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Australian ex-PM Rudd calls for inquiry into Murdoch media dominance By Reuters

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© Reuters. Former Australian Prime Minister and ASPI President Rudd gives a speech during the 2017 Asia Game Changer Awards and Gala Dinner in New York

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By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called for a major government inquiry into the tight ownership of Australian media by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, securing more than 46,000 signatures on a petition after just two days.

Rudd, who was prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and briefly in 2013, filed a petition calling on parliament to set up a royal commission to investigate what he called the “abuse of media monopoly in Australia in particular by the Murdoch media”.

“The truth is Murdoch has become a cancer, an arrogant cancer on our democracy,” Rudd said in a video posted on Twitter on Saturday, urging people to sign the petition, which also called for recommendations to boost media diversity.

The petition, due to be submitted to the House of Representatives on Nov. 5, had 46,246 signatures as of Sunday afternoon, up from a few thousand on Saturday.

Australia’s parliament is not required to respond to petitions, unlike in Britain, where petitions that obtain more than 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in parliament. Petitions to the House of Representatives have rarely been acted upon, according to the parliament website.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office and News Corp (O:) did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Rudd, who became leader of the Australian Labor Party in 2006 and left parliament in 2013 after the party lost an election, has previously blamed Murdoch for running a campaign to kill Labor’s plan for the national broadband network in 2013.

Rudd said Murdoch’s newspapers had consistently campaigned in the past 18 federal and state elections for the conservative Liberal National Party, currently led by Morrison, and against Labor.

The newspapers owned by Murdoch’s News Corp include The Australian, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, and the Courier Mail. Overseas, it owns publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post in the United States, and The Sun and The Times in Britain. Murdoch also controls Fox Corp (O:).

“There is no such thing as a level playing field anymore,” Rudd said.

News Corp this year booked a $931 million writedown on its stake in Australian broadcast business Foxtel, which has been losing subscribers to streaming giants like Netflix Inc (O:), at the same time as its Australian newspapers have been ceding advertisers to Facebook (O:) and Google (O:).

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Japan prefers piecemeal approach to big bailout for carrier ANA By Reuters

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© Reuters. A Japan Airlines (JAL) aircraft takes off near All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircrafts, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Haneda Airport in Tokyo

By Takaya Yamaguchi and Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government is in no mood for a huge bailout plan for ailing airline ANA, sources say, preferring a piecemeal approach to direct capital injections – a stark contrast to the bold moves other countries have made to protect flagship carriers.

Forecast to suffer a net loss of about $4.8 billion in the fiscal year to March, Japan’s largest airline is expected to announce a revival plan next week that will most likely include pay cuts and reduction in its fleet of aircraft.

The government hopes a waiver on airport landing fees, a tax-funded domestic tourism campaign and a gradual re-opening of borders will be enough to keep ANA alive, said government and ruling party officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

These measures will come on top of $3.8 billion in subordinated loans to ANA Holdings Inc (T:) from state-backed and private lenders.

The loans, cost cuts and capital accumulated during Japan’s inbound tourism boom in the past few years will allow ANA to weather the hit from COVID-19 at least for now, they said.

Though nothing has been officially decided, the government is ready to offer more relief if a deepening economic slump worsens the plight of big companies with national impact such as ANA.

But ideas being floated among government and political circles centre on tax breaks for aircraft and fuel, as well as extensions of existing programmes such as the tourism campaign and subsidies to companies that retain jobs, the officials said.

More radical steps such as those taken by Germany, which did direct capital injection, are off the table for now, they said.

“As long as private banks are healthy enough (to support ANA), it’s probably unnecessary,” a senior ruling party official said of a direct bailout.

“Capital injection is a last resort,” said another ruling party official with close ties with the airline industry. “I don’t think the airlines themselves want this, because it would just show how dire their business health is.”

The Bank of Japan, too, is wary of stepping in, concerned that rescuing non-financial entities like ANA would fall into the realm of fiscal policy, said three people familiar with its thinking.

“The BOJ and government each has different roles to play,” one of the people said, ruling out measures such as directly offering subordinated loans to ANA.

There is uncertainty, however, on how long this drip-feed approach can last. Like other carriers, ANA has been burning through cash to maintain jets that are either grounded or flying with too few passengers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of ANA’s international routes are suspended and a resurgence of infections in Western countries means a revival of inbound tourism may be some time off.

If there is a huge wave of infections in Japan, that could also dash hopes of a rebound in domestic tourism. Once pent-up demand from the government’s campaign peters out, households may hold off on travelling as job losses and wage cuts hit income, analysts say.

Crunch time may come next year. Unless sales pick up, some companies may struggle to pay back loans, the officials said.

“Companies like ANA probably won’t run into cash problems this year. But things could turn ugly if they cannot emerge from the red next year,” said a government official.

That could force the government to take even more drastic steps.

“If conditions don’t improve by around next spring, airlines will be in a much dire state,” a third ruling party official said. “Nationalising ANA could become a real possibility.”





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Betting markets give Trump slightly improved chances after debate By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Democratic presidential nominee Biden and President Trump participate in their second debate in Nashville

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LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s probability of getting re-elected gained slightly on online betting markets following Thursday’s final presidential debate.

Bettors on British exchange Smarkets give Democratic challenger Joe Biden a 66% chance of winning the Nov. 3 election, down from 68% before the the debate. Trump’s chances improved to 34% from 32%.

Betfair also said Trump’s odds improved on the same level following the debate, adding that punters spent over nine million pounds ($12 million) betting on the election over the last 24 hours.

The odds have narrowed since mid-October, but betting trends on gambling websites still predict a win for Biden. The former vice president has a substantial lead in national opinion polls, although the contest is closer in battleground states likely to decide the race.

The majority of big-money political betting occurs outside America as betting on politics is illegal in the United States.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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German factories hum, services shrink in two-speed economy: PMI By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: General view shows restaurant of hotel castle Elmau in Kruen

BERLIN (Reuters) – German private sector activity grew for the fourth month running in October, a survey showed on Friday, but while the manufacturing sector expanded at a faster rate, services activity shrank, suggesting Europe’s largest economy is operating at two speeds.

Markit’s flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors that together account for more than two-thirds of the economy, slipped to 54.5 in October from 54.7 the previous month.

The reading surpassed the consensus forecast of analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a decline to 53.2, and was well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

Manufacturing proved robust, with the flash PMI rising to 58.0, its highest level since April 2018. The service sector contracted, however, with the flash PMI dipping to 48.9.

Markit economist Phil Smith said the survey data pointed to resilience in the economy in the face of a second wave of coronavirus cases, with the decline in service sector activity quite limited so far while manufacturing remained solid.

“It’s increasingly looking like a two-speed economy,” he said. “Manufacturing businesses have been able to continue operating with less disruption from any new restrictions than many of their service sector counterparts, whilst at the same time reaping the benefits of a resurgence in global goods trade.”

“As more manufacturers get back or close to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity, however, sustaining growth is going to become more challenging,” Smith added.

The German government expects gross domestic product to shrink in 2020 by 5.8% before rebounding by 4.4% next year.

Berlin has since March implemented an array of rescue and stimulus measures, financed with record new borrowing of some 218 billion euros, which it hopes will help consumers and companies get out of the crisis more quickly.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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