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23 января, 12:32

Russia to build full-fledged naval base in Syria

On Jan. 20 Moscow and Damascus signed a 49-year old agreement to modernize the repair and docking facility in the Syrian port of Tartus. Upon the agreement’s expiration, a 25-year extension will be automatic unless one side informs the other a year in advance of any desired changes. Russia’s Northern Fleet to keep presence in Mediterranean Sea in 2017 The Tartus naval repair facility was built by the Soviet government in 1977, and it’s the only Russian naval facility in the Mediterranean Sea. Experts say that Moscow earned the right to a base in Tartus as remuneration from Damascus for its assistance in the war against the Islamic State and other extremist terror groups supported by the Gulf Arab states and the U.S. Major construction Until recently, the Tartus facility was nothing but a floating pontoon for rudimentary ship repair. According to the new agreement, Russia will build a full-fledged base at Tartus and have the right to deploy up to 11 ships in the area. "We’re beginning major construction of military infrastructure - a wharf, barracks, headquarters, ammunition storage, and etc.," said a retired Colonel Mikhail Khodorenok, a military observer at the online publication, Gazeta.ru. "Tartus will turn into a naval base headed by a fleet vice admiral." Khodorenok added that it would take two to three years to build the base. The number of servicemen stationed there will depend on the number of ships deployed in Tartus, and it’s highly unlikely that 11 ships will be docked in the region at the same time. Instead, most likely about five ships will be based in Tartus on a regular basis, while visiting ships will appear from time to time. "Today, there is no serious threat to Russia that requires Moscow to deploy a large naval group in the Mediterranean," said Vadim Kozyulin, a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences. Anyway, Russia doesn’t have such a large amount of naval hardware immediately available." How Russia, Iran and Turkey see the future of post-war Syria "Ships that are part of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier group will be stationed at the base, and most likely these will be ships from the Black Sea and Northern Fleets - large landing, patrol and anti-submarine ships," said Kozyulin, adding that he believes the nuclear cruiser Peter the Great and the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will require additional infrastructure. "Tartus is one of the pillars of Russian influence in the Middle East, and no one knows how events will develop in the Middle East, in the world, and in Russia in the future," said Gevorg Mirzayan, an associate professor at the department of political sciences at the Financial University  under the Government of the Russian Federation. "Russia needs to be present not only in the Black Sea, which NATO can close at any moment, but also in the Mediterranean Sea." Russia offsets Iran Mirzayan said Russia is the bedrock of Syria’s security because the country’s neighbors still want to undermine Damascus. "Syria needs Russia to counterbalance Iran because Teheran will want to have leverage and put pressure on Syria," explained Mirzayan. "This is why Damascus is interested in our strong presence in the region. For Bashar Assad this means long-term investment in the future and the possibility to obtain a strong ally for many years to come." Read more: Agreement: Russia may station 11 warships at Syria’s Tartus base>>>

16 января, 13:17

The absurd logic behind Mexico's gasoline price hike

Mexico is in a political crisis again. The sudden announcement of a 15-20% hike in gasoline prices has triggered protests, blockades and general social unrest at a scale not seen since late 2014 when the president, Enrique Peña Nieto, was saddled by the back to back blows of the Ayotzinapa kidnappings and "Casa Blanca" scandal. That it happens at the beginning of what is shaping up to be an extremely complicated year is even more troubling. Already the economy is showing signs of a deepening slowdown and inflation is creeping up. Most worryingly, however, is that the fallout from Trump's electoral victory is starting to be felt even before he has taken office, as evidenced by the decision of US carmaker Ford to cancel a $1.6 billion investment in Mexico. Be it by threats or fiscal incentives, it is likely that more will follow. Popular opposition to the gasoline price hike partly obeys personal economic logic. Mexico is an extremely car-dependant society and given low wages, the cost of gasoline is an important component of the consumer goods basket. Gasoline prices in Mexico have traditionally been regulated by the government and until 2015, were gradually raised on a monthly basis (known colloquially as the gasolinazos) through the Impuesto Especial sobre Productos y Servicios (IEPS) a "special" tax on certain goods including fuel. However, liberalization of gasoline prices was one of the pillars of the vaunted energy reform in order to align domestic prices with global ones. Peña Nieto himself in 2015 promised that there would be no more gasolinazos thanks to the energy reform, a promise that has now been widely mocked on social media. That consumers will face not only this price hike but the natural rise in market prices from February onward (which will possibly mean a liter of gas 30% more expensive by year end), plus the inevitable inflation that will follow adds insult to injury. Cheap gasoline or cheap tax income? The IEPS was originally established in 1980 as a package of sin taxes set on cigarettes, alcohol, gambling among others, and most recently expanded to include junk food. Gasoline and diesel was also included, both as a sort of Pigovian tax (to compensate the negative externalities of excessive vehicle use) as well as a price smoothing mechanism. Conceivably, when oil prices would spike the IEPS on fuel would automatically transform into a subsidy but it would take a quarter century before prices rose to a level where this was the case: it was only in 2006 when intake from the IEPS on fuel would be negative, that is, when it became a subsidy. The subsidy was biggest in 2008 when oil prices reached record highs: it accounted for around 1.8% of GDP, quite an astronomical amount considering total non-oil tax intake that year was a paltry 8.1% of GDP. It remained negative (aside from a brief and minuscule return to surplus in 2009) until 2014 when oil prices once against slumped. By 2015 it was a tax again, bringing in 1.2% of GDP. Just in the first ten months of 2016, the IEPS has brought in 1.4%. Source: SHCP (2016 is January-October). Blue is tax, red is subsidy. Critics of the government's policy of regulated gasoline and diesel prices due to the wasteful (and regressive) subsidy that has resulted over the past decade has forgotten that throughout most of the IEPS's life, it was not a subsidy; it was a tax. And that as a price smoothing mechanism it performed exactly as it was supposed to, helping Mexican consumers pay below-market prices to compensate paying above-market prices while oil prices were low. Throughout the whole of its 36 year existence, the IEPS has provided a net 23.3% of GDP to the public coffers, equivalent to nearly three years of tax intake - quite a significant amount. The government's claim that Mexican consumers have been spoiled by low gasoline prices when in fact it has been the main beneficiary of the IEPS is disingenuous. Mexican gasoline is not competitive One of the government's recurrent arguments against the IEPS, as a subsidy, has been that Mexican gasoline prices are low by global averages. While Mexican prices are noticeably higher than the US as well as most other major oil producers, it is well below European prices as well as that of most non-oil producers. Even with the latest price hike into account, Mexicans pay 84 cents per liter, below the global average of around a dollar. Finance minister José Antonio Meade in his defense of the price hike claimed that Mexican prices were still "among the most competitive" on this basis. But contrary to his claim, Mexicans do pay considerably more when adjusting for income. According to Bloomberg, fuel costs amount to nearly 3.4% of the average Mexican's real income, almost double that of the average American and over four times that of the average Swiss. It tied with South Africa for the highest share among the 60 countries surveyed. As for actually being competitive, there's a reason nearly 70% of Mexican gasoline is imported from the US, given the country's modest refining capacity (less than a tenth of the US) and inefficient distribution network. Source: Bloomberg. Are Mexicans to blame for being so gasoline dependent? Car usage is certainly an aspirational phenomenon not just in Mexico but among most developing economies. However, urbanization is arguably the single most important factor influencing car usage here; Mexican cities are simply not designed for mass transit. Even Mexico City, the city with the most developed public transport network in the country, the extensive Metro system does not have a single stop in many of the city's dispersed business districts and accessing some like Santa Fé (Mexico City's version of Canary Wharf in London or La Defense in Paris) is all but impossible without a car. The Metrobus, a rapid bus system, has helped plug some gaps but neglect of the normal bus network means that it suffers from overcrowding. Indeed the normal bus network cannot be described in any other term than woeful. It is composed primarily of microbuses, operated as individual concessions with no central authority. Most of the microbuses are in an appalling state and suffer from frequent mass muggings, with the routes outside the city limits in the Estado de Mexico particularly dangerous. With this in mind, can anyone blame the middle and upper classes (and a good part of the working class too) for what they can to avoid public transportation? Was there really no alternative? In a press conference defending the move, Peña Nieto claimed that the gasoline price hike was the only alternative to raise resources; the only other option would have been to reduce social spending. Governments frequently need to make difficult and unpopular decisions, particularly when it comes to taxation. But the macroeconomic imperative to enact such a move appears puzzling, particularly at the beginning of such a critical year and with public approval of the government at rock bottom. Mexico is not facing a budgetary crisis, at least according to the government's own fiscal estimates. Tax revenue has consistently overshot estimates since the fiscal reform was implemented in 2014, oil prices are forecast to rise slightly, and the economy is not in recessionary territory even though nobody expects 2017 will be a bountiful year even by the current administration's underwhelming track record. It follows that either the government grossly underestimated the social discontent that a gasoline price hike could have had and therefore assumed it would be an easy way to raise extra cash without incurring debt; or it genuinely fears a major shortfall in 2017. If the latter case is true, then the government was prepared to assume the political cost of such a policy even when there's a key election later in the year (in the PRI bastion of the Estado de México, Mexico's most populated state) and even when the man announcing the policy, finance minister José Antonio Meade, is a possible presidential hopeful for 2018. The implicit assumption of this scenario is also that the government believes the economy is much weaker than it's ready to admit. Between the two scenarios, the first is the most likely one. And the key factor is debt. The Peña Nieto administration has had a disappointing fiscal track record, consistently running up deficits of over 3%, and swelling the debt stock to over 50% of GDP, having inherited it at less than 38%. This rise in the debt stock has also consistently overshot estimates: every single budgetary fiscal forecast since Peña Nieto took office has assumed that the following year would be the last before debt levels would begin easing (and the 2017 budget is no exception). For a time, the government was able to brush off criticism of its debt policy through the promise of the structural reforms. But with the economic slowdown now in its fourth year, and its fiscal credibility showing cracks, the government likely fears the game is up. Few economists will believe fiscal consolidation is a realistic prospect unless there is a cushion of extra revenue to finance this year's budget (which envisages eliminating the primary deficit) without significantly raising the debt stock. The gasolinazo therefore appears to be a last resort to avoid that which the government most fears: a credit ratings downgrade. It should count itself lucky that one has not taken place yet; both Moody's and Standard & Poor's put Mexico on negative watch in 2016. At the EIU we've long believed that Mexico's fiscal and macroeconomic fundamentals do not support its current credit rating (The Economist Intelligence Unit's country risk service downgraded Mexico as early as 2015), nor did they justify the country's upgrade by all three major agencies back in 2013-14 as a result of the euphoria over the structural reforms. A downgrade is long overdue. Given the administration's hyper-sensitivity to negative foreign perceptions (particularly form investors), one can only imagine the panic in the halls of Los Pinos that will ensue when the downgrade comes. The impact on 2018 Could Mexico have obtained these revenues in any other way? Perhaps not. Another year of austerity could have been an option but again, electoral considerations could be coming into play and the PRI may not be willing to shut the tap on spending. But the decision to risk such an unpopular move as well as a refusal to back down even when realizing the scale of public objection is telling of the lack of sensitivity - if not outright contempt - that this administration has had on public opinion under the belief that eventually, all political crises in Mexico fizzle out (as was the case back in 2014). Indeed the PRI went on to have a strong showing in the 2015 mid-terms which goes to show that arriving unelectable to the 2018 presidential election is not a foregone conclusion post-gasolinazo. But with the economy looking weaker and Trump now also in the equation, the odds of another six years in power are increasingly remote. The thought on Peña Nieto's mind will be whether defending a credit rating was worth it. Follow the author on Twitter @raguileramx -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

09 января, 11:39

Tube strike: major disruption follows official end of London action – live updates

A 24-hour strike on London Underground has created major travel disruption in the capital and gridlocked streets 8.03pm GMT Many people are still struggling to get home now, two hours after the strike officially ended 7.41pm GMT London Underground and the rail unions said they were prepared to resume talks later this week over safe staffing levels on the tube, after a day in which millions of commuters were affected by a strike across the network on Monday. Reps from the TSSA union, who represent station staff, are meeting on Wednesday and talks could resume afterwards. Although unions have an ongoing mandate from a ballot in the autumn, allowing them to call further strikes in coming weeks, further industrial action is not expected, sources indicated. Continue reading...

05 января, 08:01

US ports prime themselves for expected uptick in petchem exports

The world’s second-largest petrochemical port in Houston may command 75% of all US polyethylene exports, but expected growth in international shipments as a slew of new ethane crackers and associated derivative units start coming online this year has US ports a thousand miles or more away gearing up to nab a piece of the action. […] The post US ports prime themselves for expected uptick in petchem exports appeared first on The Barrel Blog.

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21 декабря 2016, 02:11

London's Most Central and Civilised Airport is a Well-Kept Travel Secret

City Airport in London On every frequent flier's wish list; an easy commute, stream-lined security clearance and a short check-in. City Airport is a 13 minute taxi ride from Canary Wharf (although I’ve done it in 10) while the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) takes under 20 minutes to get from Bank [...]

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06 декабря 2016, 19:46

Barclays сдаст помещения в аренду на 15 лет британскому правительству

Британский банк Barclays Plc предоставит в аренду офисные площади в финансовом районе Лондона Canary Wharf правительству страны, сообщает Bloomberg. Как следует из заявления компании на официальном сайте, кабинет министров арендует около ...

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06 декабря 2016, 17:06

UK government leases Canary Wharf offices from Barclays

The UK government agrees a deal to sublet a Barclays office in London's Canary Wharf for about 5,700 civil servants.

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05 декабря 2016, 08:54

Cars without drivers scoot around Nissan plant, towing cars

Nissan Motor Co. is testing self-driving cars at one of its plants in Japan that can tow vehicles on a trailer to the wharf for loading on transport ships.

22 ноября 2016, 13:18

Amazon Prime New Releases Coming in December 2016

Amazon Prime is adding more movies and TV shows to its streaming collection this month. Here are all of the Prime new releases coming in December.

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21 октября 2016, 17:06

UK police arrest teenager on terrorism offences over item found on London train

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Friday they had arrested a teenager under terrorism laws following the discovery of a "suspicious item" on a London underground train near the Canary Wharf financial district a day earlier.

11 октября 2016, 22:44

Alcoa (AA) Misses Q3 Earnings, Sales Estimates; Shares Tank

Alcoa's (AA) third-quarter adjusted earnings and revenues missed the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

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04 октября 2016, 19:01

Wharf sells telecom business

Hong Kong tycoon Peter Woo’s Wharf Holdings Ltd has agreed to sell its telecom business to a consortium of TPG Capital Management LP and MBK Partners for HK$9.5 billion (US$1.22 billion), a person familiar

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23 сентября 2016, 13:59

Рынки акций Азии не продемонстрировали единой динамики в пятницу

Фондовые индексы Азиатско-Тихоокеанского региона завершили торги в пятницу без единой динамики, участники рынка фиксируют прибыль после бурного ралли. В итоге сводный фондовый индекс региона MSCI Asia Pacific, снизившийся в пятницу на 0,2%, сократил подъем за неделю до 3,6%.

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11 сентября 2016, 20:11

Moment Thames ferry crashes into Canary Wharf pier

A 300-tonne passenger boat with 151 people on board crashed into a pier on the Thames in London after its engine caught fire.

07 сентября 2016, 16:36

BLM Protest At London Airport Calls Out Environmental Inequality

Air passengers in Britain and beyond faced delays on Tuesday after a “Black Lives Matter” protest on a runway halted flights for six hours at London City Airport and a computer glitch hit British Airways in London and the United States. More than 120 flights were canceled, delayed or diverted at City, a few miles east of the Canary Wharf financial district, after nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway. Police said late on Tuesday morning they had arrested all nine and the airline was preparing to resume flights. British Airways said it was taking longer than normal to process customers at a number of airports around the world, including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, and urged passengers to check in online before they reached the airport. The airline, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, apologized to customers. “Really unhappy with @British_Airways “The system is down” & can’t check in!,” one passenger, Shail, said on Twitter. Analysts at Royal Bank of Canada said the delays - the second problem with the service this year - could damage the airline’s reputation after passengers took to social media to complain about delays in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Atlanta on Monday night. British Airways has been rolling out a new check-in system since last year and a spokeswoman said the check-in delays were teething problems that affected many airports. Shares in BA’s owner rose 1.5 percent, apparently unaffected by its airline’s computer troubles. At City Airport, the protesters earlier erected two large posters with the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis.” The British arm of the group, which started in the United States as a reaction to fatal shootings of black people by police, said it wanted to highlight Britain’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally. Members blocked a main road to London’s Heathrow Airport in August. “Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis,” the group said in a statement. “When black people in Britain are 28 percent more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts, we know that environmental inequality is a racist crisis.” The campaign group said City airport was designed for the wealthy while those who lived near the site struggled on low salaries. Police said the protesters were now in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, being unlawfully airside and breaching London City Airport bylaws. (Additional reporting by Sarah Young and Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Raissa Kasolowsky) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

06 сентября 2016, 12:54

British Airways Tech Glitch, London City Airport Protest Spark Global Delays

LONDON (Reuters) - Air passengers suffered lengthy delays in Britain after a computer glitch hit British Airways check-ins and Black Lives Matter protesters forced their way on to the runway of London City Airport on Tuesday. More than 120 flights were canceled, delayed or diverted at City, a few miles east of the Canary Wharf financial district, after nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway. Police said late on Tuesday morning they had arrested all nine and the airline was preparing to resume flights. British Airways said it was taking longer than normal to process customers at a number of airports, including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, but did not comment on reports there had also been hold-ups in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Atlanta on Monday night. “Really unhappy with @British_Airways “The system is down” & can’t checkin!,” said one passenger, Shail, on Twitter. BA, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, apologised to customers and urged passengers to check in online before they reached the airport. Analysts at RBC said the hold-ups ― the second problem with the service this year ― could damage the airline’s reputation. Shares in BA’s owner rose 1 percent. At London City Airport, a few miles east of the Canary Wharf financial district, flights to and from its European destinations were delayed after nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway. A photograph circulating on Twitter showed the protesters surrounded by police and lying under a wooden tripod. They had erected two large posters with the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis”. The British arm of the group, which started in the United States as a reaction to fatal shootings of black people by white U.S. police officers, said it wanted to highlight Britain’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally. “Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis,” the group said in a statement. “When black people in Britain are 28 percent more likely to be exposed to air pollution than their white counterparts, we know that environmental inequality is a racist crisis.” The campaign group, which blocked a main road to London’s Heathrow Airport in August, said City airport was designed for the wealthy while those who lived near the site struggled on low salaries. Police said they were negotiating with the protesters. “We are awaiting the arrival of specialist resources that are able to ‘unlock’ the protesters,” the force added in a statement. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

04 сентября 2016, 19:10

Despite Brexit, is UK property a safe bet?

DESPITE this summer’s UK plebiscite to exit the European Union, London remains a popular destination for real estate investors from around the world. Its attributes are a competitive economy, good education

04 сентября 2016, 19:10

The Only Chance to Take Up the Sky of London

IN 2014, Global Fortune 500 Greenland Group took the Hertsmere land plot located in the core of London Canary Wharf, which is planned to develop into the only residential scheme of Central Canary Wharf

17 декабря 2013, 16:50

Непарадный Лондон 1973 года

Очень многие привыкли произносить слово "Лондон" с придыханием: мировой центр финансовой мощи и международных интриг,  излюбленное место миллиардеров, шик особняков и роллс-ройсов, легендарная английская стильность и всё такое прочее. Город действительно прекрасный и неповторимый, это подтвердит почти всякий, кому довелось в нём пожить или хотя бы просто побывать. Поэтому довольно странно разглядывать фотографии 1970-х, на которых неотрыточные виды  города кажутся почти такими же удручающими, как облетевшие весь Интернет жуткие кадры нью-йоркской разрухи тех же 70-х. Но всё таки содержание лондонских снимков 1970-х несколько иное: здесь мы видим в основном массовый снос старой и полностью деградировашей застройки, на смену которой приходя громады современных жилкомплексов и башни офисных высоток. Мы видим город, который умирает, чтобы возродиться уже в новом обличии. И это было только начало. Настоящий строительный бум придёт в 1980-е при Тэтчер, когда от исторической застройки Лондона не останется камня на камне. То, что не смогли сделать немецкие бомбы и ракеты, сделали неумолимвые законы капитализма.  Moorhouse Rd mage hosted on flickr  Westbourne Park 1974 image hosted on flickr  St. Stephens Crescent image hosted on flickr  St. Stephens Gardens image hosted on flickr  image hosted on flickr  Demolition Westbourne Park Rd  Wapping image hosted on flickr  Shoreditch image hosted on flickr  Wapping image hosted on flickr  Ledbury Rd image hosted on flickr  Thames from Wapping image hosted on flickr  Milwall at express Wharf image hosted on flickr  Westbourne Park image hosted on flickr  west from Milwall image hosted on flickr  Tower Hamlets i image hosted on flickr  Whitechapel Новые доминанты  в силуэте города, это только начало: image hosted on flickr  Tower Bridge 1973 image hosted on flickr  Stephen and Matilda Houses Wapping image hosted on flickr  image hosted on flickr  Whitechapel image hosted on flickr  Looking from Westbourne Park image hosted on flickr  St. John's Church and school Wapping image hosted on flickr  View towards central London from Brunel Estate image hosted on flickr  Cheshire St. Sunday Market image hosted on flickr  image hosted on flickr  All photos: JB [email protected] http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanbarker/ Источник