Argentina demands shipping permits in Falklands row and What could the A400M cost over-run fund?

Argentina said on Tuesday that boats sailing between it and the British-ruled Falkland Islands will need a government permit, deepening a row over oil exploration in the disputed archipelago. Permits also will be required by ships sailing between Argentina and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernandez told a news conference in Buenos Aires. Argentina also claims sovereignty over those British-controlled islands. Argentina protested to Britain earlier this month over plans to begin offshore exploration drilling near the remote Falklands, which are called the Islas Malvinas in Spanish. The nations fought a short war in 1982 over the islands. “Any boat that wants to travel between ports on the Argentine mainland to the Islas Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands … must first ask for permission from the Argentine government,” Fernandez said. [Read the full article]

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Airbus parent EADS (EAD.PA) is studying a new offer of aid for the delayed and over-budget A400M military transporter plane from seven purchasing nations, as speculation mounted of a long-awaited rescue deal this week. [ID:nLDE61F0O4] After writing off 2.4 billion euros, the company still faces a funding gap of 5.2 billion. Its auditors are putting it under pressure to recover this or write it off.

* Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) could recoup the roughly 5 billion euros in losses it says former trader Jerome Kerviel ran up with unauthorised trades.

* 5.2 billion euros can host five events of the size and scale of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, which has an operating budget of close to 1.05 billion euros.

* It could fund the U.N. World Food Programme for a year, based on its 2009 budget of 4.9 billion euros. [Read the full article]

BRUSSELS, Feb 16 (Reuters) – European Union finance ministers on Tuesday formally approved Portugal’s Vitor Constancio as the European Central Bank’s next vice-president.

Constancio, 66, is seen as bringing a dovish tilt to the ECB’s core Executive Board, but his nomination is likely to boost Axel Weber’s bid to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as president next year. Weber, who is president of the German Bundesbank, is seen as an inflation hardliner.

“The Council’s recommendation will be submitted to the European Council, after consulting the European Parliament and the ECB’s governing council,” the Council of the European Union said in a statement.

The Council’s decision confirmed what a source with insight into the ministers’ meeting had told Reuters on Monday. Current ECB Vice President Lucas Papademos’ term expires on May 31. [Read the full article]

Affluent Americans, or households with at least $100,000 of investable, non-real estate, assets, consider exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, as the new growth sector and are comfortable purchasing them without the help of an advisor, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Cogent Research found that nearly two-thirds of the 4,000 affluent investors it surveyed had purchased ETFs with no help from an advisor, demonstrating the continued acceptance and growth of ETFs. ETFs globally breached the $1 trillion level for the first time in 2009. In the United States, assets in ETFs rose 46 percent during the year to $777 billion.

“Given the high engagement level of self-directed investors with ETFs, it’s no wonder that providers are now focused on addressing the needs of this important audience,” Christy White, Cogent Research co-founder, said in a release. [Read the full article]

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