World Bulletin/News Desk
The BRICS, the group of fast-growing emerging markets, meets for the first time on African soil in the South African city of Durban. At their fifth summit, they are to discuss the setup of a development bank to overhaul the global financial system.
BRICS emerging powers sought a deal on setting up a development bank that would rival Western-backed institutions, trying to iron out significant differences ahead of a leaders' summit in Durban.
The grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and hosts South Africa are racing to elaborate on proposals for an infrastructure-focused lender that would challenge seven decades of dominance by the World Bank.
The umbrella theme for the two-day summit is called “BRICS and Africa - Partnership for integration and Industrialization."
Economic data shows that the grouping of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa now account for 25 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of the world's population.
The major outcome of this year’s summit is expected to be the announcement of the formation of the BRICS Development Bank (BDB). Originally proposed as an institution at last year’s New Delhi summit, the organization’s “strategic goal is to transform the aging international financial architecture,” Mikhail Margelov, President Putin’s envoy to Africa was quoted by Bloomberg.
If the leaders succeed it would be the first time since the inaugural BRICS summit four years ago that the group matches rhetorical demands for a more equitable global order with concrete steps.
That would send a loud message to the US and European nations that the current global balance of power is unworkable.
Diplomats say it could start with $10bn seed money from each country, but the exact role of the bank is up for debate, according to Al Jazeera.
China, Brazil sign deal to trade in own currencies
Meanwhile, BRICS members China and Brazil agreed on Tuesday to trade in their own currencies the equivalent of up to $30 billion per year, moving to take almost half of their trade exchanges out of the U.S. dollar zone.
The agreement, due to last three years and signed hours before the start of a BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, marked a step by the two largest economies of the emerging powers group to make real changes to global trade flows long dominated by the United States and Europe.
"Our interest is not to establish new relations with China, but to expand relations to be used in the case of turbulence in financial markets," Brazilian Central Bank Governor Alexandre Tombini told reporters after the signing.
Trade between the two countries totalled around $75 billion in 2012. Brazilian officials have said they hope to have the trade and currency deal operating in the second half of 2013.
At the summit, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are widely expected to endorse plans to create a joint foreign exchange reserves pool. They are also due to discuss trade and investment relations with Africa.
The move away from the U.S. dollar is yet another reaction to Western sanctions placed on Russia since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.
Norwegian oil company Statoil and Shell won an exploration license in the southeastern part of Algeria.
Under EU rules, if the Commission's suspicion that the tax treatment amounted to illegal state aid is proven, the company could be forced to pay that money back to the Irish government.
The court ordered searches of all known offices and residences of the former first lady and Congresswoman Imelda Marcos in Manila and Ilocos Norte in a bid to recover the works of art.
British energy expert Nick Butler said Israel should use its gas reserves domestically as it cannot compete with other markets.
After several rounds of talks brokered by the European Union, Moscow and Kiev reported progress at a meeting last week in Berlin.
The company's stock price has regained some of its recent losses but a European Union investigation could spell trouble for the tech giant.
U.S. planes are flying about 60 reconnaissance sorties per day, and some 1,600 U.S. troops are being deployed in Iraq.
"There are good reasons to continue the energy partnership with Russia," she said and noted that within the European Union different countries had different levels of dependency on supplies
Osborne said he would clamp down on technology companies which "go to extraordinary lengths to pay little or no tax here" as part of his plans to fix the budget shortfall.
Union wants Lufthansa to maintain a scheme that allows pilots to retire early at the age of 55 and still receive up to 60 percent of their pay
The pilots decided to end the strike without reaching an agreement with the French airline even though talks resumed
Ozkan Yorgancioglu, prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, said Israel's gas should be sent to Europe via Turkey and Cyprus
Rosneft and U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil have found huge oil reserves in the Kara Sea region
Cy Tokmakjian sentenced to 15 years in prison for bribery and other economic charges in a case his company
Exxon and Rosneft signed a $3.2 billion agreement in 2011 to develop the region.