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OIL SPIKES — US AIRSTRIKES TAKE OUT IRANIAN SECOND IN COMMAND

  • The geopolitical landscape in the Gulf changed dramatically Thursday night.
  • The US pentagon confirmed drones had targeted and killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani during his visit to Baghdad.
  • Soleimani is seen in the US as a Bin Laden style figure, but in his home-country was held in high regard and something of a talismanic hero.
  • Tehran has warned “severe revenge awaits the criminals” responsible for the attack (source: BBC).
  • Oil prices have responded to the game-changing events by spiking and then holding at higher price levels.

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PENSIONS REFORM – FRENCH GENERAL STRIKE HIGHLIGHTS THE INCREASING ROLE OF PENSIONS IN CORPORATE VALUATIONS

  • One of Europe’s most important economies is grinding to a halt due to a general strike triggered by proposed pension reforms.
  • The industrial action in France lifts the lid on the opaque world of pension liabilities and how they distort the valuations of major corporations. 

Industrial action in the France transport sector has moved into its 29th day. Even in a country with a proud history of worker activism, this represents a record length of dispute and is the longest period that rail workers have been out on strike since 1968. The catalyst of the recent dispute isn’t anything as immediate as overtime pay or working conditions. Instead, the dispute revolves around pensions and pension reforms. The subject, which has traditionally had a ‘manana’ feel to it has closed down parts of the French travel network as it becomes very much an issue for the here and now.

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