North America

El Salvador on Tuesday became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, a real-world experiment proponents say will lower commission costs for billions of dollars sent from abroad but which critics warned may fuel money laundering, Reuters reported. The change means businesses should accept payment in bitcoin alongside the U.S. dollar, which has been El Salvador's official currency since 2001 and will remain legal tender.
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Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador highlighted his campaign against government corruption and downplayed the work that remains to be done in the areas of security and reducing poverty in his third state of the nation address on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Nearly midway through his six-year term, López Obrador remains popular despite stubbornly high levels of violence and rising inflation in an economy emerging from recession. “The money that was stolen before now gets to those on the bottom,” the 67-year-old leader said.
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Centerra Gold Inc. is claiming a Kyrgyz open-pit mine it once ran has flooded and poses safety and environmental risks, although the government-appointed administrator says the water has always been there, Bloomberg News reported. There may be at least 40 meters (131 feet) of water at the bottom of the Kumtor central pit, the Canadian mining company said on Tuesday in a statement, citing photos on Kumtor Gold Co.’s website and a company video posted mid August on Facebook.
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Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle, which exited bankruptcy protection in May, reported on Tuesday an improvement in its first-half earnings as the beleaguered travel sector picks up speed amid rising vaccinations, the Times of Malta reported. In the first six months of the year, Norwegian posted a net profit of 1.6 billion kroner (€155 million) thanks to financial restructuring, compared to a loss of 5.4 billion kroner in the first half of 2020.
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It began as a market stall in West Yorkshire, selling eggs and butter just before the turn of the 20th century. Today that market stall is Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket chain, with nearly 500 stores and the prize in a 7 billion-pound ($9.6 billion) bidding war between American private equity groups. It is a financial drama that is playing out almost weekly in Britain: A domestic company is courted and snapped up by, most likely, private equity investors awash with cash, the New York Times reported.
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Mexico's central bank on Tuesday raised its forecasts for inflation and economic growth this year, and warned that price pressures could be stronger than expected in the months ahead, Reuters reported. Setting out its latest quarterly forecasts, the Bank of Mexico projected annual consumer price inflation would be 5.7% in the final quarter, up from a prior prediction of 4.8%. Mexican gross domestic product (GDP) growth was seen at 6.2% in 2021, up from 6.0% previously, the bank said.
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Canadian courts have granted Laurentian University permission to extend its insolvency restructuring efforts into the new year, Sudbury.com reported. Laurentian asked that the stay of proceedings protecting it against its creditors be extended until Jan. 31, 2022, and that the maturity date for its bridge financing loans also be extended to the same date. In granting the motion presented by Laurentian in the brief court hearing on Friday, Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz said Laurentian has demonstrated significant progress in its restructuring efforts amid a difficult situation.
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The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there, the Associated Press reported. The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses advice that it gave in June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season. The guidance is nonbinding, however, and U.S. travelers should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent.
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A business plan that aims to put Mexico’s troubled Interjet back in the skies in 2022 is ready, according to the firm the airline hired to advise on restructuring $1.25 billion in debt, Bloomberg News reported. Argoss Partners submitted the plan to Interjet management at the end of July. It calls for debt forgiveness of over 90%, partial payment to workers, preliminary agreements for new aircraft leases and a management team revamp.
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The United States will continue to be a "very generous" donor of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and will aim to prevent any of its assistance from passing through Taliban coffers, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday, Reuters reported. "We can maintain a humanitarian commitment to ... the Afghan people in ways that does not have any funding or assistance pass through the coffers of a central government," he told reporters.
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