New Debt Worries from Greece: Morning Business Memo

Jan 27, 2012 6:58am

Mixed signals from Europe’s long-running debt crisis. The economic outlook in Greece remains dismal and new forecasts by the IMF could derail talks to avert a damaging default. Greek officials and private creditors continue negotiations on restructuring government debt. Italy has easily raised more than $14 billion in a pair of successful bond auctions and interest rates fell for the second day in a row. Demand today exceeded analyst expectations in another indication that confidence was returning to Italy’s finances thanks to austerity and growth measures imposed by the new government.

Twitter has refined its technology so it can censor messages on a country-by-country basis. The change may raise fears that Twitter’s commitment to free speech is weakening as the site expands into new countries. But Twitter sees the censorship tool as a way to ensure individual messages, or “tweets,” remain available to as many people as possible while it navigates a gauntlet of different laws around the world. Before, when Twitter erased a tweet it disappeared throughout the world. Now, a tweet containing content breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.

A new Justice Department fraud-fighting unit will bring together 55 prosecutors plus federal and state investigators. They’ll focus on the collapse of mortgage backed securities in 2008 – a major cause of the financial crisis. State and federal crime fighting efforts will be combined. The effort was first announced by President Obama in the State of the Union address.

A setback for oil and energy giant BP as it fights legal claims from the largest offshore oil spill. A federal judge has ruled the rig owner involved in drilling the well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was shielded by its contract with BP from having to pay many pollution claims. But U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled that Transocean Ltd. is not exempt from paying punitive damages and civil penalties. He also says Transocean is responsible for some claims that are directly related to pollution caused by its rig.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc

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