LONDON: Shortly after last year's announcement of a US$9.4 billion deal to combine the Sainsbury's supermarket group that he runs with rival Asda, boss Mike Coupe was caught on camera singing "We're in the money".Not so fast, some competition lawyers, analysts and rivals warn, ahead of a provisional regulatory ruling due in the coming weeks on a deal that could create Britain's largest retailer, with annual sales of about 51 billion pounds (US$66 billion).Recent decisions by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggest it won't shy away from intervention, they say, and some conditions it could apply may prove too costly to make a deal worthwhile.Coupe and Roger Burnley, chief executive of Walmart owned Asda, have said they do not expect the CMA to make the deal unpalatable. The regulator is due to publish its final report in early March, although it could be delayed until the end of April.Sainsbury's and Asda say they will lower prices on "everyday items" by around 10 percent, … [Read more...] about Sainsbury’s-Asda tie-up not a done deal yet, experts warn
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Princess Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, marries on Friday in the second major British royal wedding of the year at Windsor Castle, following in the footsteps of her cousin Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Eugenie, 28, younger daughter of the queen's third child Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, will tie the knot with Jack Brooksbank, 32, at the monarch's home to the west of London. Windsor castle was also the venue for Harry and Meghan's wedding in May and Eugenie, ninth-in-line to the throne, has copied much of her cousin's blueprint for her big day. The ceremony will take place at the castle's 15th Century St George's Chapel with the Dean of Windsor David Conner officiating. Charity guests and 1,200 members of the public have been invited into the grounds for the occasion. One noticeable absentee will be Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, as she is carrying out an engagement in Scotland. While … [Read more...] about Queen’s granddaughter marries in second big UK royal wedding of the year
This week I am heading a delegation of British businesses to the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong. The summit will bring together leaders from across government, industry and individual businesses that have the ability to drive through China’s vision for the BRI. Hong Kong is a thriving global hub, with strong rule of law and an open society, and over 630 UK companies are based in the market. Crucially, this means that these UK firms are ideally placed to win work on the Belt and Road Initiative alongside companies from Hong Kong and mainland China. They also embody high standards in professions such as project planning, design, implementation and operation, and have an extensive track record in delivering high profile, public infrastructure projects in Hong Kong itself. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox Projects such as the HK$6 billion (US$764 million) midfield concourse at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), completed by … [Read more...] about Belt and Road Initiative offers huge opportunities for UK business
LONDON: The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 53 independent states where most share a common history: They were once territories of the British Empire. Members range from tiny Pacific Islands, Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and emerging powerhouse India, to Canada. Altogether, they make up about a third of the world’s population. The Commonwealth has no constitution or charter, but it champions values like democracy, good governance and economic development. Once every two years, leaders from member countries gather to discuss issues of common interests at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). This time round, they are convening in London from Monday (Apr 16) to Friday. Political watchers say the United Kingdom will use this chance to reinvigorate its relations with Commonwealth nations, particularly in light of Brexit. British High Commissioner to Singapore Scott Wightman said the Commonwealth … [Read more...] about The future of the Commonwealth: More than a ‘talking shop’?
LONDON/WASHINGTON: The United States said on Monday it would expel 60 Russian diplomats, joining governments across Europe punishing the Kremlin for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain that they have blamed on Moscow.It was the strongest action that U.S. President Donald Trump had taken against Russia since coming to office. He has come under criticism from Democrats and from members of his own Republican party for failing to be tough enough on Russia over allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. electoral system including the 2016 presidential campaign.Besides the United States, 14 European Union countries also expelled Russian diplomats, European Council President Donald Tusk said. Ukraine and Canada also took action, and in total Monday's announcements affected more than 100 Russian diplomats - the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted that, "Today's extraordinary … [Read more...] about US and EU expel scores of Russian diplomats in response to UK nerve attack