Global Business Daily: IMF hands South Africa $4.3bn bailout, China suggests AIIB move
Patrick Atack in London
"Nord Stream 2 is not only for Germany, I would say, it's a whole European business project."
That's the defence of a gas pipeline, which has nearly reached Germany from Russia, from the CEO of the German Eastern Business Association, Michael Harms. However, with the threat of U.S. sanctions looming, it is possible the "absolutely necessary" infrastructure is under threat.
You can read the highlights from our interview with Harms below.
In other news today, a fight is brewing in the U.S. Congress after Republicans submitted a new trillion-dollar coronavirus recovery package… but with benefits for those recently out of work slashed. It's a hill many Democrats in the House are willing to die on, so it could be one to watch. My colleagues in Washington at CGTN America will be covering it closely.
South Africa has been handed more than $4 billion by the IMF as it continues to suffer the worst official COVID-19 record in Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa, in today's cover picture, has been encouraging South Africans to wear face coverings.
Today's chart shows a worrying trend in UK shops – toothpaste has fallen off the collective shopping list. Do scroll down for an indication of what Britons are buying.
Digital business correspondent
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Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to become a new kind of institution for international cooperation. President Xi was speaking at the opening of the bank's fifth annual meeting. The AIIB has 102 members spanning six continents.
Republicans in the U.S. senate proposed a White House-backed plan for $1 trillion in a new stimulus package, but with a cut to emergency unemployment benefits of two-thirds. Those who lost their job in the pandemic had been surviving on weekly $600 checks from the federal government.
South Africa has become the recipient of the largest single COVID-19 loan from the International Monetary Fund, with $4.3 billion granted to Cyril Ramaphosa's government. Approximately half of the 850,000 reported COVID-19 cases in Africa have been in South Africa, with cities such as Johannesburg feeling the strain.
Green alliance MEPs have criticized the European Council for cutting the near-$47 billion Just Transition Fund (JTF) to $20.5 billion. The JTF is targeted at poorer and more polluting EU member states and aims to help countries such as Poland cut mainstays like coal and coal power from its economy.
Reckitt Benckiser, which owns cleaning product brands Dettol and Lysol has signed long-term deals with Delta Air Lines, Avis Budget (car rentals), and Hilton Hotels as it takes advantage of the demand for anti-viral deep-cleaning products amid the pandemic. Its professional services division is a new venture.
The British and Irish Lions touring rugby team has secured what is thought to be the biggest sporting investment during the pandemic. The squad, which will tour South Africa in 2021, has signed a new sponsorship deal with telecoms firm Vodafone, thought to be worth at least $7.7 million.
Smart-watch firm Garmin says its services are getting back to normal, following a suspected ransomware attack. The company confirmed a major cyber attack brought down its network last week, without specifying details. Russian hackers are thought to have demanded a $10 million ransom to restore services. Analysts say the company appears to have obtained a "decryption key" without paying the money.
Spain's economy has taken a record hit in the second quarter of 2020 as COVID-19 job losses mount even higher than in 2008/9. At least a million Spaniards lost their jobs, meaning a huge 17.6 million were unemployed in June. Spain's population is just under 47 million.
At least $64 billion has been borrowed by British and Northern Irish businesses as part of the government-backed debt package. The UK Treasury said at least 1.2 million companies have taken up the offer of bailout loans.
As previously reported by Global Business Daily, Malaysian former prime minister Najib Razak faced trial for his part in the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund scandal. He has been found guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined $49 million for abuse of power over the $10 million he received.
China Southern Airlines has rolled out an "all you can fly" pass, becoming the latest in a fleet of cash-strapped Chinese carriers to do so, in a move analysts said has helped revive the air travel market.
Amazon Prime members in London will be able to order same-day free delivery groceries as the web giant announced an expansion to its "Fresh" product. It has also lowered the minimum order to $19, from $51, and said it plans to expand across the country by the year end.
British Airways' cabin crew are threatening to strike over the carrier's plans to cut 12,000 jobs. Their trade union says the company is planning to dismiss and rehire thousands of its workers on reduced contracts. BA's parent company IAG has said it has to cut costs due to a collapse in demand.
Sotheby's first live auction in London since the start of the coronavirus pandemic has just started. The highlight - a self-portrait by Rembrandt, which is expected to attract between $15 million and $21 million.
UK bakery chain Greggs said it was close to breaking even, despite the lockdown closing its more than 2,000 shops for the whole second quarter. But after reopening in early July, the firm said its sales were up to 72 percent of 2019 levels.
WATCH: The UK goes through 2.5 billion single-use coffee cups a year. COVID-19 is making that worse.
But an eco-friendly solution could still be at hand. We visited a Brighton bakery that is pioneering new ways to make sure its takeaway coffee cups are both safe and sustainable.
Michael Harms, CEO of the German Eastern Business Association, spoke to CGTN Europe after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russian oil and gas fields, to Germany. The project has already been stalled once by sanctions, but more threats have forced a response from German businesses.
What is your reaction to the latest words from the U.S.?
We are very critical towards new sanctions on Nord Stream 2, because Nord Stream 2 is not only for Germany, I would say, it's a whole European business project of critical importance. It is absolutely necessary for the security of energy supply for Europe because we have a sharp fall in the gas supply from the North Sea, from Norway and from Great Britain.
It is also very important for our competitiveness. That's why we think this project is in the interest of Europe.
How should the EU react?
We have been always quite skeptical concerning retaliation because we do not want to come into this fight over sanctions. But frankly speaking, we have changed our position over the past weeks. Because it's now a critical point and we consider some measures.
What are the financial implications of the sanctions?
First of all, we have invested, or the companies have already invested, around $14 billion, not only for the construction of the pipeline itself, but for infrastructure also onshore.
If sanctions would be adopted, more than 120 companies from 12 countries will be hurt.