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Europe to be united, strong if US raises more tariffs: France

PARIS: The United States can expect a strong and united response from Europe to any further tariff increases, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday, warning a trade war was already underway. “If tomorrow there is an increase in tariffs, like in the car industry, including on cars, our reaction should be united and strong to show that Europe is a united and sovereign power,” Le Maire said. “The question is no longer whether or not there will be a trade war, the war has already started,” he added,…

Brexit tangle raises prospect of Irish reunification

The wrangle over what will happen to the Irish border after Brexit has put the previously unthinkable possibility of reunification of the island of Ireland firmly on the political agenda. Support for staying in the European Union is increasing in Northern Ireland as the Brexit negotiations falter, according to a study released this month by Queen's University Belfast. The poll of more than 1,000 residents of Northern Ireland also found 47 percent supported holding a referendum, although only 21 percent said they would…

IMF raises Saudi Arabian growth prospects over high oil prices

DUBAI: The International Monetary Fund on Monday raised its growth projection for the deficit-hit Saudi economy on the back of higher oil prices but retained its estimates for the region. In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF said the Saudi economy — which shrank 0.7 percent last year — is expected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2018, up 0.5 percent on its October estimates. The Saudi economy is also projected to grow by 2.2 percent next year, up 0.6 percent on the previous estimate, it said. The IMF however…

Tech firm raises $118 million in virtual coin offer to fund blockchain phone

Technology firm Sirin Labs said on Thursday it had raised $118 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to support the development of an open source blockchain smartphone. ICOs allow startups founded on cryptocurrency technologies such as blockchain to quickly raise capital by issuing virtual tokens to investors. Such offerings have become more common in the past year, but Europe’s top markets regulator warned last month they were “extremely risky and highly speculative investments.” Read More: The SEC just issued a…

Uber raises Hong Kong fares amid legal tangles

HONG KONG: Uber Technologies said it raised its Hong Kong minimum fares on Monday by as much as 80 percent following a review. The San Francisco-based technology company, which recently suspended its services for the second time in the neighboring Chinese city of Macau, told Reuters the price rises would benefit drivers as they pocketed most of the fares. Starting on Monday, minimum fees for UberX and UberASSIST rides would rise by up to 80 percent to HK$45 (US$5.75). A ride with the pricier UberBLACK would start at…

Saudi Arabia raises $9 bn in first global Islamic bond issue

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia raised $9 billion in its first global Islamic bond issue, the government announced on Thursday, a move analysts say could ease pressure on foreign reserves. The sale of Islamic bonds, known as sukuks, comes after the kingdom in October turned to the conventional global debt market for the first time, raising $17.5 billion in a bond issue. Saudi Arabia has also sold domestic bonds and drawn on its accumulated reserves, all in an effort to reform the economy and address budget deficits caused by a…

Sherry Rehman raises questions over controversies, validity of census

KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman on Friday raised questions over a number of controversies arising from unresolved issues related to the census which is currently underway. “The census has dangerous shortfalls that need to be addressed immediately. As much as it is the government’s constitutional duty to conduct a census, key deficits and designed flaws in the exercise put it in the eye of a huge potential storm,” she said in a statement. She said the government had failed to address the most…