Mon, Mar 23, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Spanish protest austerity

Thousands of people took part in a “march for dignity” in Madrid on Saturday to protest against austerity measures on the eve of a closely watched regional election in southern Spain. Yesterday’s vote in Andalusia, one of the poorest parts of the country, is seen as a test of the national mood ahead of Spain’s most unpredictable general elections in decades. The demonstrators were voicing their discontent with the painful austerity policies that have led the government to cut billions of euros from spending between 2012 and last year. Education, public health and social benefits have all been affected. Spain saw growth of 1.4 percent last year but after an economic crisis that lasted six years, the economy remains battered with an unemployment rate of 23.7 percent. Half of all young people between the ages of 16 and 25 are without jobs.


Protests blame goverment

Tens of thousands of people marched on Saturday in one of the biggest anti-government rallies of recent years, blaming the authorities for an economic crisis and worsening crime. The former Soviet republic has been battered by a plunge in the Russian ruble and the conflict in Ukraine. Lower exports and remittances are also contributing to a rising current account deficit. A fall of nearly 30 percent in the lari over the past year has hurt many people, especially those with US dollar loans. Protesters, led by activists and leaders of the opposition United National Movement, marched down Tbilisi’s main avenue waving the national flag as well as the EU flag and holding posters saying “resign.”


Citigroup fires trader

Citigroup Inc fired a trader on Friday for allegedly mismarking an inflation-options book and dismissed his boss for lax oversight, according to a person familiar with the matter. Carl Bonde lost his job in New York after the bank determined he had inflated the value of his trading positions by less than US$30 million, the person said. Keith Price, head of US inflation trading, was dismissed for his failure to supervise Bonde, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a personnel matter. Bonde, a director, and Price, a managing director, left the bank this week, Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said in a telephone interview. Price reported to Citigroup managing director Roland Wikstrom.


GSK in UK talks to sell drug

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) said it wants to wrap up negotiations with the British Department of Health over the cost of its meningitis B vaccine so the medicine can be distributed in Britain.

The UK’s biggest drugmaker is engaged in “active discussions” with the government, GSK spokeswoman Catherine Hartley said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. British Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt told the BBC earlier that he had spoken with GSK chief executive officer Andrew Witty in the past week and hopes to strike a deal “soon.” GSK, based in Brentford, England, acquired the Bexsero vaccine from Swiss drug maker Novartis AG last year. It has been approved for use in the US and Europe, yet disagreement over the price per dose has prevented a widespread rollout in Britain. Bexsero’s list price is £75 (US$112) a dose, and Hunt told the BBC on Saturday “the right price is around £5 a dose.” About 1,700 people a year in the UK contract meningitis B, which kills one in 10 people affected.

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