UPDATE 2-Iran to use 20% of state budget to fight coronavirus

(Releads with budget allocations to coronavirus fight) DUBAI, March 28 () – Iran is to allocate 20% of its annual state budget to fighting the coronavirus outbreak in the country, one of the worst-hit in the world, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday. Iran’s death toll from coronavirus rose to 2,517 on Saturday, with 139 […]

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UPDATE 1-Magnitude 5.8 quake hits Indonesia

(Adds details) JAKARTA, March 28 () – A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Indonesia on Saturday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said here, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The quake’s epicentre was 105 kilometres (65 miles)south of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, and 40 km (25 miles) below the earth’s […]

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Earthquake of magnitude 5.8 hits Indonesia – EMSC

() – A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Indonesia on Saturday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Center said here The quake’s epicenter was 105 km south of Palu and was 40 km below the earth’s surface. Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne Our Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.

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UPDATE 2-Taliban refuses to talk to new Afghan government negotiators

KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan () – The Taliban declined on Saturday to begin talks with the Afghan government’s new negotiating team in a setback to the U.S.-brokered peace process for one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. FILE PHOTO: Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani arrives to his inauguration as president, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. /Mohammad Ismail/File Photo […]

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UPDATE 1-Taliban says will not negotiate with team announced by Afghan government

(Adds context, quotes from Taliban statement) By Abdul Qadir Sediqi and Jibran Ahmad KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan, March 28 () – The Taliban refused to negotiate with the team announced by the Afghan government, the militant group’s spokesman said on Saturday, in a potential setback to the next steps of the U.S.-brokered peace process. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid […]

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Taliban says will not negotiate with team announced by Afghan government

KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan, March 28 () – The Taliban will refuse to negotiate with the team announced by the Afghan government, the militant group’s spokesman said on Saturday, in a potential setback to the next steps of the U.S.-brokered peace process. Spokesman Zabuhullah Mujahid said the group would not negotiate with the team as it was […]

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UPDATE 1-S&P cuts DAMAC’s rating, puts Emaar Properties, Emaar Malls on creditwatch

(Adds details) DUBAI, March 28 () – S&P Global Ratings has downgraded Dubai’s DAMAC Properties to B from B+ and placed the BBB-(minus) ratings of Emaar Properties and Emaar Malls on creditwatch with negative implications, the ratings agency said in a statement. It also lowered its outlook on DIFC Investments, a unit of the company […]

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UPDATE 2-Merkel thanks compliant Germans, shutdown to continue until at least April 20

(Adds minister warns against free riders of rescue package) FRANKFURT, March 28 () – Germans have been largely complying with rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, as confirmed cases in the country continued to rise and her chief of staff said the shutdown would not be eased before […]

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UPDATE 1-S&P cuts Oman rating deeper into junk, trims Bahrain’s outlook

(Adds Bahrain, oil outlook) DUBAI, March 28 () – Rating agency S&P has lowered crude producer Oman’s sovereign ratings deeper into junk territory, citing external challenges, and changed the outlook for Bahrain’s ratings to stable from positive due to the country’s dependence on oil revenue. The changes came after S&P recently cut its forecast the […]

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UPDATE 3-Fitch cuts UK’s rating on coronavirus debt surge

* Fitch cuts UK sovereign rating to AA- * Single-notch downgrade reflects likely jump in debt * Ratings agency says government stimulus necessary * But debt likely to peak at above 100% of GDP * Fitch leaves negative outlook on UK rating (Adds reaction from UK Treasury) By William Schomberg and Aditi Sebastian LONDON/BENGALURU, India, […]

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UPDATE 1-SoftBank-backed OneWeb files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan, cuts jobs

() – OneWeb, the satellite operator backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to pursue a sale of its business and has cut its workforce amid the coronavirus outbreak. OneWeb is in negotiations for debtor-in-possession financing, which if acquired and approved by the court will support its […]

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UPDATE 1-Canada’s top lenders cut prime rates after central bank’s surprise move

(Adds BMO, CIBC prime rate cuts) TORONTO, March 27 () – Canada’s top lenders lowered their prime rates by 50 basis points on Friday, hours after the central bank unexpectedly cut its key interest rate to help the county weather the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of […]

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UPDATE 5-Trump tells GM: Stop ‘wasting time’, build ventilators to address coronavirus

WASHINGTON/DETROIT () – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday invoked emergency powers to require General Motors Co (GM.N) to build much-needed ventilators for coronavirus patients after he accused the largest U.S. automaker of “wasting time” during negotiations. Trump, who has been on the defensive for not moving faster to compel the production of medical equipment, […]

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Ginnie Mae working to extend help to mortgage servicers amid coronavirus crisis

March 27 () – A top U.S. housing regulator is planning on providing assistance to mortgage servicers bracing for a wave of missed mortgage payments as the coronavirus puts homeowners out of work. Ginnie Mae, the government-owned issuer of mortgage-backed securities, wrote in a blog post here on Friday it will pay bondholders in those […]

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IMF says global output to contract in 2020, exploring financing options

WASHINGTON, March 27 () – The coronavirus pandemic will cause global economic output to contract in 2020, top officials of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday, adding that an “exceptionally high number of countries” need IMF emergency financing. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and International Monetary and Financial Committee Chair Lesetja Kganyago said in […]

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UPDATE 2-Mexico poised to provide Pemex with ‘extraordinary support’ -S&P

(Recasts first sentence with details on Pemex support, adds comments by S&P analyst, oil industry details) MEXICO CITY, March 27 () – Mexico’s government will likely prop up state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) due to its vulnerability to low crude prices as coronavirus erodes demand, S&P Global Ratings said Friday, a day after it […]

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UPDATE 1-Brazil central bank calls for emergency bond-buying powers

(Adds draft constitutional amendment) By Jamie McGeever and Marcela Ayres BRASILIA, March 27 () – Brazil’s central bank on Friday called for emergency powers to buy bonds to stabilize financial markets during the coronavirus outbreak, with a draft constitutional amendment seen by giving the ability to buy “public or private financial assets.” The central bank […]

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UPDATE 2-U.S. regulators give banks relief on accounting standard, derivatives rule

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. /Leah Millis/File Photo WASHINGTON () – U.S. banking regulators announced Friday that banks would have the option of ignoring the capital implications of a new global accounting standard for two years in a bid to ensure banks continue […]

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UPDATE 3-ECB tells euro zone banks to skip payouts as virus hits economy

LONDON/FRANKFURT () – The European Central Bank told euro zone banks on Friday to skip dividend payments and share buybacks until October at the earliest and use their profits to support the economy as it is hit by the coronavirus pandemic. FILE PHOTO: The skyline with its financial district is photographed in Frankfurt, Germany, March […]

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Abu Dhabi crown prince, Syrian president discuss coronavirus

CAIRO () – Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad discussed the coronavirus pandemic over the phone on Friday, a statement from United Arab Emirates’ news agency reported. The statement added that both leaders discussed the precautionary measures taken in their countries to face this pandemic, adding that […]

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UK watchdog asks bankers why can’t they stay at home

LONDON, March 27 () – Banks should think hard before designating a staff as “key workers” who can still send their children to school during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday. The FCA issued extra guidance for banks and other financial firms it regulates for deciding who can be designated a […]

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