Anglo American soars as billionaire buys 12% stake


Shares in Anglo American have soared after an Indian billionaire said he would spend up to £2bn taking a stake in the miner.

Anil Agarwal, who controls Vedanta, said on Wednesday he would make the investment through his family trust Volcan Holdings.

The statement from Volcan said neither the trust nor Vedanta intended to seek control of Anglo.

Buying a stake of about 12% in Anglo would diversify Mr Agarwal’s holdings.

Vedanta focuses on commodities including zinc, lead, silver, copper, iron ore and aluminium, while Anglo’s portfolio includes diamonds and platinum.

“This is an attractive investment for our family trust … I am delighted to become a shareholder in Anglo American,” Mr Agarwal said.

Anglo reported a huge pre-tax loss of $5.5bn (£3.8bn) for 2015 following the plunge in commodity prices.

However, its shares jumped nearly 300% last year and in February the company said it would resume paying dividends and slow down the pace of asset sales.

Anglo American shares jumped 8.5% to £12.96 in morning trading in London, while Vedanta also rose 5.2% to 878p.

Other mining companies including Antofagasta, Fresnillo, BHP Billiton and Randgold Resources also posted strong gains to help lead the London market to a new record high on Thursday.

Miners have been boosted by a fall in the dollar after the US Federal Reserve indicated a slower pace of interest rate rises than the market had been expecting.

A weaker greenback helps dollar-denominated commodities, as it makes them cheaper for customers paying in other currencies.

Mr Agarwal is using a “mandatory exchangeable bond” to finance the share purchase.

Industry sources said the financial instrument was the first of its kind and was an efficient way of acquiring such a big stake.



Democrats Will Reintroduce A Major LGBT Bill As A Wedge Issue In Congress

article1.1Sen. Jeff Merkley and supporters of the Equality Act in 2015. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

Democrats in Congress plan to reintroduce legislation this month that would ban LGBT discrimination nationwide, despite facing a conservative majority that’s been generally hostile toward the issue.

While the bill has little shot of passage, progressives hope inaction by Republicans can illustrate a chasm between the major political parties as they approach the 2018 midterm election.

“It’s important for Americans to know whether members of Congress support full equality for our community or whether they support continued discrimination against LGBT Americans,” Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, a Democrat who will sponsor the bill in the House, told BuzzFeed News.

A companion bill will be reintroduced in the Senate by Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, who said colleagues opposed to the bill “should have to stand up and explain why.”

Dozens of Democrats sponsored similar legislation in 2015, with a small harmony of support across the aisle, marking the most sweeping effort to date to provide LGBT civil rights. But Republican leaders never gave it a committee hearing. Rep. Cicilline argued that opponents should pay a political price if they continue to blockade the bill, saying, “If Republicans in Washington want to keep standing in the doorway of opportunity, they’ll have to answer to their constituents in just two short years.”

The Equality Act, as it’s known, would amend existing civil rights laws to add protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in workplaces, housing, and public spaces.

It would also clarify that transgender students can use single-sex facilities in schools in accordance with their gender identity, possibly settling a dispute tangled in courts.

article1.2Rep. David Cicilline Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has helped shift his party toward more LGBT-friendly language, offering pledges of general support — but his cabinet brings a trove of anti-LGBT views. The administration recently withdrew protections for transgender students and Trump himself has endorsed states creating their own policies that allow discrimination.

Cicilline argued in a dear-colleague letter seeking House co-sponsors this week that a state-to-state patchwork of LGBT rights underscores the need for a consistently applied federal law. Despite winning marriage equality at the Supreme Court, for example, gay people can still be fired in the dozens of states where LGBT discrimination remains legal.

“We need a uniform federal standard that protects all LGBT Americans from discrimination,” the letter says.

Polls have show most Americans believe LGBT people should be protected from discrimination.

“Every member of Congress should have to be counted and show exactly where they stand: either for or against full equality for all Americans,” Sen. Merkley told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “In 2017, any elected leader who wants to use their position to maintain outdated and discriminatory policies should have to stand up and explain why.”

Several congressional Republicans have cited concerns from religious conservatives who claim their faith is at odds with accommodating LGBT people, particularly with selling merchandise for same-sex weddings.

The Equality Act would not add new religious exemptions; rather, it would let stand the religious protections codified in existing civil rights laws. But at least one Republican lawmaker and some LGBT conservatives have argued that the only way to advance LGBT nondiscrimination legislation in Congress with the current Republican majority is by adding new provisions for people with religious objections.



Aleppo: Before and after images

Aleppo, Syria’s second city, was once the country’s commercial and industrial hub, as well as a major regional tourist destination.

But four years of war have left large parts of the Old City – designated by Unesco as a World Heritage site – in ruins.

As the evacuation of the rebel-held eastern areas nears completion and government forces take full control of the city, pictures have begun to emerge of the devastation.


The 13th century Citadel of Aleppo is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, but the war has left it badly damaged inside and out.

Syrian government soldiers used the citadel as a defensive stronghold and, as a result, it frequently came under fire from rebel fighters.

Umayyad mosque: 6 Oct 2010, 17 Dec 2016


Just to the west of the citadel, the Great or Umayyad Mosque – built between the 8th and 13th centuries – has been left almost in ruins. Its 45m (150ft) 11th century minaret was toppled three years ago.

Al-Shibani School

The 12th Century al-Shibani School, just to the south of the mosque, had become a venue for hosting cultural events and exhibitions after a major renovation.

Now the centre is deserted, in need of major building work.

Hammam al-Nahasin: 6 Oct 2010, 17 Dec 2016


Hammam al-Nahasin, also just south of the mosque, is situated in the heart of Aleppo’s ancient souk and dates back to the 13th Century.

The male-only bathhouse was another popular tourist destination before the civil war.

Shabha Mall: 12 Dec 2009, 16 Oct 2014


It isn’t just the old city that has been damaged. The fighting has also closed the Shabha Mall – one of the largest shopping centres in Aleppo.

The mall was for a while reportedly used by so-called Islamic State as a prison before being taken over by the rival jihadist group, al-Nusra Front.

All images courtesy of Reuters.


The Hidden Oracle Book Review

Apollo is the most narcissistic, hippest and probably the most sarcastic god ever, as he was depicted in the previous PJO and HOO series. Yes, he has cameos there. And I can even feel his self-esteem overflowing now that he finally has his own series, with him as the main attraction. The downside? He’s punished by Zeus to be a nerdy 16 year old with horrible acne problems. Oh, you’ll also find hilarious haiku’s in every chapter. Over all, I think it’s great. Apollo being useless and all without his powers but I think we’ll see more action in the next book.
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Legend Book Review

At this point, you guys should’ve noticed how I love dystopia. Hindi naman ako magde-deny, haha! They’re absolutely good reads! And Legend by Marie Lu is no exception. Day is the most wanted criminal in a futuristic United States. He’s the champion of his people. He makes the Republic look bad because they couldn’t catch him. On the other hand, June, is the Republic’s prodigy. She’s the only one to get a perfect 1500 score on their Trial, or so they thought. This book is the perfect blend of action and adventure. Another one of the books I would highly recommend. Also, look out for the second book, Prodigy. The continuation of June and Day’s journey.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series Book Review

Fun fact : This is the first series my Dad bought for me, and it got me seriously hooked with mythology ever since. The first two books, The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters already have their movie adaptations, but let me tell you, you’ll definitely love it more if you read the books. Take my word for it. I was actually a bit bummed by the movie because it was entirely different from the book, but ofcourse there will always be changes because you can’t fit all those exciting events in a movie under 2 hours. Either way, uncle Rick’s PJO series is still the bomb! I also recommend the Heroes of Olympus series, which is the continuation of Percy’s story but with a mix of Roman myth. Surely no regrets with this one, guys!😊

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Red Queen Book Review

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is one of the dystopian novels that I absolutely fell inlove with at first sight. Idk about you guys but I really really really like dystopia. The plot is somewhat similar to Kiera Cass’ The Selection but with a twist of fantasy and rebellion. I highly recommend this book to those who love dystopia. I assure you that it’s all worth it.
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