United States

There’s still at least one thing Americans do better than anyone else in the world: Corporate bankruptcies, Bloomberg reported. Since 2013, hundreds of foreign businesses have taken advantage of U.S. bankruptcy courts to slash debt and clean up their balance sheets, according to an analysis of legal filings. The reason is simple, lawyers and former judges say: America has the most company-friendly bankruptcy rules in the developed world. “The lawyers and judges know how to move things through the system quickly,” said Prof.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that a compromise deal that will allow the completion of a Russian gas pipeline to Europe without the imposition of further U.S. sanctions is “good for Ukraine,” the Associated Press reported. The U.S. and Germany announced the deal on Wednesday and committed to countering any Russian attempt to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political weapon. They also agreed to support Ukraine and Poland, both of which are bypassed by the project and fear Russia’s intentions, by funding alternative energy and development projects.

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The U.S. and Germany on Wednesday announced a deal to allow the completion of a controversial Russian gas pipeline to Europe without the imposition of further U.S. sanctions, the Associated Press reported. The agreement aims to stanch fears about European dependence on Russian energy, but it was immediately assailed by critics who said it doesn’t go far enough. Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. and Germany committed to countering any Russian attempt to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political weapon.

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The Biden administration has reached a preliminary agreement with Germany over a controversial Russia-to-Europe gas pipeline that is vehemently opposed by Ukraine and Poland, as well as both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the Associated Press reported. Congressional aides briefed on the outlines of the deal said it would allow the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline without either Germany or Russia facing new U.S. sanctions. In return, the U.S. and Germany will make certain concessions to Ukraine and Poland, although it was not immediately clear if those would be welcomed.

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Global stock markets swooned Monday, with the Dow slumping more than 700 points, as investors are growing increasingly anxious about a delta-led resurgence in coronavirus cases and its potential to derail the economic recovery, The Washington Post reported. Oil prices also fell sharply. The delta variant is now the dominant strain worldwide and surging rapidly, even in countries with high vaccination rates. New coronavirus infections in the U.S. rose nearly 70 percent in a single week, officials reported Friday, and nearly every state has reported an increase in cases.

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A new weapon is gaining traction in the fight against the economic fallout of Covid-19: Debt sales designed to alleviate suffering, Bloomberg reported. Governments and companies in emerging markets have sold close to $16 billion of so-called social bonds so far this year, on pace to shatter last year’s total, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of close on July 19. These bonds, with proceeds earmarked specifically for projects that address human needs — such as health, hunger and education — have already lured fresh investment to Chile and Ecuador, and soon, Ghana.

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Within the U.S., cannabis is now legal in 16 states including Washington, D.C., with legalization taking effect in two more states, Virginia and New Mexico, later this year, Mondaq reported. This state-level trend toward legalization in the U.S. continues even though cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. However, in Canada, cannabis has been legal at both the federal and provincial levels since 2018. The opening of these markets has generated significant investment on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.

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Canada on Monday said it will begin to ease pandemic restrictions at the U.S./Canada border next month, allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the U.S. who are fully vaccinated with Canadian-authorized vaccines to enter for nonessential travel without quarantining, The Washington Post. The decision, which takes effect Aug. 9, follows months of criticism from U.S.

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India's central bank has ordered Mastercard to stop adding new customers for failing to comply with the country's data storage rules, escalating a dispute between Indian authorities and U.S. financial services groups over the control of customer data, the Financial Times reported. The Reserve Bank of India said that Mastercard had not complied with rules introduced in 2018 that bar payment companies from transferring customer data overseas. The regulations, which were fiercely resisted by U.S. payment companies, required all financial data to be stored exclusively in India.

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The European Union has agreed to delay a corporate tax plan for the bloc following pressure from the U.S. administration and in a bid to facilitate a broader global tax deal, but EU member Ireland reiterated its criticisms of the wider reform, Reuters reported. The world's 20 largest economies endorsed on Saturday a plan for a global overhaul of corporate tax that would introduce a minimum tax rate and change the way large companies like Amazon and Google are taxed, based partly on where they sell their products and services rather than on the location of their headquarters.
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