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Bethesda, MD, United States

BNA Inc | Date: 2013-09-27

The invention provides a method of selectively amplifying a detection target nucleic acid by inhibiting amplification of a detection non-target nucleic acid (e.g., wild-type gene) in a test sample by using, in a nucleic acid amplification reaction, an oligonucleotide analog containing one or more kinds of one or more unit structures of various nucleoside analogs represented by the following formula (I): wherein the symbols are as defined in the DESCRIPTION, and the like, or a salt thereof, as a clamp nucleic acid, and detecting the amplified nucleic acid.

News Article | April 18, 2014
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Chief executives of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index made an average $11.7 million last year. The average production and nonsupervisory worker: $35,239. That means CEOs are paid 331 times the average worker, according to a report released this week by the AFL-CIO, a federation of trade unions. The difference may be shocking, especially in the face of a shrinking American middle class. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently said it wants companies to disclose the CEO-worker pay ratio. But does such information make any difference? Some observers, such as Bloomberg View columnist Matt Levine, doubt that the SEC proposal, if implemented, will lead shareholders to rise up in anger. As he wrote last year, “Shareholders are not generally in it for the workers,” and the transparency might actually encourage them to offer execs a raise if they’re coming in lower than competitors. The AFL-CIO has been publishing the report since 1997. This year’s rate is down from 354 times last year—due mostly to lower interest rates moderating executives’ pension plans, rather than to any CEO salary reductions, Bloomberg BNA reported—but it’s still up dramatically from 30 years ago, when execs earned 46 times more than the average worker. The gap widened even as worker pay increased 136.6 percent since 1983 (about the rate of inflation). CEO pay jumped by 1,603.8 percent, according to numbers from the union group. In an even starker comparison, the AFL-CIO also estimates that CEOs made 774 times more than those who work for minimum wage last year. The minimum wage debate is heating up, but it remains to be seen if outrage spurred by inequality numbers—or anything else—will inspire action.

News Article | December 28, 2014
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Russian lenders are stepping up efforts to tap Islamic finance as international sanctions and a slump in oil prices push the world’s biggest energy exporter to the brink of a recession. Vnesheconombank, Russia’s state development bank, is seeking advice from lenders in the Middle East on how to sell its first Islamic bonds, the RIA Novosti state-news service reported Dec. 16. Banks and companies are seeking Shariah financing after the nation’s currency weakened to an all-time low almost two weeks ago, according to the Russian Business Council in Dubai. The increased efforts underscore how the highest overnight lending rate since at least 2006 and U.S.-led sanctions linked to the conflict in Ukraine are putting a squeeze on banks including Gazprombank and VTB Bank OJSC. Lawmakers rushed through legislation on Dec. 23 allowing the Deposit Insurance Agency to buy stakes in banks before they face bankruptcy proceedings to keep the system stable. Banks and corporates “want to know how it works and how they can get into this market,” Council Chairman Igor Egorov said in an interview at his Dubai office on Dec. 23. “They see an urgent need within one to two years, when the hunger for finance will be very acute, because at the moment we still don’t see the full effect of sanctions.” Adopting Islamic finance would mark sea change for the predominantly Russian Orthodox nation. Alexei Ulyukayev, who was first deputy chairman of the central bank until last year and is currently economy minister, said in 2011 the industry isn’t of “primary, secondary or even tertiary importance,” Gazeta.ru reported. The central bank is now considering legislature for Islamic finance following requests from lenders, Governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Nov. 26. Russia’s economy will probably contract next year and won’t see growth for four consecutive quarters, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. The ruble declined almost 40 percent in 2014 as Brent crude headed for its biggest drop in six years. It’s the worst performance of about 170 currencies tracked by Bloomberg after Ukraine’s hryvnia. Brent rose 0.9 percent to $60.01 a barrel at 12:11 p.m. in Moscow. The Bank of Russia increased the interest rate 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent on Dec. 16, which means Islamic banks can offer better deals than their conventional counterparts, according to the Association of Russian Banks. “There’s a strategic opportunity for Islamic finance to develop in Russia because given the 17 percent rate, clients won’t go to regular banks,” Sergey Grigoryan, head of analysis division at the association, said by phone from Moscow on Dec. 23. “The market is forcing the central bank to take a closer look at the current situation.” While Muslims make up as much as 15 percent of the nation’s 142 million people, U.S. government data show, a limited understanding of Shariah finance’s principles may delay its development in Russia. “It’s quite a sensitive area because many people don’t really understand it, or they may see it as a threat, something unknown,” Egorov said. “They don’t understand how business is related to religion.” That hasn’t stopped businessmen from exploring the industry. The heads of Russian banks and companies, including Vnesheconombank and Uralvagonzavod, discussed Islamic finance as part of a two-day meeting in Bahrain with their counterparts from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council this month, state-run news agency BNA reported Dec. 14. “It’s now on the agenda,” Egorov said of Shariah-compliant banking. “There’s no reason why Russia should limit itself and not get funds through Islamic finance.”

News Article | June 5, 2015
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Angola’s central bank devalued its currency as the drop in oil prices cut the main source of government revenue and export earnings. The rate for the kwanza was weakened to 116.8745 per dollar on Friday, compared with 110.518 on Thursday, according to prices on Luanda-based Banco Nacional de Angola’s website. The currency dropped to 118.13 on the interbank market before paring losses to trade 6.2 percent weaker at 117.71 as of 2:33 p.m. in the capital, still a record low on a closing basis. “It is rare to have such a drastic move in the kwanza,” Charlie Hampshire, the London-based head of trading at INTL FCStone Inc., which specializes in frontier market currencies, said by e-mail. “A move of this nature has not occurred since 2009.” Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is struggling to cope with crude prices that have slid more than 40 percent over the past year. The government in February cut its 2015 budget by 26 percent to 5.4 trillion kwanza ($46 billion), while predicting the fiscal gap will reach 7 percent of gross domestic product. The southwest African country plans to borrow $25 billion this year to plug the shortfall, according to a Finance Ministry proposal obtained by Bloomberg News. “They’ve allowed for continual depreciation in recent months, but this move is stronger,” Samir Gadio, the head of African strategy for Standard Chartered Plc in London, said by phone. “There’s a massive black market premium and the exchange rate was not in line with fundamentals. It’s still misaligned. The balance of probabilities is” for further weakness, he said. Finance Minister Armando Manuel said by phone he was on a trip to the Middle East and referred requests for comment to the central bank. Amelia Borja, a spokeswoman for the BNA, as it is known, didn’t answer three phone calls or immediately reply to text and e-mail messages. Yields on $1 billion of securities due August 2019 and guaranteed by the Angolan government rose 34 basis points to 6.59 percent on Thursday, the highest since April 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Angola’s foreign reserves fell by 13 percent to $26.2 billion between May and the end of March, according to central bank data. The kwanza has weakened 17 percent against the dollar since the end of June. That’s the fourth most among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg and compares with 18 percent for Nigeria’s naira. Angola’s gross domestic product of about $124 billion is the third biggest in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and South Africa, according to the World Bank. “The devaluation supports our view that headline GDP growth will fall to around 1 percent in 2015,” John Ashbourne, Africa economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said in an e-mailed note. “A further depreciation remains possible.”

News Article | July 18, 2015
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Trade negotiators tentatively agreed on Saturday to eliminate tariffs on an array of technology products valued at $1 trillion worth of global commerce. The breakthrough toward the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement took place at an ambassadors’ meeting at the European Union embassy in Geneva. “Very optimistic that we’ll have a final successful deal by the end of next week,” Roberto Azevedo, director-general of the WTO, said on Twitter. “We have the basis for an agreement.” The U.S. Trade Representative’s office hailed a “major breakthrough” in what would be the first significant tariff-cutting deal at the WTO in 18 years. “This will open overseas markets for some of America’s most competitive companies and workers,” USTR Michael Froman said in an e-mailed statement. “We are confident that all parties will now give formal approval to their participation in what would be the first tariff-elimination deal at the WTO in 18 years.” In talks that started on July 14, members took on the question of various tariffs, notably on LCD screens, which were contested by Taiwan and China, and an EU request concerning car radios. South Korean negotiators withdrew their opposition to an extended agreement, and members agreed to consider a draft list of covered products. Tariffs on semiconductors, magnetic resonance imaging machines, global positioning system devices, printer ink cartridges, video game consoles and other products would be cut to zero under the deal, according to the USTR office. The expanded product list will now undergo consideration from trade ministers at their various capitals. “We have the basis for an understanding,” Azevedo told Bloomberg BNA in Geneva after the meeting. “The list is out, members are going to consult their capitals, and we will know by Friday whether we have final approval on the list of products and the declaration itself.” The product list could pave the way for a finalized deal that would contribute as much as $190 billion to the global gross domestic product and support 60,000 U.S. jobs. Technology manufacturers like Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Sandisk Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. stand to benefit from the elimination of tariffs on some 250 products. The 80 WTO countries that participate in the ITA talks account for about 97 percent of global trade in IT products. The ITA requires participants to eliminate import tariffs on technology products on a most-favored-nation basis, meaning that any duty-free terms are applied to all WTO members. In September, ITA negotiators will start talks on schedules of concessions for tariff reductions, also known as staging. That allows countries to gradually phase in the tariff reductions for certain products deemed too sensitive for the ITA’s various signatories. Negotiators will also hold technical negotiations with the goal of completing the agreement by the WTO Ministerial Conference scheduled for Dec. 15-18 in Nairobi, Kenya. U.S. technology industry officials are hopeful the deal could enter into force as soon as July 2016.

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