Obama: Protecting US intellectual property rights a problem

President Barack Obama said on Friday that ensuring U.S. intellectual property was properly protected from theft was crucial in reviewing the country’s trade deals, citing China as part of this process. “One of the problems we had was insufficient protection for intellectual property rights. That is true for China … these are issues that have to be addressed,” Obama told a town hall-style meeting in response to a question from a member of the audience. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama launched an extraordinary attack on the Supreme Court on Saturday, saying a ruling on corporate donations to political campaigns this week “strikes at democracy itself.” The global economic recovery, China, green business and the future of finance will take the spotlight when world economic leaders meet in Davos next week. Hotel chain Holiday Inn has a novel idea for keeping customers warm at bedtime. [Read the full article]

U.S. gold futures ended down on Friday, off their one-month low hit earlier in the session, as President Barack Obama’s proposal to limit banks’ risk-taking pressured the commodity markets. For the latest detailed report, click on [GOL/]. GOLD * Gold for February delivery GCG0 settled down $13.5, or 1.2 percent, at $1,089.7 an ounce on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. * Ranged $1,098.9 to $1,081.9 — the weakest level since Dec. 23. * Dennis Gartman, independent investor and publisher of “Gartman Letter,” said he prefers to own gold in dollar terms instead of other currencies, as dollar’s downside risk increased after Obama’s proposal. * Commodity markets fell further on Friday as Obama’s thread of restrictions on financial risk-taking, which could dent flows into the asset class, continued to pressure the complex. [Read the full article]

Argentina’s trade surplus grew 35 percent in 2009 as imports fell more than exports, data showed on Friday, while soaring car sales to Brazil helped industrial output rise more than twice as much as expected by economists in December. Argentina’s factory output jumped 10.4 percent in December from the same month a year ago and rose 0.4 percent in 2009 despite a dramatic slowdown caused by the global economic crisis, the national statistics office said. The December figure came in above economists’ expectations. A Reuters survey showed analysts, on average, expected production to grow 5 percent last month, with a 4.5 percent median outlook. A jump in auto production is seen as one of the main drivers of the strong industrial performance. Argentina is Latin America’s third-largest car maker and last month its auto production nearly doubled from a year earlier, according to data from the Argentine Automakers Association, or ADEFA. [Read the full article]

Bolivian President Evo Morales began his second term on Friday vowing to further tighten state control over South America’s poorest economy and develop some of the world’s largest lithium reserves. Morales, an Aymara Indian and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, won a sweeping re-election victory in December on the back of broad support from the poor Indian majority. In a speech to inaugurate his second term, Morales promised to launch state-run paper, cement, dairy and drug companies and develop iron and lithium industries to help Bolivia export value-added products instead of raw materials. He also reached out to foreign investors, wary after his energy industry nationalizations in 2006 and similar moves by Venezuela’s firebrand socialist President Hugo Chavez. “We need a lot of money to industrialize lithium … [Read the full article]

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