Financial
Japan has record deficit, lowers growth estimate PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer   
Monday, 10 March 2014 06:21

TOKYO (AP) — Japan racked up a record current account deficit in January, and lowered its growth estimate for the October-December quarter Monday in the latest sign of hardships for the world's third-largest economy.

Japan's current account deficit totaled 1.589 trillion yen ($15 billion), the biggest for January since comparable records began in 1985, according to the Finance Ministry.

The Cabinet Office revised its real gross domestic product growth to an annual pace of 0.7 percent, lower than its initial 1.0 percent. It said that both private and public demand was lower than it had estimated last month, including lower levels for private consumption and public investment.

The government has encouraged a weak yen to help exports, a boon to multinational companies such Toyota Motor Corp. But a cheap yen makes imports more expensive at a time when dependence on imported oil and natural gas has risen since the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

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Four nations urge U.S. gas exports amid Ukraine crisis PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press   
Sunday, 09 March 2014 06:32

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Central European nations are urging the United States to boost natural gas exports to Europe as a hedge against the possibility that Russia could cut off its supply of gas to Ukraine.

Ambassadors from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic made their appeal Friday in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. A similar letter was expected to be sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The letter from the four nations, known as the Visegrad Group, asks for Congress to support speedier approval of natural gas exports, noting that the "presence of U.S. natural gas would be much welcome in Central and Eastern Europe."

The ambassadors warn that the unrest in Ukraine has brought back Cold War memories and that energy security threatens the region's residents on a daily basis.

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United Rentals to acquire National Pump for $780M PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 10 March 2014 06:13

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — United Rentals says it's buying National Pump, the second-largest pump rental company in North America, for $780 million.

The deal will cost the Stamford, Conn.-based United Rentals $765 million in cash and $15 million in stock, plus up to $125 million more if certain financial targets are met. United Rentals will fund the deal with existing cash and an unspecified amount of new debt.

The purchase of the Beaumont, Texas, company is expected to close early next quarter.

National Pump rents equipment mainly to the oil, gas and petrochemical industries. It was founded in 2007.

United Rentals says it's the largest equipment rental company in the world. The company says the purchase is part of its strategy to expand specialty businesses.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
WikiLeaks' Assange talks NSA, hints at more leaks PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer   
Sunday, 09 March 2014 06:30

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Speaking over Skype from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said his living situation is a bit like prison — with a more lenient visitor policy.

He also hinted that new leaks are coming from WikiLeaks, though he gave no specifics on what these might be.

Assange, who has been confined to the embassy since June 2012, discussed government surveillance, journalism and the situation in Ukraine on Saturday in a streaming-video interview beamed to an audience of 3,500 attendees of the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

Assange's hourlong remote appearance was spiked with technical glitches. As the audio cut out, he sometimes asked audience members to raise their hands if they could hear him. Benjamin Palmer, the co-founder of marketing firm The Barbarian Group who interviewed Assange, at one point resorted to texting his questions.

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