Business  December 21, 2014
France braces for major doctors' strike at Christmas
Starting Tuesday, some French medical professionals will close shop in protest of a new health bill that will allow pharmacists, instead of doctors, to vaccinate patientsFrance is bracing for a major strike over the Christmas period by overworked doctors, including casualty staff and specialists unhappy about a new health bill.Emergency room doctors are due to kick off the protest Monday, demanding their work week be reduced to 48 hours, compared to around 60 currently, and better overtime pay.But the stoppage is n...  Full Story
Belarus blocks sites, closes stores to stem currency panic
Customers look at laptops in a shop in the Russian town of Klintsy, near the border with Belarus, on December 20, 2014Belarus blocked online stores and news websites Sunday, in an apparent attempt to stop a run on banks and shops as people rushed to secure their savings.The Belarussian currency was dragged down by the slide of the Russian ruble last week, leading authorities to impose draconian measures, forbid price increases even for imported goods, and warn peo...  Full Story
Gulf oil producers stand firm on OPEC output
United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy Suhail al-Mazrouei arrives at the Hotel Bristol on November 25, 2014 prior to the start of the 166th OPEC Meeting in Vienna, AustriaOil-rich Arab Gulf countries stood firm against non-OPEC crude producers on Sunday, vowing they will not cut output nor hold an emergency cartel meeting to support slumping prices.OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said they would not cut production even if non-OPEC members reduce their output, while the United Arab Emirates and Iraq shrugged off...  Full Story
China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding: report
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun shows a new Xiaomi smartphone at in Beijing on September 5, 2013China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.Dow Jones Newswires, citing a person familiar with the issue, said the latest round of funding could close as soon as Monday.It was being led by tech investment fund A...  Full Story
No oil output reduction even if others cut: Saudi, Kuwait
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided last month to maintain its production unchanged at 30 million barrels per day, which led to a slump in oil pricesThe Saudi and Kuwaiti oil ministers said Sunday that their countries would not cut oil production even if non-OPEC members reduce their output to shore up sagging oil prices."No... I think it's too late now," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters when asked whether OPEC would cut its output if non-OPEC producers were to lower their own."If...  Full Story
In rural Russia, plunge of the ruble still a remote concern
In a myriad of Russian villages like Voskresenskoye, pictured, the monetary turmoil roiling the nationIn a myriad of villages like Voskresenskoye, nestled deep in the Russian countryside, the monetary turmoil roiling the nation's large cities still seems a largely distant threat."This crisis is for the rich, for people who have dollars. We never had money here," said Tamara Boychenko, a 68-year-old retired resident of the village located in northwe...  Full Story
For Russia's economy, the worst is yet to come
People look at items in a mall in central Moscow on December 15, 2014Deep recession, skyrocketing prices and a fragile banking system: although the ruble seems to have stabilised after its abysmal drop this past week, Russia still faces the heavy consequences of the turbulence.For most Russians, the week ended with relief: after trading at unbelievable levels of 80 to the dollar and 100 to the euro, the ruble appear...  Full Story
Spared the butcher's knife, horses get new lease of life in Italy
Tony Gerardi of "Save the Working Horse" project leads horses saved from the slaughterhouse during training at his ranch, on December 16, 2014 in Vigone near TurinConsidered taboo in many parts of the world, eating horsemeat remains sufficiently widespread in Italy for the country to have to import live animals destined for the slaughterhouse.And contrary to popular perception, not all are tired old specimens on their last legs, according to a horse-loving couple based in the country village of Vigone near T...  Full Story