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’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.
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 The same lenience was revoked from the Moscow National Bank of Business Development, which was ranked 223rd in Russian banking system as of April 1, 2014, in terms of size of assets.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”