Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- Asian markets are mostly up overnight, though the Nikkei is an exception notching a 0.27% loss. European markets are down in early trading, though most remain closed for a holiday. U.S. market futures are pointing lower before today’s open.
- South Korea has cut off all trade ties with North Korea in retaliation for the country’s alleged torpedo attack on one of its warships. South Korea now intends to take North Korea to the UN Security Council, and the U.S. government has pledged support.
- The first definitive proof that Israel possess nuclear weapons emerged yesterday, as The Guardian reported a leaked memo where Israel offered nuclear weapons to South Africa during its apartheid regime. The memo could have unsettling effects on attempts to stem nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
- China has slowed the process of deflating the country’s property bubble by not increasing taxes on residential real estate holdings. The country was meant to place a tax on multiple property holdings, but has now chosen not to. Check out these charts on how the China bubble is busting >
- Australia has been labelled the world’s worst sovereign risk by Rio Tinto due to the country’s expansive moves towards a mining tax. The tax would severely impact Rio Tinto’s profits, as it is the largest iron ore producer in Australia.
- Spain has moved to bailout a failing regional bank, and the cost has been a drop in the value of the euro. The €500 million bailout of CajaSur brings into further doubt the strength of the Spanish banking system, as many of the banks’ balance sheets have not been made public. Here is everyone who would get slammed in a Spanish debt crisis >
- Germany is to become an example of eurozone austerity by cutting its budget by $16 billion annually through 2016. Those cuts would also come with some tax increases, according to the government.
- Not to be outdone, the UK has announced the details of significant budget cuts today and they target a wide range of government spending programs. Cuts are planned to amount to around $9 billion for this year alone.
- BP is planning to launch its “top kill” solution to the oil leak crisis tomorrow, which could see the end of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. Current projections have the oil slick arriving on the Florida coast in the next 10 days. See those projections here >
- The government has ended its investigation into AIG noting that there was no evidence to prove criminal charges against the firm. It was originally assumed the company’s pre-financial crisis accounting activities could be criminal in nature. Check out the 16 players to blame for the AIG fiasco >
- Bonus: Reese Witherspoon is “moving in” with her new boyfriend of four months, agent Jim Toth.
- Follow the markets all day with up to the minute coverage at The Money Game >
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