Paw Print Rewind #005: April 23, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the Paw Print Rewind, a daily look at the top news headlines.

EU meets on migrant crisis

European Union foreign ministers gathered Monday in Luxembourg under pressure to produce more than words as bodies were brought ashore in Malta as hundreds are feared to have drowned in the latest Mediterranean migrant tragedy.

Hundreds of miles to the west of Sunday’s shipwreck off the Libyan coast, another vessel did the same off the Greece island of Rhodes Monday. At least three people were killed, according to Greek coast guards.

European officials are struggling to compose a policy that responds more humanely to an exodus of migrants traveling by sea from Africa and Asia to Europe, without encouraging more to leave.

These politicians face criticism from aid and human rights groups saying that they have abandoned those in need of help to pander to anti-immigrant sentiment among the electorates in their home countries.

“The reputation of Europe is at stake. I have been saying for weeks and months that Europe has to do more, now unfortunately the reality has hit us in the face.”

– Paolo Gentiloni, Italy foreign minister

However, there are differing views on what needs to be done, from ramping up search and rescue operations to trying to intervene in Libya, where most migrant boats depart from.

“I believe that the (European) focus should be what should be done in Libya to stop the boats.

“Unless something is done about Libya, these scenes will be repeating themselves.”

– Joseph Muscat, Malta prime minister

China detains gangs accused of smuggling 440K tons of oil

Chinese customs have detained members of two gangs involved in smuggling 440,000 tons of fuel using retooled fishing boats or vessels made to look like boats that carry out work to clean oil tankers, according to authorities.

Fuel smuggling has picked up since late last year after China raised consumption taxes sharply on a variety of oil products from diesel to fuel oil, widening the margins between domestic oil prices and supplies that evade the levies, according to traders.

The arrests were made earlier this month when authorities detained over 250 suspects from two gangs who attempted to smuggle in fuel worth $355 million in seven coastal provinces, according to a statement from the Chinese Customs Administration.

The operations involved the country’s top oil ports like Ningbo, Qingdao, Dalian, Xiamen and Shenzhen.

In one case, a gang with operations at multiple ports used vessels disguised as specialist oil tanker cleaners and bought bunker fuel to be sold on illegally.

China raised consumption taxes on fuel three times in six weeks between November last year and January. The tax on diesel and fuel oil rose 50 percent, creating a wide gap between suppliers priced on Asian spot markets and domestic products.

CEO: Yum’s China business mending, sees strong year-end finish

Yum Brands, owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, said that its China business is recovering from a meat scare at one of its minor suppliers and will finish the year strong.

“We will deliver full-year EPS growth of at least 10 percent, with a strong second half in China and solid brand-building initiatives under way at each of our divisions.”

– Greg Creed, Yum Brands CEO

Same-restaurant sales in China declined 12 percent from the latest quarter.

“Slowly but surely, it’s turning. It’s still a long way to go.”

– Jack Russo, Edward Jones analyst, on Yum’s China business

Yum Brands’ first-quarter net income fell over nine percent to $362 million (81 cents a share) from a year ago.

Foreign currency translation took $20 million out of operating profit during the latest quarter, when revenue decreased from $2.72 billion to $2.62 billion.

UK speed trader arrested in 2010 ‘flash crash’ role

Navinder Singh Sarao, 36, was arrested in London over his alleged role in the May 2010 “flash crash” that briefly wiped out $1 trillion in market value, the first time authorities have blamed manipulation for the event.

Sarao was criminally charged with wire fraud, commodities fraud and manipulation.

He allegedly used an automated program to generate large sell orders that pushed down prices. He then canceled those trades and bought the contracts at the lower prices to benefit when the market recovered, according to authorities.

“His conduct was at least significantly responsible for the order imbalance that in turn was one of the conditions that led to the flash crash.”

– Aitan Goelman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission head of enforcement

Teva makes $40 billion offer for rival Mylan

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries made an unsolicited $40 billion offer for smaller rival Mylan NV on Tuesday.

“If they raise their bid, they will have more Mylan shareholders pressuring management to come to the table.”

– Jeffrey Loo, S&P Capital IQ analyst

Mylan hasn’t responded publicly. The company is pursuing an unsolicited $29 billion bid for Perrigo, an over-the-counter medicine producer, to stave off Teva’s interest.

Perrigo hasn’t responded to that offer, saying it would consult its board.

The purchase would help Teva expand its offering of harder-to-produce medical products, according to the company.

The acquisition would create an entity with over $30 billion in annual revenue, add to earnings in the first year and eventually generate $2 billion in savings annually, according to Teva. They expect a transaction to possibly close by the end of the year and pledged a quick response to regulatory concerns.

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