* Erdogan promise hit by $15bn project finance delays

* Damascus claims referendum victory

* Shanghai raises minimum wage 13%

* Putin assassination plot foiled as two militants arrested in Ukraine

* S&P puts Greece in selective default

* Saudi billionaire to invest $3.4bn in Ethiopia in next five years

* Shanghai halts Johnson Controls lead processing

* HSBC faces surging overseas pay costs

* Finmeccanica faces deal probe in India

* China sets curbs on official cars

* Argentina turns away British cruise ships

* Markets: mixed

Erdogan promise hit by $15bn project finance delays
Eight months after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won an election landslide vowing to build roads, bridges and power plants, his plans are threatened by a financing shortfall of at least $15bn, Bloomberg reports.

Damascus claims referendum victory
Syria’s government said it had received overwhelming support in its nationwide referendum to change the country’s constitution, even as two activist groups reported that more than 60 men had been killed as they attempted to leave the embattled city of Homs, the WSJ reports.

Shanghai raises minimum wage 13%
China’s financial hub of Shanghai joined Beijing and Shenzhen in boosting the minimum wage this year as policy makers seek to spur consumer spending and a shrinking labor surplus pushes up salaries, Bloomberg reports.

Putin assassination plot foiled as two militants arrested in Ukraine
Russian and Ukrainian security services foiled a plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin, who faces a presidential election in less than a week, said his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, according to Bloomberg.

S&P puts Greece in selective default
Greece shrugged off a downgrade to “selective default” on Monday by ratingsagency Standard & Poor’s, saying the move was expected following its launch of private sector involvement in a €206bn debt restructuring, the FT reports.

Saudi billionaire to invest $3.4bn in Ethiopia in next five years
Derba Group, an amalgam of three Ethiopian companies owned by Saudi billionaire Mohammed al- Amoudi, said it plans to invest 59bn birr ($3.4bn) in seven industrial projects over the next five years, Bloomberg reports.

Shanghai halts Johnson Controls lead processing
Authorities here directly linked lead pollution that they said had sickened local children to emissions from a Johnson Controls battery plant and indicated the facility would not be permitted to process lead in the future, the WSJ reports.

HSBC faces surging overseas pay costs
HSBC is facing rapidly rising wage costs in fast-growing economies, including China, India and Brazil, as it ploughs money into these markets to offset more difficult conditions in the west, the FT reports. Disclosures published alongside the bank’s annual results showed that top executives outside the UK were paid almost double their British-based colleagues last year. A group of senior employees known as “code staff” received an average of $1.2m in salaries and bonuses in the UK last year, compared with $2.3m for similar level staff overseas.


Finmeccanica faces deal probe in India
Italy’s Finmeccanica defence group, already reeling from corruption probes at home, is reported to be under investigation in India over suspicions of irregularities involving a €560m helicopter deal that could endanger future contracts, the FT reports.

China sets curbs on official cars
China plans to force government officials to stop buying foreign brands like Volkswagen and Toyota and buy only locally branded cars, in its latest effort to bolster the local industry amid slowing growth and toughening competition, the WSJ reports.

Argentina turns away British cruise ships
Two British cruise ships have been barred from docking at an Argentine port in an escalation of diplomatic tensions a month before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, the FT reports.

Emerging Markets
MSCI Emerging Market Index up +0.37% at 1,060

DJIA down -0.01% at 12,982
S&P 500 up +0.14% at 1,368
Bovespa down -1.06% at 65,241

Nikkei 225 up +0.07% at 9,640
Topix down -0.30% at 832.76
Hang Seng up +0.40% at 21,303
Shanghai Composite down -0.32% at 2,439
MSCI Asia ex-Japan up +0.55% at 525.93
S&P CNX Nifty Index up +1.37% at 5,354

€/$ 1.34 (1.34)
$/¥ 80.28 (80.59)

Brent Crude (ICE) down -0.65 at 123.52
Light Crude (Nymex) down -0.49 at 108.07
100 Oz Gold (Comex) down -4.90 at 1,769

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