World Bulletin/News Desk
British Prime Minister David Cameron had oil and sports on his mind when he visited Brazil this week seeking business opportunities in the South American nation that overtook Britain last year to become the world's No. 6 economy.
With the European Union in a slump, Cameron has turned to emerging BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China - as alternative markets for British exports and investments, with little to show so far.
With executives from 45 leading British companies in tow, Cameron met on Friday with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who invited British businesses to invest in Brazil oil and gas, defense, mining and financial services industries.
"I think we can do a lot better," Rousseff said of growing but still negligible trade and investment flows between the two countries.
Rousseff said British interest in Brazil had come at the right time after her government announced last month a $66 billion investment in road and railway building as part of a massive plan to upgrade her country's dilapidated infrastructure, which includes modernizing ports and airports.
Following the success of the London Olympics this summer, Rousseff said Brazil was seeking British cooperation to prepare for the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics Games.
Cameron said British companies had signed more than $161 million in deals during his two-day visit, with another $400 million in potential contracts for companies that can help Brazil get ready for the two global sporting events it will host.
Earlier on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, accompanied by British companies hoping for a slice of Brazil's enormous energy potential, Cameron met with Maria das Gracas Foster, the president of Brazil's largest company, the state-led Petrobras .
Foster laid out the oil company's $236 billion investment plan for the next five years to develop Brazil's sub-salt off-shore oil reserves and become one of the world's top producers.
"We have an enormous potential in the oil and gas field, an enormous challenge, and we are open for business for the British industry in oil equipment and services," Foster told them.
Cameron visited the industrial state Sao Paulo on Thursday to open a new $100 million factory by Britain's JCB to make backhoes and excavating equipment.
"If you can't beat them, join them," he said in a speech to businessmen, urging a greater British partnership with Brazil.
Dollar strength and waning investor confidence are driving the lira lower
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Syria expels three United Nations aid workers hindering aid development in the country
Russia has overcome a "psychological barrier" and is ready to deepen its economic ties with China, Deputy Prime MinisterArkady Dvorkovich said
With Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.
The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects that Chinahas invested in, including a $1.5 billion "port city" project in Colombo.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic invited Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn for talks
Gazprom and Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz have accused each other of not sticking to agreements on gas supplies.
The new canal, that will allow two-way traffic of larger ships, is supposed to increase revenues by 2023 to $13 billion.
A day after euro zone finance ministers agreed to a four-month extension of a financial rescue, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis gave a frank assessment of Greece's financial position.
The agreement is the culmination of talks that began in September after the government decided its own solutions to its fiscal crisis were failing to convince investors.
Energy union highlights bloc's attempt to seek independency from its main gas supplier - Russia.
Merkel's right-left coalition is set to prevail, despite vocal pockets of resistance on the right and left.
Republicans passed the bill to increase pressure on Obama to approve the pipeline, a move the president said would bypass a State Department process that will determine whether the project is in the U.S. national interest.