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April 24, 2014 14:38
President of Russia, attending the plenary meeting of the First Media Forum of independent regional and local mass media, held by the all-Russia People's Front in St.Petersburg, April 24, 2014 (AFP Photo / Sergey Guneev)
Sanctions 'not effective' in modern world - Putin
Sanctions against Russia will backfire and actually benefit the economy, President Vladimir Putin has said. His comments follow US President Obama’s threat that the White House has prepared a third round of sanctions. 7
Reuters / Robert Galbraith Apple deflects criticism, stuns with Q2 results
Technology giant Apple reported an impressive $10.2 billion net profit in the second fiscal quarter of 2014, defying skepticism the company would struggle in the absence of new products. BRICS sales led the growth. 6
The LNG carrier, a tank ship designed for transporting liquefied natural gas, "Arctic Voyager" is setting for sail in the port of Rotterdam, Netherlands (AFP Photo) Netherlands to become net gas importer in 10 years – IEA
Europe’s second largest gas producer, the Netherlands, could shift from exporter to importer within a decade, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). The study suggests seeking alternative energy sources in nuclear, unconventional fuels or renewables. 2
A woman hangs a blanket out to dry at Alfama neighbourhood in Lisbon (Reuters / Rafael Marchante)
Portugal poised to exit bailout program, austerity battle scars remain
Europe’s western-most country is poised to exit its 78 billion euro ($108 billion) international bailout program, which officially ends May 17. While politicians remain positive, the economy still exhibits deep wounds left from austerity policies. 10

Business snaps

Russia ready for gas talks with EU, Ukraine officials in Moscow  

The Russian Energy Ministry has said a meeting on the Ukraine gas problem could take place on Monday in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported. The proposal followed a letter from the EU's top energy official, Guenther Oettinger. “We sent a letter to Oettinger proposing to hold the talks in Moscow on April 28,” a spokesperson for the Russian Energy Ministry told Reuters. Meanwhile, Oettinger is expected to meet with Ukrainian and Slovakian ministers in Bratislava on Thursday to seek a deal on shipping gas to Ukraine via Slovakia.

Facebook revenue grows 72% in 1st quarter  

Facebook’s mobile advertising business continued to accelerate in the first three months of the year, Reuters reported. The company said that mobile ads represented 59 percent of its ad revenue in the first quarter, up from 30 percent in the year-ago period. Facebook’s overall revenue grew 72 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion in the first three months. The advertising business helped the Internet social networking company top Wall Street’s revenue target, and shares of Facebook were up nearly 3 percent at $63.05 in after-hours trading Wednesday.

Russian CB revokes 2 more bank licenses 

The Central Bank of Russia has revoked licenses from two more Russian banks, ITAR-TASS reports. Moscow bank Mestny Kredit lost its license for banking transactions as of Thursday. The same lenience was revoked from the Moscow National Bank of Business Development, which was ranked 223rd in Russian banking system as of April 1, 2014, in terms of size of assets. The CB said the decision was taken over non-fulfillment of federal laws regulating banking activity and regulatory acts by the lending organization.

China Deputy Premier says Beijing to expand economic ties with Iran  

Chinese Deputy Premier Zhang Gaoli has said Beijing is keen to enhance its economic ties with Iran, the Tehran Times reported. Zhang met with Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia in Beijing and called Iran a strategic partner of China, according to the Mehr News Agency. The two states signed an agreement on February 23, finalizing a roadmap to double bilateral trade over the course of three years.

Clothing retailer Primark to open first US stores 

Budget clothing retailer Primark is to open its first US stores towards the end of 2015, beginning with a 70,000sq-ft shop in Boston in Massachusetts, the BBC reported. Negotiations are continuing to open more shops in the north-east of the US by the middle of 2016. Primark has more than 250 shops in Europe, and has grown rapidly over the past 10 years.

GM asks US court to bar ignition lawsuits 

General Motors has asked a US court to bar a series of lawsuits relating to its recall of cars over faulty ignition switches, the BBC reported. Although the recall was issued earlier this year, GM has admitted some employees knew about the problem as early as 2004. The faulty switches could turn off the engine, disabling the cars’ airbags. They have been linked by critics to at least a dozen deaths. GM wants the court to ban cases “alleging purely economic damages” due to the recall, and it does not affect cases relating to accidents or injury.

EU suspends sanctions against 15 more Russian officials – report 

The EU is ready to hit 15 more Russian officials with sanctions but has suspended the move, the Wall Street Journal said. On April 14 the 28-nation bloc reportedly agreed in principle to expand the list of Russian officials targeted by an EU asset freeze and travel ban. After the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU agreed last Thursday in Geneva on steps to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis, the bloc held off expanding the sanctions list, the paper said, adding that the EU is ready to review the situation “soon.”

AFP Photo / Damien Meyer Russia says Visa, Mastercard should pay 'security fees' for possible disruptions
International payment systems such as Visa and Mastercard should start sharing their income with Russia to shield the country against future possible disruption, said Natalya Burykina, head of the financial markets committee of the State Duma. 30
Arkady Rotenberg (RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov) Sanctioned Rotenberg brothers stop Gazprom pipeline sales
Russian businessmen Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who were hit with US sanctions after Crimea joined Russia, will stop selling pipelines to Gazprom, the country’s largest gas producer. 5
A Chinese guest poses for a photo by a Tesla "supercharger" on a car handover ceremony in Shanghai as American electric carmaker Tesla Motors delivers their Model S cars to its first buyers in China on April 23, 2014. (AFP Photo) Tesla delivers first electric cars to China
Tesla Motors has finally made its first delivery of new all-electric and zero emission sedans to customers in China, after receiving the first orders in August last year. 6
Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev) Sanctions will make Russia stronger - Medvedev
Western-led sanctions will not deliver a fatal blow to Russia’s economy and may actually bring benefits, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday, adding Russians won’t be caught in the political crossfire in Ukraine. 209
The Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Barents Sea.(RIA Novosti / Igor Podgornyi) ​Arctic crude becomes new Russia's oil blend
Gazprom has unveiled the new Arctic crude blend called ARCO. It comes from the Arctic field in North-West Russia. The oil will cost less than the main Russian export Urals blend, as it’s quality is lower. 25
Pavel Durov (image from Ex-CEO of ‘Russian Facebook’: ​‘I’m out of Russia and have no plans to go back’
Pavel Durov the former CEO of the leading Russian social network VKontakte (VK) says he has left Russia for good and now intends to develop a new mobile social network. 33


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