainen urges Greece to stick to reforms, signals some flexibility

European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen urged Greece`s new government on Friday to stick to the reforms agreed with international lenders, but signaled Athens could be offered more time to reach certain goals. `We expect them to fulfill all the commitments they have promised to do,` Katainen told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk in English, adding that the European Commission had to make sure all member states were treated equally and agreements were respected.

Friday, January 30, 2015  08:52


World - China to widen anti-graft inspections of armed forces

China`s powerful Central Military Commission will widen anti-graft inspections of the country`s armed forces, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, as part of Beijing`s sweeping campaign to weed out corruption. Serving and retired military officers have said corruption is endemic in China`s armed forces and could even endanger the country`s ability to wage war. Among the latest units to be targeted are the second artillery corps, which controls China`s nuclear missiles, the navy, air force and the paramilitary People`s Armed Police. Inspections by the powerful commission, chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, will target the military branches` Communist Party committees, Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said in a statement.

Thursday, January 29, 2015  09:30


World - EU set to add to sanctions blacklist over Ukraine

EU foreign ministers will add names to a blacklist of individuals sanctioned over the Ukraine crisis when they meet Thursday but stop short of new measures targeting Russia`s economy, sources said. The leaders of the 28 European Union nations issued a rare joint statement on Tuesday telling ministers `to consider any appropriate action` after a bloody upsurge in fighting around the key port city of Mariupol by pro-Russia rebels. Economic sanctions will not be approved at Thursday`s meeting but the foreign ministers are expected to ask the European Commission to draw up possible further steps so that leaders can make a decision at a summit on February 12, the sources said. `We will probably see a request for the European Commission to put more people on the list and evaluate the scope for further appropriate measures,` an EU source told AFP on condition of anonymity Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015  21:33


Business - EU says near deal with Washington on derivatives rules

The European Union and the United States are poised to accept each other`s rules on financial derivatives trading in a bid to prevent a global market that supports economic growth from fragmenting, a senior EU official said on Tuesday. Some of the U.S. rules would force some European banks to comply with American and EU rules, a costly undertaking. Olivier Guersent, a top official in the European Commission`s financial services unit, said the 18-month long talks became blocked until the arrival of Tim Massad as chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator last year. `The discussions are going fine and we are suddenly quite close to completing an agreement on this,` Guersent told the European Parliament`s economic affairs committee on Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015  18:16

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