Will Canada, Russia Miss Out On 2014 Fiba World Cup?

“We are ready to say today that we have acquired 24.4 percent (in Regal Petroleum). The buyer is one of A1’s subsidiaries, and the seller is CIS Natural Resources,” A1 President Mikhail Khabarov told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit. Khabarov declined to disclose financial details of the deal, but said Regal Petroleum’s revenues stood at 25.3 million pounds ($40.5 million) in 2012. “We do not rule out that we may invest more in this company. We believe it has potential to increase its market capitalization and think that we can make the management more efficient in the interests of all shareholders,” he said. A1 is a unit of Fridman’s Alfa Group and its investment portfolio ranges from car dealerships to cinemas to real estate. It is also known for investing in companies that struggle to pay debts or are embroiled in corporate disputes, selling them on relatively quickly after resolving the standoff. However Khabarov, who has a seat on Alfa-Group’s supervisory board, said he saw long-term potential in Russian coal asset Zarechnaya, part of an industry that has seen prices tumble over 60 percent since 2011. A1 represents a businessman who claims a 50 percent stake in Zarechnaya, a coal company in western Siberia’s Kuznetsk Basin, or Kuzbass, one of Russia’s biggest coal deposits. “In fact we’ve got not just an asset but an option (exercisable when) this market grows,” he said, citing the mine’s efficiency as an advantage over the small and medium-sized coal firms that he sees consolidating in a few years. “Most likely, we will not sell it (Zarechnaya) immediately. It would be more interesting to use it as a basis for consolidation in the sector and creation of a major player with annual production of 30 million tonnes. Possibly, with a partner.” He also named metals, transport and infrastructure as potentially attractive areas for investment thanks to their cheap valuations but cautioned that a quick profit was unlikely.

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However, 500,000 approximately $675,000 gives Canada reason to consider the value of that investment. Brazil didn’t finish in the top four at FIBA Americas Championship and missed out on one of the automatic bids. As host of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil needs the experience if its wants to make a run at a medal on its home court in three years. The exposure is important, too. There is no shortage of options in Europe, from Russia, which entered Eurobasket in turmoil (its coach quit a month before event began) and didn’t have its best players, to Greece to Turkey to Italy. Russia seems the most likely of those countries to pay big dollars for inclusion, and it won silver in London last summer. Oddly, Nigeria, which finished a disappointing seventh at Afrobasket, is interested in playing in the World Cup. However, can it come up with the money, and does FIBA want a team which finished so low in Africa, playing in the World Cup? Nigeria played in the 2012 London Olympics and finished 10th with just one victory. Either way, the USA, which won the 2010 world championship and gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, will enter as the favorite. The USA will learn its opponents for group play at the World Cup draw Feb. 8 in Barcelona. USA Basketball, which held a mini-camp in Las Vegas in July, will look more like the 2010 world championship team than the 2012 Olympic team with Kevin Durant and Kevin Love promising to play if healthy and Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose locks to make the team if they want to play.

Putin Depicts Russia as a Bulwark Against European Decadence

Europeans are dying out, he said. Same-sex marriages cant produce children. Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, wouldnt be suffering his legal troubles if hed been homosexual, Mr. Putin joked. Mr. Putins three-hour televised performancein which he shared the platform with politicians, current and former, from western Europeis part of an effort thats been evident in his third term of office to identify himself with Russias conservative majority. Its frustrating for modernizers in Russia. One former senior official lamented at last years Valdai Club meeting that while Russia needed to look outward to grow and diversify its energy-dominated economy, Mr. Putin was staking his political bets on the 80% of Russian people who looked inward and to the past. One participant at this years meeting of a Russian and foreign academics, former politicians and journalists, argued that as Russians increasingly travel the world, they wonder why Russia is falling behind. Even former Soviet republics like Lithuania had raced ahead. The retort was that most Russians stay firmly at home and it was a mistake to extrapolate from the young citified Muscovites to suggest the rest of the country was influenced by or interested in developments outside. Only 17% of Russians have passports, a figure that rises to perhaps a quarter in the cities.