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NEW DELHI India’s government said on Tuesday it was prepared to launch an inquiry into lobbying by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., buckling under an opposition campaign to discredit a flagship economic policy that allows foreign supermarkets to trade in Asia’s third largest economy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pressed ahead with the policy despite fierce political opposition, arguing that foreign capital and expertise is needed to revive the flagging economy and modernize India’s food supply chain. Opposition uproar over the issue has repeatedly caused parliament to be adjourned in recent weeks and derailed efforts to pass more reforms to bring investment [...]

TEL AVIV There is a one in three chance that a future Greek government might decide to exit the euro zone, Standard and Poor’s EMEA ratings chief said on Monday. However, such a move would have extremely negative consequences and would likely deter other countries from following suit, he said. Moritz Kraemer, head of sovereign ratings at S&P for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said Greece would not leave the euro zone under its current government and even if it did exit at some future date the euro zone was unlikely to break up. “While we acknowledge that [...]

BRUSSELS The next president of the Eurogroup, the monthly meeting of euro zone finance ministers, should be a head of government, Austria’s Finance Minister Maria Fekter said on Tuesday. The committee is one of the most powerful in the EU and has taken or prepared some of the most important decisions in the debt crisis over the past three years. Jean-Claude Juncker, who has headed the Eurogroup since 2005, confirmed on Monday that he will step down at the end of this year. Juncker is Luxembourg’s prime minister as well as its treasury minister, giving him particular clout in discussions. [...]

PARIS An imminent shake-up of EADS is expected to lead to a rise in state shareholdings in Europe’s largest aerospace group, but in reality merely changes the rules for what is already a wary co-habitation. Officials were putting finishing touches on Sunday to a deal to bring Germany on board with 12 percent of the maker of Airbus jets and Ariane rockets, at parity with France. The move paves the way for an exit by founder companies Daimler , the German carmaker, and French media firm Lagardere , increasingly viewed as state proxies. Germany has not been a shareholder until [...]

The U.S. government banned BP Plc from new federal contracts on Wednesday over its “lack of business integrity” in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a move that could imperil the British energy giant’s U.S. footing. The suspension, announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, comes on the heels of BP’s November 15 agreement with the U.S. government to plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP agreed to pay $ 4.5 billion in penalties, including a record $ 1.256 billion criminal fine. BP and its affiliates are [...]

NEW: Trade association: “BP has done everything that the federal government has asked”Two years after the oil spill, experts weigh in on possible punishments for BP BP says it expects the temporary ban will be lifted soonThe EPA says the oil giant showed a “lack of business integrity” Remember when oil giant BP paid billions of dollars to clean up its own mess from the 2010 Gulf oil spill?Then the company agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay an unprecedented $ 4 billion fine for the spill.In the latest development, Wednesday, BP was essentially told to stand in [...]

The U.S. government temporarily banned BP Plc from federal contracts on Wednesday over its “lack of business integrity” in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, a move that the British company had said could force it to rethink its entire U.S. operations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the suspension was “standard practice” following criminal actions. Earlier this month, BP plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and agreed to pay record penalties of $ 4.5 billion. The suspension means that BP will not be able to secure [...]

PARIS The French government has found an industrialist willing to invest 400 million euros to renovate ArcelorMittal’s Florange steelworks in northeast France, a minister said on Wednesday. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told lawmakers that the interested party was a private investor from the steel industry who wanted to inject money into the site with the financial backing of the French state. France has raised the prospect of the site being taken temporarily into state hands if no sale agreement is reached. “(The party) “is ready to invest nearly 400 million euros ($ 517 million) to renovate this site,” Montebourg told [...]

The British oil company BP Plc and its affiliates have been suspended from new contracts with the U.S. government due to the criminal charges in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday. Earlier this month, BP plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and agreed to pay record penalties of $ 4.5 billion. The temporary contract suspension stems from those charges, the EPA said. “Federal executive branch agencies take these actions to ensure the integrity of federal programs by conducting business [...]

TOKYO Japan will downgrade its assessment of the economy in a monthly report due at the end of the week, government sources told Reuters on Wednesday, as the global economic slowdown pushes the country to the brink of recession. That would mark the fourth consecutive month of downgrades, the longest since the aftermath of the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers. The weakening outlook increases the pressure on the government and the Bank of Japan to bolster the economy and could make some lawmakers reluctant to follow through with a plan to raise the sales tax next year. The [...]

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