Thursday, March 19, 2015

Today's Headlines

  • Ukraine Calls for New Peace Talks as Tusk Advocates EU Sanctions. Ukraine and Germany called for fresh talks about a cease-fire between government troops and rebels after Russia accused its neighbor of putting the peace deal at risk. European Union President Donald Tusk also urged members to extend sanctions against Russia until the end of the year. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in a phone call to initiate a meeting between their foreign ministers and those of France and Russia, following accusations from Russia that its neighbor was undermining the truce signed in Belarus’s capital last month. “If everything will be on the brink of collapse because the Minsk agreements aren’t being observed by one side of the conflict, then of course vigorous efforts will be needed at all levels,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.   
  • EU Leaders Urge Tsipras to Compromise as Time Runs Out. European Union leaders urged Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to find a compromise with Greece’s euro-area creditors, as France and Germany prepared for negotiations on the sidelines of Thursday’s summit in Brussels. Tsipras will meet later this evening with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Francois Hollande and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. Also present will be Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who leads the euro-area finance ministers’ group that is the more usual forum for deliberating Greece’s predicament.
  • Merkel Vows to Keep Euro Intact as She Dives Into Greek Standoff. (video) German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to keep the euro intact as the strain of keeping Greece afloat opened divisions among European Central Bank policy makers. Merkel will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a European Union summit in Brussels Thursday with work to prepare for more financial aid stalled and the ECB Governing Council fending off calls from its own banking supervisors to tighten the screws on the government in Athens. “If the euro fails, Europe fails,” Merkel told German lawmakers in Berlin before she traveled to Brussels, reprising an expression she adopted during the height of the debt crisis from 2010 to 2012.
  • The Company Securing Your Internet Has Close Ties to Russian Spies. (video) Kaspersky Lab has published reports on alleged electronic espionage by the U.S., Israel, and the U.K.—but it’s yet to look at Russia. Kaspersky Lab sells security software, including antivirus programs recommended by big-box stores and other U.S. PC retailers. The Moscow-based company ranks sixth in revenue among security-software makers, taking in $667 million in 2013, and is a favorite among Best Buy’s Geek Squad technicians and reviewers on Founder and Chief Executive Officer Eugene Kaspersky used to work for the KGB, and in 2007, one of the company’s Japanese ad campaigns used the slogan “A Specialist in Cryptography from KGB.”
  • European Stocks Rise to Highest Since 2000 After Fed Statement. European stocks climbed to their highest level since 2000, as the Federal Reserve acknowledged a moderation in economic growth, fueling speculation it won’t be in a rush to raise interest rates. All but two of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced, with energy companies leading gains. Royal Dutch Shell Plc rose 1 percent, while Premier Oil Plc added 8 percent, for the biggest increase on the equity benchmark. The Stoxx 600 increased 0.6 percent to 400.83 at the close of trading.
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