Toys R Us files for bankruptcy

Toys R Us, the American retailer who once dominated the international toy market, declared bankruptcy on Monday night.

The company, which has $400 million in debt, is struggling to keep up with online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Target, writes the Financial Times.

The company said, at one point, they became forced to invest no less than $3 billion in order to maintain 1.600 stores on track, “as before” as the company tries to go online.

Traditional traders have suffered great losses, especially when it comes to their popularity rate since the incredible rise of e-commerce – especially those companies that have accumulated heavy debt in the years of crisis.

Toys R Us, established in the 1950’s, grew and turned into a toy store that dominated the US market but failed to keep up with the online environment.

“Today marks the start of a new era,” said Dave Brandon, chief executive of Toys R Us.

“The financial constraints that have kept us back will be addressed in a sustainable and efficient way,” added the CEO.

The New Jersey-based company hired Kirkland & Ellis to help it into their restructuring process.

Toys R Us recorded reported a total loss of $164 million in sales of $2.2 billion in June.

Suppliers, in turn, became cautious, limiting shipments to Toys R Us, according to those familiar with the problem.

The toy industry has had a really tough year because numerous products have been linked to Hollywood movies that have failed to meet the box office’s goals.

Spain is using all its resources to prevent the Catalonia from organizing the referendum

The Spanish government announced on Friday a new consolidation of Catalonia’s financial independence to prevent any euro from funding the referendum on self-determination that Catalan leaders want to organize, writes AFP.

“We have established (this) the new control system in order to avoid them from funding illegal activities, such as the referendum”, budget minister Cristobal Montoro said at the end of a meeting organized with the Council of Ministers.

The separatist leaders in Catalonia, a region deeply divided between supporters and opponents of a secession to Spain, plan on organizing the referendum on 1st October, despite all the warnings launched by the Madrid government.

Technically, the state will pay directly the salaries of the civil servants, the social allowances and the invoices of the public service providers, Montoro added.

The decision was adopted after the commissioner of the Catalan economy, regional vice-president Oriol Junqueras, announced that he would no longer be subject to any weekly control over his spending imposed by Madrid in July.

The Government’s decision coincided with the opening of an open letter from Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, Oriol Junqueras and Catalan President Carme Forcadell, to whom the mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau joined for the first time.

Speaking to Chief of the Cabinet Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI, they denounce an “unprecedented repression” on the part of the supporters of the referendum and launch an “appeal to dialogue” to allow the state to authorize this consultation.

Olam invests $150 million to boost its food business in Nigeria

Olam International Ltd. invested $150 million in animal feed and poultry farms in Nigeria to boost its agricultural and food businesses in Africa’s largest food market.

These include 360.000 tons of bird and fish meals, each located in the Kaduna and northern and western states of Kwara, as well as an incubator that produces 1.6 million chicken weekly, said the trader food industry worldwide.

The production flows are estimated to support the production of 8 billion eggs and 100 million pounds of poultry meat per year, Olam said during a conference held in Singapore.

Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari, labeled the project as “important” for national growth, and said that at one point his government wants agriculture to end the country’s reliance on oil, which provides two-thirds of the state’s revenues.

A drop in revenue caused by falling production and oil prices has led Africa’s most populous country of more than 180 million people to suffer the worst economic downturn in 25 years and undermined Buhari’s ability to keep its promises such as rebuilding infrastructure, revitalizing the energy industry and strengthening the national currency.

Several Nigerian companies have increased their investment in agriculture, while the Dangote group, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, plans to invest $ 3.8 billion in sugar and 800 million in dairy products over the next three years.

Olam, who began the operation in Nigeria in 1989 with purchases of cashew nuts, cocoa and nuts, is now one of the world’s largest food retailers with presence in 70 countries. Last year, 16 percent of its $ 20.6 billion revenue came from Africa, led by Nigeria.

The oligarchs of these countries are hiding most of their money in offshore tax havens

A tenth of the world’s total wealth is held in offshore tax havens, but the ratio rises to 15% for Europe and up to 60% for Gulf countries and Latin American countries, according to a new study published by Bloomberg.

When it comes to fortunes held offshore in terms of GDP, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina occupy the top positions, while Germany, Britain, and France only have average holdings.

Meanwhile, world power US is slightly below average.

Offshore wealth increases inequality when it is included in tax data because it mostly belongs to the richest households.

In the UK, Spain, and France, about 30% to 40% of the wealth of these rich families 0.01% of households is held abroad.

Russia’s wealthiest elite holds 60% of its fortunes abroad.

Interviews conducted with more than 12 tycoons, fund managers, lawyers and current and former officials suggest that the largest part of Russia’s national wealth is currently in the possession of a new semi-exiled oligarchy class, which preferred to keep their headquarters in Russia but avoids paying taxes by staying less than 183 days per year in the country.

Two other Forbes members of the richest 100 Russians said they have given up to their right of residence in Russia in order to “fence” this law.

Two others refused to confirm if they resorted to this method although everyone knows the truth.

Kim Jong-un threw a reception especially to honor his science team and the engineers who dedicated their lives to his nuclear program

The North Korean leader organized this really glamorous reception in the honor of the scientists and engineers who worked on the nuclear test last week, the KCNA news agency has reported.

However, the agency did not mention anything about the exact location of the banquet, but the experts believe the event took place on Saturday.

Photos published by KCNA show the Communist leader smiling in the People’s Theater alongside two of his most eminent scientists: Ri Hong Sop, head of the North Korean Nuclear Weapons Institute, and Hong Sung Mu, deputy director of the Ammunition Industry Department.

Ri and Hong have played two of the most crucial roles in the North Korean nuclear program.

Both of them are omnipresent in the photos taken during the nuclear tests, where their Supreme Leader is grinning from ear to ear.

North Korea claims the most recent test was an important breakthrough regarding their new hydrogen bomb.

Although there was no independent confirmation, numerous Western experts say there are enough pieces of evidence that suggest the isolated state already developed a hydrogen bomb or the experiment will be finalized soon.

During his speech, Kim praised scientists for “taking the initiative” to achieve “the ultimate goal of completing the nuclear power of the state.”

“The recent H bomb test is a great victory won by the Korean people with the cost of their blood, gathering the belt in this tensioned period”, the Pyongyang leader said.

In March, Kim Jong-Un said his country managed to miniaturize a thermonuclear warhead, suitable to be attached to a nuclear weapon. Although his theory was questioned by numerous experts, the supreme leader claims he discovered the technology.