Spain reports deal in principle to save A400M and Swiss man treated well in Libyan jail, lawyer says

Partners in the delayed A400M military transporter plane have reached an agreement in principle to rescue the troubled Airbus project, Spain’s defence minister said on Wednesday. Spiralling costs and delays have threatened Europe’s largest defence project and left planemaker Airbus’s parent EADS (EAD.PA) facing a potential 5.2 billion-euro ($7 billion) loss. “I am able to tell you with great satisfaction that we have reached an agreement in principle between the seven countries participating in the A400M programme and the EADS company,” Carme Chacon told a news briefing ahead of EU defence talks. [Read the full article]

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Swiss businessman Max Goeldi has said he is being treated well in the Libyan jail he was taken to after a standoff between Libya and Switzerland escalated into a Europe-wide row, his lawyer said on Wednesday. Goeldi had been sheltering in the Swiss embassy in Tripoli but on Monday, a few hours after Libya surrounded the building with police and demanded his surrender, he emerged and was driven away to prison. Lucrative business ties between European firms and Libya’s booming economy are at stake in a row which took on a Europe-wide dimension this month when Tripoli banned citizens of most European countries from entering the country. Lawyer Salah Zahaf said he had visited his client at the Ain Zara prison on the outskirts of Tripoli. He is starting a four-month sentence after a Libyan court found him guilty of immigration violations. “He is happy because the people in the prison are respecting him and they treat him like a human being … [Read the full article]

Argentina on Wednesday reaffirmed that Economy Minister Amado Boudou remained on the job, one day after speculation of his imminent departure hit the country’s bonds. President Cristina Fernandez’s chief of staff said Boudou “is confirmed” and “firmer than ever” in his job. “Those rumors come from paid analysts who want to unsettle markets,” Anibal Fernandez told local radio. Argentina’s benchmark Discount bonds ARGGLB33=RR slumped on Tuesday to an almost six-month low, while risk spreads over U.S. Treasuries 11EMJ widened more than 40 basis points on talk that Boudou could resign, even as an economy ministry spokesman denied he planned to quit. The Discount bonds were stable on Wednesday, while spreads narrowed 30 basis points, according to the JPMorgan EMBI+ index. [Read the full article]

Tens of thousands of strikers marched through Athens on Wednesday to protest against austerity plans aimed at wrenching Greece out of a debt crisis that has shaken the euro zone. The Socialist government meanwhile hit back at European criticism of Greece’s fiscal management, accusing European Union partners of double standards and poor leadership. The 24-hour general strike grounded flights and disrupted services but stopped short of bringing Greece to a standstill. Scuffles broke out on the fringe of the protest, with police firing teargas to disperse groups of stone-throwing youths. “No sacrifices, the rich should pay for the crisis,” demonstrators chanted as more than 20,000 marched on parliament in an otherwise peaceful protest. In a sign of persistent market jitters, Greece’s borrowing costs rose on Wednesday after Czech Finance Minister Eduard Janota said Athens would find it impossible to slash its budget deficit as fast as promised. [Read the full article]

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