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Exclusive: China meat supplier faced claims last year over unethical work practices
By Kazunori Takada SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai Husi Food, the U.S.-owned Chinese food supplier at the center of a meat safety scandal, won a court case earlier this year against a former quality control officer whose claims included that he was made to forge meat production dates. Wang Donglai, who worked at Shanghai Husi Food from 2007 to 2013, sought around 38,000 yuan ($6,100) in compensation for damage to his health from exposure to chlorine used as a cleaning agent by the meat processor. He also sought to terminate his contract at Shanghai Husi, claiming he was forced to work overtime and made to do "unethical work" that violated food safety laws, court documents showed. At his hearing last October, Wang said he was unwilling to illegally forge dates at the plant, adding that he repeatedly urged his employer to change a practice which he said violated food safety laws and hurt consumer interests, according to court documents seen by Reuters.
Asian shares inch down from recent highs
By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO (Reuters) - An index of Asian shares pulled away from a three-year high on Friday after a mostly flat day on Wall Street, though a fresh S&P closing record and upbeat U.S. employment data underpinned sentiment. Initial jobless claims declined 19,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 284,000 for the week ended July 19.
BNP Paribas to pay $80 million for defrauding U.S. Agriculture Department
By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday that a Federal court entered judgment against French bank BNP Paribas for $80 million for defrauding a program designed to encourage American exports. The program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, covered losses for American commodities exporters in cases where their import partner failed to make a payment. Last month, BNP Paribas pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $8.9 billion in a settlement with U.S. authorities for violating U.S. economic sanctions. From 1998 to 2005, BNP Paribas knowingly guaranteed such a credit for companies known to be operating both the export and import side of a trade and, in some cases, never making a payment or shipment, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
Argentine debt mediator says time running short for deal
By Daniel Bases NEW YORK (Reuters) - Less than a week before Argentina could default on its sovereign bonds, the government and holdout creditors have yet to meet face-to-face despite an urgent plea from the U.S. court-appointed mediator on Thursday that they start direct talks. The time for the Republic to avoid default (July 30) is short," mediator Daniel Pollack said in a statement following three hours of shuttle diplomacy. "After speaking with both sides, separately, I proposed and urged direct, face-to-face talks between the parties. The representatives of the bondholders were agreeable to direct talks. The representatives of the Republic declined to engage in direct talks," Pollack said.
McDonald's suspends sale of chicken nuggets and other items in Hong Kong
McDonald's Corp said it has suspended sales of its chicken nuggets and other items in Hong Kong after it acknowledged it had imported products from Shanghai Husi Food, the company at the center of a food safety scare in China. McDonald's said in a statement late on Thursday it had imported certain products from Shanghai Husi between July last year to June this year, although no food items from the Shanghai supplier remained in stock. Hong Kong said on Thursday it had suspended, with immediate effect, all imports from the U.S.-owned Chinese supplier at the center of the scare.
U.S. judge says she is troubled by Apple $450 million e-books deal
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday expressed concern over a proposed $450 million settlement of claims Apple Inc conspired with five publishers to fix e-book prices, saying its provisions could drastically reduce money paid to consumers depending on appeals. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said she found "most troubling" a clause requiring Apple to pay only $70 million if an appeals court reversed her finding that the company is liable for antitrust violations and sent it back to her for further proceedings. Speaking on a teleconference, Cote questioned if that would be fair and what might happen if the appeals court reversed her ruling on a minor issue. She also took issue with the lack of any requirement for Apple to pay interest while the appeals go forward.
General Motors may put Brazil workers on paid leave: union
General Motors Co wants to put nearly a fifth of its workers at a factory in Brazil on paid leave, an auto workers union said on Thursday, amid falling output in Latin America's largest economy. Calling the move "unnecessary," the union said 1,000 of 5,200 workers in São José dos Campos, Sao Paulo state, could be laid off. Workers and the Detroit-based auto maker will likely discuss the proposal on Aug. 1, a union leader said. Brazil's production of cars, trucks and buses is expected to have its steepest decline in 16 years at 10.0 percent in 2014 as sales retreat 5.4 percent, according to national automakers' association Anfavea.
Senate panel to consider 'too big to fail' report
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a Democrat, and Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, a Republican, who serve on the Senate Banking Committee, asked the Government Accountability Office more than a year ago to determine whether banks that are deemed "too big to fail" are able to borrow more cheaply than smaller banks can. Brown leads the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, which will take up the GAO report in a hearing on July 31. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other officials have said publicly that any benefit for big banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc has shrunk since the 2007-2009 financial crisis. During the crisis, many financial services companies, including insurer American International Group Inc., were bailed out.
U.S. judge says she is troubled by Apple $450 million e-books deal
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday expressed concern over a proposed $450 million settlement of claims Apple Inc conspired with five publishers to fix e-book prices, saying its provisions could drastically reduce money paid to consumers depending on appeals. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said she found "most troubling" a clause requiring Apple to pay only $70 million if an appeals court reversed her finding that the company is liable for antitrust violations and sent it back to her for further proceedings. She also took issue with the lack of any requirement for Apple to pay interest while the appeals go forward. The comments came a week after 33 U.S. states and territories and lawyers for a class of consumers submitted the settlement for Cote's preliminary approval, and to avoid a scheduled Aug. 25 damages trial.
Argentina, holdouts meet in debt dispute with court appointee
By Daniel Bases NEW YORK (Reuters) - Representatives for holdout investors and Argentina in the country's ongoing debt default met for about three hours with a court-appointed mediator in New York on Thursday, less than a week before Argentina could once again default. Several members of Argentina's delegation left the Manhattan office of special appointee Daniel Pollack around 3:30 p.m. EDT but declined to comment on the talks. Edward Friedman, a lawyer for Aurelius Capital Management, one of two leading holdouts, emerged shortly after, also without commenting. Argentina faces its second default in 12 years if it fails to cut a deal with the hedge funds demanding full payment, instead of a reduced amount, for defaulted bonds.
Nucor confident of favorable rulings vs steel import "tsunami"
Emboldened by a recent favorable ruling for U.S. steelmakers in a steel pipe trade case, Nucor Corp said on Thursday it was confident the industry was poised for more success in future cases as it works to stem "a tsunami of imported steel." Nucor Chairman and Chief Executive John Ferriola said that after spending time in Washington he is more optimistic that U.S. lawmakers are finally starting to understand how damaging low-priced steel imports are for the U.S. economy and jobs. In particular, he said he felt "good" about an upcoming final ruling in a case concerning imports of steel rebar from Mexico and Turkey. "We feel confident that we've got a good shot at a final ruling that's more favorable than the preliminary," Ferriola said on a conference call after Nucor reported better than expected quarterly earnings on higher shipments and prices. In April, the U.S. Commerce Department set preliminary duties on millions of dollars worth of rebar imports from the two countries after U.S. producers complained about price undercutting.
Lloyds expected to pay up to $509.5 million as LIBOR fine
(Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group is expected to announce early next week that the British bank would pay between 200 million pounds and 300 million pounds ($509.52 million)to settle benchmark interest rate (LIBOR) fixing allegations, the Financial Times reported late on Thursday. Lloyds is expected to announce the payment before declaring its first-half results, the media agency reported citing people familiar with the situation. One person familiar with the situation told the FT that Lloyds was likely to face less political criticism than Barclays did as it has changed its top management since the alleged misconduct took place and it is now clear that many banks were involved. Lloyds, FCA, CFTC and DoJ could not immediately be reached for comment.($1 = 0.5888 British Pounds) (Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore;
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