World briefs from the Economist

  • Updated: September 16, 2013 - 7:37 PM
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FILE - A Monday, July 28, 2008 photo from files showing Eric Roden speaking on his cell phone as he walks past a Verizon store in Portland, Ore., Britain's Vodafone PLC, one of the world's largest mobile phone companies, confirmed Thursday that it was in discussions with Verizon Communications to sell its operations in the United States. The British wireless provider is mulling its options for its 45 percent stake in the U.S.'s Verizon Wireless, of which Verizon Communications owns the other 55 percent. Analysts have suggested that Verizon wants to pay around $100 billion for Vodafoneís stake, although reports have said that U.K. group is pressing for as much as $130 billion.(AP Photo/Don Ryan, File) ORG XMIT: MIN2013091117052345

Photo: Associated Press,

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Two huge aquifers holding 250 billion cubic meters of water have been discovered in the arid northern region of Kenya, according to a government spokesman. Boreholes are being tested and it is hoped the first water drawn from the aquifers will be available soon. Around 40 percent of Kenyans currently have little access to fresh water.

Four men were found guilty of the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi, the Indian capital. The attack on the 23-year-old woman last December sparked protests across India against official indifference to women’s rights and safety. The convicted men’s lawyers insist their clients were tortured and that some of their confessions were coerced. Prosecutors called for the death penalty.

The family of a former South Korean president, Chun Doo-hwan, vowed to pay back $150 million worth of corruptly obtained assets. Chun, now 82, was South Korea’s leader from 1979 to 1988, but in 1996 he was convicted of treason, corruption and mutiny. He was pardoned in 1997.

Mexico’s government presented a fiscal reform that would raise income and other taxes but, in a sop to opponents, would not extend VAT to food and medicine. The reform is aimed at increasing the tax take by about three percentage points of GDP, lessening the government’s dependence on oil revenue.

A parliamentary election in Norway saw a marked shift to the center-right. The incumbent Labor Party, headed by Jens Stoltenberg, the prime minister, won the most seats, but a surge of support for the Conservative Party will allow its leader, Erna Solberg, to head a coalition government in partnership with the right-wing Progress Party, which lost a handful of seats.

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