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tv   Business Briefing  BBC News  October 23, 2018 5:30am-5:46am BST

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this is the business briefing. i'm sally bundock. the us treasury secretary flies in as investors fly out. steve mnuchin meets saudi arabia's crown prince despite business leaders shunning a major investment conference. would you pay your taxes to a country that has no terittory or passports but tries to do good in the world? and on the markets: saudi arabia was supposed to be celebrating its vision for the future and its potential for investment today. but the murder ofjournalist jamal khashoggi has changed all that. when a major investment conference starts injust under an hour there will be more of a focus on which of the world's business leaders aren't there than are there.
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they were supposed to be hearing about saudi's public investment fund which currently has assets of about $230 billion and its plans to transform the kingdom's economy and invest around the world. the us is regarded as a key trading partner and strategic ally — and so far washington has done little that could dent a trade relationship worth more than $35 billion last year. treasury secretary steven mnuchin even met crown prince mohammed bin salman in riyadh on monday. but mr mnuchin will no longer be speaking at the investment conference. the chief executives of uber, hsbc and blackrock are among the many to have pulled out of it amid concerns over mr khashoggi's death. meanwhile foreign investors pulled about $1.1bn out of saudi arabian shares last week.
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that's more than any other week since the stock market was opened to them in 2015. many governments are coming under pressure to reassess their trade ties with saudi arabia including the uk which is the kingdom's second biggest supplier of weapons but the foreign secretary says more clarity is needed. we have an important strategic partnership with saudi arabia involving defence and security cooperation which has saved lives on the streets of britain. we also have a trading partnership that supports thousands of jobs. but a trading partnership that supports thousands ofjobs. but while we want to be thoughtful and consider it our response i have also been clear that if the stories we are reading turn out to be true they are fundamentally incompatible with our values and we will act accordingly. stuart thomson is head of public affairs at the law firm bircham dyson bell. thank you for being with us. how
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much do you think the saudis will be bothered by these business leaders pulling out of the conference? will they be concerned or do they think others will take the opportunities? they will be concerned. nothing is worth for your reputation and business leaders pulling out of your conference but they know that if they explain things clearly, as they are yet, and if political leaders continue to keep trade links open than in the long—term there will not be much to worry about. that is how they seem to be playing it at the moment. speaking about reputation, thatis moment. speaking about reputation, that is what some of these businesses will have in mind as well as the moral stand that they feel they have to take. there is the damage that could be done to big ra nt damage that could be done to big rant names being seen to not take seriously enough what is potentially a very horrendous killing. by all of
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them coming out of the conference at them coming out of the conference at the same time they have safety in numbers. if it werejust the same time they have safety in numbers. if it were just one or two than they could he seemed to be leading on the boycott, if you like, if they will come out together they have some safety. the trouble is that that action needs to be taken over a period of time. so what will it do? will they couplings? reduce investment? what will they do? that will tell us whether this boycott is real and if it has any long—term effect. and yet we have seen the us treasury secretary, although he will not need speaking at the conference, he has gone ahead to meet the saudi crown prince. politicians, and particularly the american leadership that you could argue the british as well giving the saudis every opportunity they can to explain their position to come up with the line that the politicians can swallow, if you like, can cope with and keep business relations open.
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the germans, canadians and others seem to be taking a much harder line. the proof will be in the long—term relationship. does it change anything? does it change buying patterns or investment patterns? interesting that you mentioned the stands of germany. that sets the tone for other western nations. germany saying that not only will it stop future arms deals that may be reviewed existing deals. exactly. germany does seem to be taken the lead as far as europe is concerned and canada in north america as well. what do they want to do? what do they want the world to do? what do they want the world to see? do they want to change those trading links? will they stop the manufacture of arms? we could change the relationship between a lot of countries and saudi arabia but at the moment that looks doubtful. on monday, china's stock markets saw their biggest one day
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gain in two years but they're struggling to hold on to them despite the central bank taking steps to increase the amount of loans available to private companies. and it's a similar picture across asia. mariko oi is in our asia business hub in singapore. good to see you. can you tell us more of what is going on? a great day for investors hearing asia. across—the—board from day for investors hearing asia. across—the—boa rd from japan's market, australia, south korea, everybody is down about two or 3%. like you said, the shanghai stock exchange really did well yesterday, up exchange really did well yesterday, ‘7. exchange really did well yesterday, up 4%. that is of course after policymakers announced measures to shore up investor confidence after the steep sell—off we saw last week. we were talking to an analyst earlier this morning and asking whether they rally was sustainable. it does not appear to be so. that is
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because all the challenges that the chinese economy faces, especially the trade war with the us, that is an external factor that beijing cannot follow. to even authorities have been announcing these measures, it is hard to deal with investor weakness. thank you very much. would you be willing to hand over your hard—earned cash to join a so—called virtual country? well, more than 20,000 people have done just that since september. they've each paid the $5 annual tax to join a group which calls itself the good country. but can it really fulfil its aims of using the money to solve the world's problems? migration, tourism, poverty,
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inequality, climate change, women's and children's rights, . .. the two things that make people most commonly associated with the country is having a passport and territory. we think a territory is a nuisance. the moment you have a territory you need an army to defend it. by definition, our citizens already have somewhere to live. are far as the passport is concerned, yes, we will issue them. and one day it may well be something you can travel on. the goal of the good country is to change the culture of governance worldwide each citizen of the good country pays $5 annual tax and that means we will have economic hard power. in certain instances we may use that economic power at the negotiation table.
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i think the project is a valuable initiative. however i think it is also a very romantic and even utopian project. it is unclear to me how policies will be decided and it is unclear how policies will be enacted. over the last 50 years we have seen the creation of dozens of new countries and so with anything it would be odd not to see new countries form in the 21st century. of countries form in the 21st century. of 'cause, this is a new kind of country and that is important because we have a different end goal. we realise it will not be easy and it will not happen overnight but this is a project based on hope. now let's brief you on some other business stories... the chemical giant monsanto has lost its appeal for a us court to overturn a decision that its weed killers were responsible for a man's cancer. in august dewaynejohnson won $289 million in damages however a san francico judge has now ruled that amout should be cut to $39 million. monsanto's parent company bayer welcomed the decision as a step
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in the right direction but says it plans to appeal the entire verdict. a key uber exective has resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him. cameron poetzscher‘s behaviour was first questioned last year and he recently told the wall strreetjournal he'd make mistakes. poetzscher has overseen deals including the sale of uber‘s south—east asian business to grab and funding from softbank. his departure is a blow as the company reportedly gears itself up towards a stock market debut next year. the european commission is set to decide its next move in the showdown over italy's rule—breaking budget when it meets in strasbourg later. on monday giuseppe conte's government insisted it would stick to its spending plans for next year despite the risk of fines from brussels for non—compliance with eurozone regulations. italy's governmeent wants to increase spending despite its huge debts so that it can fulfil its election promises. and now — what's trending in the business news this morning.
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the government has a strong reputation for preventing sexual abuse and violence overseas, yet is failing to address the problem at home, according to a report by a group of mps. the women and equalities committee is calling on the government to tackle sexual harassment in public places. 0ur reporter lisa hampele has more. the report says that women and girls are being harassed on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, at university and parks along the street. such behaviour is relentless and becomes normalised as girls grow up. the most shocking thing was the
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way in which young women, particularly, were being forced to change the way they live their life ona change the way they live their life on a daily basis. what they wore, if they were out of running that they w0 re they were out of running that they wore headphones, that they would avoid eye contact with people in the street. really, because they had been brought up to believe that if you did not take those precautionary measures than they could be subject to sexual harassment and it would be theirfault. to sexual harassment and it would be their fault. the committee says that while governments pledged to eliminate sexual harassment by 2030 there is no action of any action to achieve this. it said ministers must set out a plan. they want public campaigns to help tackle the issue and a law criminalising the nonconsensual creation and distribution of intimate sexual images. the committee also said the government should treat the problem ina similarway government should treat the problem in a similar way to road safety of smoking and it wants train and bus operators to prohibit sexual harassment in the viewing of
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pornography. millions of women across england are failing to take up cervical cancer screening tests within the recommended time frame — according to new figures. public health england says that more than three million of those eligible have not had a smear test for at least three years. over 200,000 women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities in britain each year. coming up at 6:00am on breakfast: dan walker and louise minchin will have all the day's news, business and sport. this is the briefing from bbc news. the latest headlines: as turkey prepares to reveal all about the murder of the the journalist jamal khashoggi at the saudi consulate in istanbul, the us treasury secretary has held private talks in riyadh with the saudi crown prince. president trump has warned that the us will build up its nuclear arsenal to pressure russia and china, as he has threatened to pull out of a landmark treaty. the longest sea bridge in the world has opened with a ceremony which the chinese president, xijinping, has attended.
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the bridge links hong kong and the macau peninsula to mainland china. now it is time to look at the stories that are making the headlines in the media across the world. we begin with the arab news. it leads with the so—called davos in the desert business conference in saudi arabia, or future investment initiative, to give it its proper title, which starts on tuesday. it says big investment deals are planned involving russia and china, despite several western countries pulling out after the killing of saudi journalist jamal khashoggi. on to germany's frankfurt allgemeine. it is highlighting italy defending its budget and spending plans, saying it had to take hard decisions to boost growth, even if it breached eu rules. the european commission is expected to respond on tuesday. the front page of the international edition of the new york times now. it focuses on the russian fertiliser giant advocating tighter regulations on fertiliser. the paper says farming products might not seem an obvious source of geopolitical tension,
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but with moscow working to widen its sphere of power, the prospect of a politically connected russian company cornering a key part of the european agricultural market has raised sharp concerns. the japan times leads with president trump's plans to exit from its nuclear weapons treaty with russia, saying that china has been left alone and unconstrained to amass a missile arsenal that puts us and japanese forces at risk, according to observers. and finally, a story in france's le figaro featuring contemporary artist grayson perry, and saying how contemporary british artists such as perry and bansky are leading the field. perry presents his first french solo exhibition dressed as his female alter ego, claire, referring to what he calls the "them and us" mentality in british society, which he says arose


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