German media lambasts Merkel
BERLIN, June 30 (UPI) -- German media is lambasting Chancellor Angela Merkel in the wake of a European Union summit in which major policy shifts were agreed to in principle.
"Merkel must further tremble: multiple constitutional complaints against the decisions are announced. It means: now the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe is on the case," the daily tabloid Bild wrote.
"Merkel rarely sees these kinds of negative headlines," the influential magazine Der Spiegel wrote.
The chancellor can usually put a positive spin on summits. This time, "she had a hard time doing exactly that," the article in Der Spiegel said.
The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that Bild labeled the agreements at the summit, "Merkel's evil setbacks in Brussels."
The summit concluded with several agreements that Merkel had previously opposed, including allowing international aid to go directly to banks, rather than governments.
Merkel had repeatedly said that funding banks directly meant the international community would lose control of the funding.
Spain had a lot to gain from the agreement, as loans given to banks would not expand the government's debt.
Merkel had also opposed forming a region-wide eurobond. But Italy won a concession in which it would be allowed that funding headed to banks could be used to buy government bonds, nominally a step towards creation of a eurobond.
Merkel had also favored using the International Monetary Fund as the muscle behind fiscal discipline in Europe. At the summit, it was agreed that regulatory authority would shift to an empowered European Central Bank.
Talks derailed at Caterpillar strike
JOLIET, Ill., June 30 (UPI) -- Heavy equipment producer Caterpillar Inc. said talks to end the strike at its Joliet, Ill., facility had stalled.
As the strike headed into a third month, "The company rejected a proposal from the union that was unacceptable," said company spokesman Rusty Dunn in a statement.
Dunn said a federal mediator met with union negotiators "without any success."
The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that machinists aligned with Local 851 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers are holding out for cost-of-living raises and better healthcare benefits.
The company has also proposed eliminating seniority and pension agreements, freezing wages for six years and doubling healthcare contributions from employees.
About 750 union workers are on strike, although about 50 have crossed the picket lines, the Tribune reported.
Unions, film group reach tentative deal
LOS ANGELES, June 30 (UPI) -- A major film production group in Los Angeles said it has reached a tentative three-year deal with Teamsters Local 399 and four other unions.
The union alliance called Basic Crafts Unions, including the Teamsters local, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 40, Plumbers Local 78, Studio Utility Employees Local 724 and Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 755, confirmed on its Web site a tentative agreement had been reached.
"I believe the tentative agreement is fair and equitable for both parties. It is my sincere desire to keep as much production in Los Angeles as possible," Leo Reed, chairman of the Basic Crafts negotiating committee, said in a statement.
The deal includes a 2 percent annual wage increase and a larger contribution to the employees health plan, the union group said.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents 350 companies involved in film production, "will help keep productions working without interruption in the Los Angeles area and, for Teamsters Local 399, throughout the 13 Western states," the production group said.
Tesco could shut down Fresh & Easy
CARDIFF, Wales, June 30 (UPI) -- Top executives at British retail chain Tesco said the company would retreat from its U.S. beachhead if it continued to lose money.
"If we see there is no chance of success, we'll do as we've just done in Japan," said Chief Executive Officer Philip Clarke at an annual shareholder meeting.
"It is not about ego, we are businessmen," he said.
The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that Tesco lost $240.3 million in 2011 through its Fresh & Easy grocery chain on the west coast. In the previous year, it lost $292.1 million in its U.S. enterprise.
At the meeting, a shareholder consulting firm called Change to Win Investment Group, challenged Tesco executives to form a non-executive committee to set financial targets for its U.S. venture and to pull back if the targets are not reached.
"We will not be doing that," said Chairman Richard Broadbent.
"Investors will no doubt be troubled that the company seems calmly willing to continue making losses in the U.S., as it has since the launch in 2007," said Change to Win representative Michael Zucker at Change after the meeting.
|Additional Business News Stories|
TEL AVIV, Israel, May 17 (UPI) --Nobel Energy of Houston, which discovered Israel's big gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, is pressing the government to decide soon on an energy export policy as the prospect of an undersea pipeline to Turkey gains credibility.