Global News June 26, 2017

  1. BBC
  2. Global News June 26, 2017

“Al-Qaeda frees hostage Johan Gustafsson after six years”

Hostage Johan Gustafsson, held by al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011, has been freed, the Swedish government says. Mr. Gustafsson, 42, is being flown back to Sweden from Africa, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said in a statement on Monday. He was seized by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) along with two other men, one of whom was freed in a dawn raid in 2015. Ms. Wallström said Mr Gustafsson was «in good spirits», local media report.
«It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released,» Ms. Wallström added. Mr. Gustafsson was kidnapped along with South African Stephen Malcolm and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke. Mr. Rijke was freed by French special forces in April 2015 after he was discovered by chance in a dawn raid in northern Mali.
AQIM took a number of Western hostages before the French military deployed its forces in January 2013. In a separate incident in December 2014, French hostage Serge Lazarevic was freed after a prisoner swap.


The Guardian
“EU citizens living in UK must apply for special ID card after Brexit”

All 3 million EU citizens resident in Britain will have to apply for a “settled status” identity card after Brexit under Home Office proposals on their future rights.
A 15-page policy paper proposes a new “light touch” online system to process applications that will give applicants the same “indefinite leave to remain” status as many non-European nationals who have also lived in Britain for five years. The new EU “settled status” residence document will essentially be an identity card backed up by an entry on a Home Office central database or register.
The policy paper was published as Theresa May issued a statement detailing the government’s proposals on EU citizens after the UK leaves the bloc.
It reveals EU nationals who have applied for permanent residence status documents since the referendum – thought to number more than 150,000 – will be asked to apply again albeit in a streamlined process. Those who have been asked previously to show evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance will no longer have to do so. The UK offer includes guarantees on UK pensions including on uprating and aggregated rights paid out abroad and the ability of settled EU nationals to continue to have social security benefits, such as child benefit, paid in other EU countries.
The system will also allow those who arrive before the cut-off date to build up five years’ continuous residence after Brexit, but people who arrive after the cut-off point will be subject to the new immigration regime. The Home Office said it has a broad range of options under consideration but will publish proposals shortly.


“BMW to invest $600M in its Spartanburg plant in US”

Germany’s BMW AG said on Monday it would invest $600 million in its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant in the United States, as it looks to bolster its manufacturing facilities for future generations of its BMW X sport utility vehicles.
The investment, which is from 2018 to 2021, will also add 1,000 jobs at the plant, the company said.
The plant is the company’s biggest worldwide and makes the BMW X vehicles for the U.S. and global markets. The Spartanburg plant manufactured more than 411,000 vehicles in 2016 and currently employs more than 9,000 people.


“Hedge fund star Dan Loeb bets $3.5 billion on Nestle”

Hedge fund star Dan Loeb thinks life could be sweeter for Nestle, the company behind KitKat chocolate bars and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. His fund, Third Point, said Sunday it had taken a $3.5 billion stake in Nestle (NSRGY) and would push for a new strategy to help the company improve its sales and profitability.
Shares in the Swiss-based global food giant surged by just about 4% on Monday morning in reaction to the news. Third Point now owns about 1.3% of the $266 billion conglomerate, making it the fourth biggest shareholder, according to FactSet data.
Nestle manages over 2,000 brands around the world and produces everything from Gerber baby food to Purina Cat Chow. Third Point said it should slim down and sell some businesses to focus on the most profitable areas.
Analysts at Jefferies agree that Third Point makes some good points about Nestle, but execution would be difficult. For example, selling the L’Oreal stake would not be «straightforward» and could lead to a big tax bill, they said. Additionally, Third Point doesn’t necessarily have a large enough stake in Nestle to truly affect change. Third Point has previously taken big stakes in companies such as Yahoo, Sony (SNE) and Sotheby’s (BID).


Zero Hedge
“Robert Soros Steps Down as President of Soros Family Office”

Robert Soros, 53, the eldest of George Soros’ five children and currently deputy chairman and president of Soros Fund Management, is resigning from those roles and stepping down from day-to-day management to invest his own money at the $26 billion family office according to Bloomberg, which adds that Robert will remain an owner at the firm where he has worked in various investment and management roles for more than 20 years, and will continue to be involved in its strategic long-term planning.
The change comes several months after Soros hired Dawn Fitzpatrick as chief investment officer to help diversify beyond the large, leveraged bets that made George Soros’s immense fortune. David Milich, who joined Soros four years ago as chief operating officer, will take over Robert’s management duties.
In his portfolio, Robert will focus on long-term holdings because according to Bloomberg, he has the «luxury» of pursuing investments that take a while to play out; sounds like a PE carveout within a hedge fund, although the logic to do so in an algo-driven world of HFTs and short-term return focus, is certainly appealing.