BRUSSELS, December 18 -- Belgian Prime minister Charles Michel lost his majority after a clash with the right-wing N-VA party over the UN Migration Pact.
A dispute in Belgium's center-right government about the UN Migration Pact ended with the Flemish nationalists of N-VA leaving the ruling coalition. Prime Minister Charles Michel was left with a minority cabinet, but still went to Marrakesh to ratify the UN pact with the support of the Parliament. According to the opposition, he should face a vote of confidence in the Parliament, and if this happens he will probably lose. Constitutional experts are divided about the situation. Michel is trying to save his government and avoid a national election five months earlier than scheduled.
But considering how antagonistic the N-VA has become towards its former coalition partners, every scenario is possible.
ATLANTA, December 18 -- The Coca-Cola Company has announced an agreement extending a loan to Ioniqa Technologies, a startup company based in the Netherlands.
The agreement is expected to accelerate the scaleup of Ioniqa’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling technology. PET is widely used to produce plastic packaging but is hard to recycle and only around 20% of the material is recycled. The remaining amount is incinerated, sent to landfills, or leaks into the natural environment. Ioniqa has developed a proprietary technology that can convert PET-containing waste into purified polymer building blocks that can be reformed into high-quality PET. Earlier this year Unilever partnered up with Ioniqa and Indorama Ventures, the largest producer of PET resin, to scaleup the technology.
The new agreement is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of the recycling technology and enable the recycled PET to be used in bottles used by The Coca-Cola Company.
Coca-Cola’s investment supports its global vision, a World Without Waste. The holistic plan includes a goal to create packaging made of at least 50% recycled material by 2030. Ioniqa’s technology supports a circular economy for plastics. A circular economy is one in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible. This technology will allow packaging, such as PET bottles, that may have been excluded from certain recycling streams to be recycled into food-grade quality packaging. Robert Long, chief innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company, said: “Our investment in new and pioneering recycling technologies is an opportunity for significant movement toward closing the loop and creating a circular economy for PET.” He added that the company plans “to continue investment in developing the right partnerships and initiatives – like with Ioniqa – to support our vision of a World Without Waste.”
Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO of Ioniqa, said: “Partnering with The Coca-Cola Company is a further validation of our journey to launch this unique process for transforming hard-to-recycle PET waste into high-quality, food-grade material.” Ioniqa’s technology has been validated at demonstration scale and a 10,000 t/y industrial plant is under construction in the Netherlands. Commissioning is expected in 2019.
The fundamental problem of the French presidency has been unexpectedly highlighted by Emmanuel Macron’s response to the Gilets Jaunes. Florence Aubenas, writing in Le Monde, noted that in her visits to ronds-points where protesters were gathered, no politician’s name other than Macron was mentioned. Hence it was only to be expected that their demands would be met by a declaration from the president himself. He delivered a great deal in his televised speech, more than most observers expected he would. But he delivered it on his own, without consultation with the legislature, leaders of his own or other parties, or even, it seems, with the relevant ministries. The practical problems of fulfilling his promises have become apparent only after the fact. For example, the expedient mechanism for increasing take-home pay at the bottom of the income scale–adding to the activity bonus–will leave out many people earning the minimum wage, perhaps justifiably because their spouses are earning more, but perhaps not. Nobody really knows because nobody has investigated the consequences of a measure decided unilaterally, by fiat, by the president. The same goes for the elimination of the CSG on pensions. For administrative reasons, it seems that it can’t be put in place as quickly as the president promised.
The president of the Republic has, when he chooses to invoke them, such unchecked autocratic powers that he can easily promise more than he can deliver, undermining his own credibility. The hasty–dare one say panicky–response to the crisis illustrates the flaw of this autocratic executive model. If Macron wants to get at the root of the crisis, he should impose checks and balances on himself and discipline himself to consult with both public and civil society institutions before acting. This crisis demonstrates the utter failure of France’s intermediary bodies, which must be rebuilt effectively and quickly. And that does not mean giving in to demands for a so-called RIC, or citizen initiative referendum–an idea that will only make an already disastrous situation even worse.
Guest author: Art Goldhammer
AMSTERDAM, December 18 -- Dutch energy company Eneco will be privatised via an auction next year, the company and its shareholders said on Tuesday.
The decision marks the end of a heated battle between the 53 municipalities that own Eneco and the company’s board. The shareholders voted by a large majority to sell the company in October last year, but the board said it would prefer a stock market listing or partial sale that would ensure continuity as a renewables-oriented company. The dispute led to the dismissal of both the company’s CEO and chairman as well as an investigation into board decisions.
The decision to opt for an auction, however, was finally supported by all parties, spokesman Edwin van der Haar said, with a final decision on the sale expected by the end of next year. Eneco, estimated by analysts to be worth about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), is heavily invested in sustainable energy projects and could appeal to energy companies that want to increase exposure to renewable energy production. ($1 = 0.8798 euros)
LOS ANGELES, December 18 -- On Dec. 21, AT&T will start offering the first mobile 5G device over a commercial, standards-based mobile 5G network.
While the initial launch starts small and will be limited, as the 5G ecosystem evolves AT&T promises that the company's customers will see enhancements in coverage, speeds and devices. "This is the first taste of the mobile 5G era," said Andre Fuetsch, president, AT&T Labs and chief technology officer. "Being first, you can expect us to evolve very quickly. It's early on the 5G journey and we're ready to learn fast and continually iterate in the months ahead." AT&T's standards-based mobile 5G network is live today in parts of 12 cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, N.C., San Antonio and Waco, Texas.
In the first half of 2019, the company plans to deploy mobile 5G in parts of these 7 additional cities: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif. Early adopters will be the first to experience the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot on AT&T's mobile 5G+ network. 5G+ is built to provide a mobile 5G experience over mmWave spectrum, offering users a faster mobile experience than standard LTE. 5G+ will start out in dense urban areas, but if you're outside of 5G+ network coverage you'll be able to access AT&T's 5G in 385 markets on the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot.
Through an initial offer, AT&T will deliver select businesses and consumers its first mobile 5G device plus 5G data usage at no cost for at least 90 days. Next spring, AT&T's customers will be able to get the Nighthawk for $499 upfront and 15GB of data for $70 a month on a compatible plan and no annual commitment.
MOSCOW, December 18 -- The Russian Navy will take the delivery of 12 warships and combat boats, two submarines and four Bal and Bastion coastal defense systems in 2019.
efense Minister Sergei Shoigu said this at the ministry’s year-end board meeting attended by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. "A total of 12 warships and combat boats, two submarines and 12 support vessels will enter service with the Navy. Four Bal and Bastion coastal defense systems will be delivered to the troops. As a whole, the task is to raise the share of modern weaponry in the Navy to 64%," the defense chief said.
The Bastion mobile coastal defense missile system with the standardized Yakhont (Oniks) supersonic homing anti-ship cruise missile is designed to strike surface ships of various classes and types from amphibious assault formations, convoys, naval and carrier strike groups, and also sole warships and ground radiocontrast targets amid intensive fire and jamming.
The Bal mobile coastal defense missile complex with the Kh-35 anti-ship missile is designed to control territorial waters and straits, defend naval bases, other coastal facilities and infrastructure, and also defend the coastline in the areas vulnerable to amphibious assaults. The system can be used in any weather conditions, day and night with the fully autonomous guidance after the launch amid an enemy’s fire and jamming. The system can strike targets at a range of 120km with the Kh-35 missile and 260km with the Kh-35U missile.
PARIS,December 18 -- France has said it will impose its own tax on large internet and technology companies from January 1.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said at a news conference in Paris on Monday that the measure would be introduced "whatever happens". "It will be for the whole of 2019 for an amount that we estimate at 500 million euros [$570 million]," he said. Monday's move could help Paris close a multibillion-euro hole in the 2019 budget left by President Emmanuel Macron's new measures for low-income families, which were introduced last week to appease the "yellow vest" protesters. France has long been pushing hard for a so-called "GAFA tax" - named after Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - to ensure the global giants pay a fair share of taxes on their massive business operations in the European Union. The low tax rates paid by the US tech giants in the EU has repeatedly caused anger among voters in many European countries, but the 28-member bloc is divided on how to tackle the issue.
NEW YORK, December 18 -- Oil prices fell more than 4 per cent on Tuesday as planned production curbs by global producers.
Led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, producers failed to allay concerns about renewed oversupply stoked by swelling US shale output. Fears about weaker oil demand amid a potential slowdown in the global economy have also added to worries about how effective the supply cuts will be. The fall in oil prices comes amid a broader sell-off in the global equities market due to persistent worries centred on how the US-China trade spat could hit economic growth. Prices“Prices are continuing to nose-dive,” said Carsten Fritsch at Commerzbank. “The effect of the announced production cuts after Opec’s meeting [earlier this month] has evaporated entirely.”
International benchmark Brent crude fell $1.70 (€1.50) a barrel to $57.91 in mid-morning trading in London, having fallen as low as $57.20 – marking the third consecutive day of declines.
West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, fell $1.51 a barrel to $48.37, the lowest level since September, 2017.
Global producers have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day (b/d) to halt a more than 30 per cent slide in oil prices, since hitting $86 a barrel in October. The move came in defiance of US president Donald Trump who had called for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to keep output elevated and prices low. But record output from Saudi Arabia above 10 million b/d since July coincided with news that the US would issue waivers to buyers of Iranian oil – at the same time as imposing sanctions against Tehran’s economy – allowing more oil than anticipated on to the market.
Still, Iranian output and exports have fallen sharply this year and other producers such as Venezuela have seen a slide in their supplies because of turmoil in their countries. Production and exports from Libya’s largest oilfield, El Sharara, have also been halted due to security issues. Still, this has not been enough to help firm up oil prices as hoped by global producers, which largely rely on revenues from crude exports to support their economies. Data from the US energy department showed that the US has surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer, with overall crude production climbing to a weekly record of 11.7 million b/d.
This has fuelled doubts about the effectiveness of the supply curbs and raised questions among traders and analysts about how long Opec and its allies will be willing to trim its supplies to benefit US rivals. Market participants are also questioning how much Russia will pull back on its production, after also hitting a record level above 11.4 million b/d in December. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018
The announcement was made on Twitter, albeit still using the Racing Point Force India account name.
It is unclear what exactly will be unveiled in Montreal, but the accompanying picture of a car under wraps suggests that it could mean more than just the new name and livery. Indeed, with pre-season testing not getting underway until February 18, and money clearly no object at this stage, it could well be that the Silverstone-based outfit uses the occasion to unveil its car, name and livery.
Interestingly, the wrap covering the car is not the pink of Force India sponsor BWT but red, red and white being the national colours of Canada. Speaking earlier this month, team boss Otmar Szafnauer, though refusing to say if the team name will be changed, admitted that on a personal level he very much hopes so. The drivers next season will be Mexican Sergio Perez and Canadian Lance Stroll. Last week, Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene announced that the Italian team's car will be unveiled on February 15.
BEIJING, December 18 -- President Xi Jinping warned on Tuesday that no one can "dictate" China's economic development path as the Communist Party marked 40 years of its historic "reform and opening up" policy amid a stern challenge from the United States.
In a speech at the grandiose Great Hall of the People, Xi vowed to press ahead with economic reforms but made clear that Beijing will not deviate from its one-party system or take orders from any other country. "The great banner of socialism has always been flying high over the Chinese land," Xi told the party faithful. "The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest advantage of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics," he said. The commemoration of the reforms enacted under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping on December 18, 1978, came as China is locked in diplomatic spats and a bruising trade war with the United States.
The rivals have agreed to a 90-day truce as they seek to negotiate a solution, with the United States seeking a reduction in its massive trade deficit as well as deeper reforms in China to stop the alleged theft of intellectual property. Without directly referring to the United States, Xi said China "poses no threat" to any country but warned that it would not be pushed around.
"No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done," Xi said.
"We must resolutely reform what should and can be changed, we must resolutely not reform what shouldn't and can't be changed."
While Xi promised more reforms, he did not offer any specifics. The United States and Europe have long complained of lingering obstacles to fully entering China's massive market while Chinese companies enjoy the benefits of open Western economies abroad. The reforms pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and turned China into the world's second biggest economy. But it is currently facing a debt mountain and a slowing economy, which grew by 6.9 percent last year and is expected by the government to slow to around 6.5 percent this year.
One of the top authors of The Peet Journal is Pete McGea. As a native born Scotsman, Pete
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