July 7th, 2011
09:47 PM GMT
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London (CNN) - The European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet continued his contortions around the eurozone crisis this week, while he juggled the demands of a two-speed economic bloc.

In this week’s closely watched press conference Trichet announced the bank will accept Portuguese sovereign bonds as collateral in return for loans, despite ratings agency Moody’s dumping them into junk category this week.

Trichet created this precedent when the ECB continued to accept Greek bonds in May last year, after they had been junked by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

Trichet’s move on Greek sovereign bonds was an economically expedient twist on the rules, which had previously dictated bonds had to have ratings of BBB -. That rating had, in turn, been dropped from the pre crisis requirements for an A- minus rating.
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July 7th, 2011
08:42 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – As the grave is dug for the world’s most widely read English newspaper, News of the World, focus is turning to how much of a role financial pragmatism played in its demise.

While the headline was its closure in response to the avalanche of hacking allegations, including accessing the phones of murder and terror attack victims, politicians and celebrities, the move could also prove a financial win for its parent, News Corporation.

Observers point to Rupert Murdoch, the brains behind the empire, and the bid to take full control of satellite television broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting or BSkyB. His son James's influence is also being felt: As chairman of News International, he closed the paper.

As investors absorbed news of the tabloid’s demise, focus quickly turning to its impact on News Corp.’s pitch for the 61% of BSkyB it doesn’t already own.

Collins Stewart estimates the News of the World’s closure will hurt News Corp.’s valuation by $0.25 a share. The Nasdaq listed stock is currently priced at just under $18. Collins Stewart analysts said in a note the move is: “an important sacrifice in an effort to reduce additional delay to the (BSkyB deal) approval process.”

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June 10th, 2011
07:22 PM GMT
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Brian Lenihan, the former Irish finance minster for Fianna Fail who Friday died of pancreatic cancer aged 52, played a pivotal role in the country's bailout, following its near economic collapse.

It was Lenihan who fronted the 2008 legislation that guaranteed full repayment of loans lent to the banks by private creditors. The guarantee was designed to create confidence and fend off a run on the banks, which were under pressure due to investments in overheated property deals.

And it was Lenihan who took center stage in navigating the country through last year’s bailout by its eurozone peers and the International Monetary Fund, the result of the country’s financial meltdown.

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April 14th, 2011
07:03 PM GMT
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The BP shareholders’ meeting, held in London Thursday, fell almost a year after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
The explosion killed 11 men, released the biggest oil spill in U.S.history and cost the company tens of billions of dollars.

The men were not forgotten, with the deaths prompting emotional exchanges between BP’s executives, including its new chief executive Bob Dudley, and shareholders.

At one point, an audience member read a letter from Keith Jones, the father of Gordon Jones who had died on the rig. The message to BP executives: “You were rolling the dice with my son's life, and you lost."

The meeting came the same day BP announced a last minute deadline extension for its $16 billion share swap deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft. The deal – which would allow exploration into Russia’s Arctic shelf – has been met with hefty resistance from shareholders in TNK-BP, BP’s Russian partner. The deadline has now been extended from Thursday to May 16, 2011.

And so BP’s troubles continue, with hopes the Rosneft deal might have signalled a new start now dashed.

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