Deal or no deal? Dominic Raab on the ‘logjam’ in trade talks

China Molybdenum Pays $550 Million for Congo Ore Project Owner

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China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. said it bought a 95% stake in a company which owns a copper cobalt ore project that will be developed in Congo.

The company acquired the holdings in Phelps Dodge Congo through purchases of two other companies from Freeport-McMoRan for $550 million, according to a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The ore project is estimated to have around 365 million tons of ore, according to the statement. The acquisition, which was completed Dec. 11, gives China Molybdenum 95% rights and interests in the project.

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, and Jing Jin

China Pledges Better Supervision of Bond Credit Rating Industry

China’s central bank vowed to improve its oversight of the nation’s bond credit rating industry following a series of defaults by state-backed firms.

People’s Bank of China deputy governor Pan Gongsheng said problems in the industry included inflated credit ratings, according to astatement on the PBOC’s website dated Sunday. Ratings companies should work hard to improve their capabilities and quality of work, he said.

The statement was released following a meeting on Friday that also involved officials from the National Development and Reform Commission, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, and China Securities Regulatory Commission. The statement didn’t say what specific measures the central bank would take.

A $2.5 Billion Default Shows China’s Lack of Mercy for Firms

A series of state-owned enterprises have defaulted on debt in recent weeks, including Brilliance Auto Group Holdings Co., an automaker linked to BMW AG. Speculation has increased that Beijing will let weaker SOEs fail, especially as the economy recovers from the pandemic-driven slump.

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, and Jing Jin

Man injured as entire house is destroyed in gas explosion

An entire house has been destroyed after a gas explosion in Lincolnshire.

One man has been left with minor injuries and is shaken, police said.

Photos show the damage to the home in Bourne, with emergency services at the scene.

More follows.

Israel Likely to Accelerate Vaccination Schedule, Netanyahu Says

Israel will likely begin to make Covid-19 vaccines available to the population ahead of schedule, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The capacity of the country’s health care organizations will allow Israel to bring forward the Dec. 27 starting date for inoculation, Netanyahu said in a visit to one of the health maintenance organizations in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

It may be possible to begin vaccinating the country’s medical staff next week, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said.

Bank of Israel Expands Repo Deals to Boost Small Business Credit

Follow us@middleeast for more news on the region.

Israel’s central bank is expanding its set of monetary tools by offering repurchase transactions to non-bank credit providers, according to a Sundayannouncement.

The Bank of Israel will take government and corporate bonds as well as short-term Makam bills as collateral from credit card companies, starting from the first week in January 2021. The goal of the new program is to increase credit to small and micro businesses.

Read more:Bank of Israel Expands Repo Program to Include Corporate Bonds

Iran Summons German Envoy After Journalist’s Execution Denounced

Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador after his country said it was horrified at the Islamic Republic for executing a dissident journalist, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.

Ruhollah Zam, who ran a Telegram channel that campaigned against the Islamic Republic from his base in Paris, was hanged on Saturday morning after he was accused of inciting widespread unrest in late 2017 and convicted of “corruption on earth,” a capital offense in Iran.

The son of a prominent cleric who had claimed asylum in France in 2009, Zam was lured to Iraq last year as part of an Iranian intelligence operation. He was then captured in the city of Karbala and taken to Tehran where he was immediately imprisoned and put on trial, state media reported at the time.

In astatement, Germany’s foreign office said on Saturday that the government was “horrified” at the hanging.

“We are shocked by the circumstances surrounding the conviction, particularly by the preceding kidnapping from abroad,” the foreign office said.

Death Sentence for Iranian Journalist Accused in 2017 Unrest

Deal or no deal? Dominic Raab on the ‘logjam’ in trade talks

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says there is still a “long way to go” for a post-Brexit trade deal to be done with the EU.

He does, though, lay out where the UK could compromise. Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez gives the view from the EU.