Did Steven Moffat Pick Doctor Who Over Star Wars?

Doctor Whos head-writer, Steven Moffat, wont be writing one of the upcoming Star Wars spin-off movies after his wife took to Twitter to deny the rumours.

Sue Vertue quashed speculation linking her husband to a potential position with the franchise, declaring courtesy of her Twitter account:

Just in case youve seen rumours that #stevenmoffat is doing Star Wars – thats news to him!

- sue vertue (@suevertue) July 10, 2014


On Wednesday rumours started to swirl that Moffat would oversee a future Star Wars film in either a producing, writing or directing capacity. It was alleged that LucasFilm wanted Moffat on-board because of his work with Steven Spielberg on 2011s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which he co-wrote with Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish.

Of course his involvement in such a huge blockbuster cinematic endeavour would almost certainly have brought his role as Doctor Whos show-runner to an end.

But now that Moffat has, seemingly, rebuked the big money advances of, arguably, the most successful film franchise in cinematic history we can all start to speculate as to whether he turned down Star Wars to continue his work on the Time Lords adventures through time and space.

Moffat is currently putting the finishing touches to Peter Capaldis debut season in the TARDIS, and the BBC have already confirmed that a ninth season will follow too, while he also has a new batch of Sherlock episodes to work on.

All of which means that there simply wasnt any room in Moffats schedule to even consider working on a tale set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ….. In fact there doesnt even appear to be room for Moffat to take a toilet break or have a well-earned nap.

But if officials from LucasFilm did actually offer Moffat a job on a future Star Wars film and he turned it down for the TARDIS then it proves just how much of a hold Doctor Who has over him.

Would you like to have seen Steven Moffat try his hand at a Star Wars film?

Gregory Wakeman is a Doctor Who buff whose favourite incarnation of the character is Christopher Ecclestons 9th Time Lord. Only because hes northern.

Read more:

Doctor Who Almost Ended After David Tennant Left

Doctor Who: Has Another New Companion Joined The TARDIS?

Matt Smith Confronts Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Criticisms

Pressure on Qld for asset sales

The Queensland government is under growing pressure, both fiscally and politically, in the upcoming privatisation process as it seeks advisers for potentially $33.6 billion of asset sales in a busy market.

In advertisements on Tuesday, Queensland Treasury Corp is calling for advisers for the privatisation of five assets: private investment in electricity distributors Powerlink, Energex , and Ergon Energy; long-term leases of Port of Gladstone and Port of Townsville, together with the rail line; the sale of industrial pipelines of SunWater; and the sale of electricity generators CS Energy and Stanwell, Ergons retail business.

The government, under LNP premier Campbell Newman, will be more politically constrained and financially pressed to conduct these sales, compared with other states in Australia, a source close to the situation told Data Room.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls reiterated that the government still had to seek a mandate for asset sales or leases at the state election next March, although it was critical to begin preparatory work early.

We have made it very clear that this government is committed to not selling or leasing assets prior to receiving a mandate from the people of Queensland at the next election, Mr Nicholls said.

The asset sales appear to be unpopular with voters, with some electricity workers protesting in June against the plan. Mr Newman also admitted the government was making some unpopular decisions.

The LNP will have to work harder after it lost the by-election in the northern Brisbane seat of Stafford on Saturday. The government also suffered a defeat at the Redcliffe by-election in February.

Despite the resistance from voters, the Queensland government is financially under pressure with $80bn of state debts. Queenslands level of debt is on average twice that of other states and equates to about $15,000 for each person, according to the latest budget handed down in June.

Mr Nicholls has said the sales will reduce debt and the burden of interest repayments.

Thats clearly what has pushed the government to start some preliminary work. With a number of asset sales flooding the market nationwide in 2015, Queensland wants to get out in front in the race to offload assets.

The New South Wales government has recently appointed Deutsche Bank and UBS to conduct scoping studies for the sale of a 49 per cent stake in its electricity network assets. The Victoria government has received proposals from advisors for the lease of the Port of Melbourne last week.

The federal government has also been seeking advisers to conduct scoping studies for Defence Housing Australia, Australia Hearing, the Royal Australian Mint and the registry services of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Major investment banks will all be vying for the mandates, with those that have done scoping studies expected to be in the best position.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Rothschild worked on the scoping studies for private funding in electricity network, and Lazard did the study of generation assets CS Energy and Stanwell. JP Morgan has conducted the studies on the two ports, while Macquarie has done the studies on the sale of SunWater industrial pipeline business.

(Reporting by maggie.lu@businessspectator.com.au

Editing by Victoria.Thieberger@businessspectator.com.au)

Ashok Leyland plans to cut debt by Rs 700 cr

Commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland aims to reduce its debt by another Rs 700 crore to bring it down to around Rs 3,800 crore from Rs 4,500 crore.

We aim to reduce debt to Rs 3,800 crore from Rs 4,500 crore from now that will bring debt equity ratio to 1:1 by this fiscal, Managing Director VK Dasari said here today.

He said this fund (Rs 700 crore) would be raised in mix of internal accruals and selling of non-core assets.

Internal accrual will be around 50 per cent of the amount, he added.

The company had been reducing debt on a continuous basis and recently raised Rs 666 crore in QIP to pay-off its debt.

In order to remain profitable on a sustainable basis and derisking from cyclical nature of truck business, the company will focus more on exports, seeking higher growth in non-truck commercial products.

We are aiming to bring down the non-truck commercial vehicle share to 50 per cent from around 70 per cent now over a period of time. We are also planning to increase share of exports to one-third of total revenue from 10 per cent now over next 3-4 years, Dasari said.

The company have various forms of association in few countries of Middle East, Africa, Latin America and ASEAN used as vehicle to boost exports of commercial vehicle products.

What’s wrong with the pursuit of a debt-free BC?

One can only presume that the promise of a debt-free BC was never meant to be taken seriously.

Christy Clarks very cynical, albeit effective election slogan was based on two highly qualified guestimates of the potential taxes that could be generated in the most optimistic possible circumstances from an industry that does not yet exist.Thus it comes as no surprise, as Vaughn Palmer pointed out in a recent column, that the latest provincial financial reports show us moving further into debt with no prospect of anything close to what was promised.

The issue, however, is not whether the promise of a debt-free BC will be achieved. It wont, at least not in my lifetime. The issue is whether it was ever a reasonable policy objective in the first place. After all, debt supports investments and long-term assets, as Palmer pointed out in his curiously soft, almost apologetic commentary. If no debt means no investment in needed assets we will be making future generations worse, not better off.

I recall when Mike Harcourt was elected, the mainstream media (with Palmer at the forefront) railed against increasing government debt, with virtually no regard to the investments and assets it enabled. That anti-debt campaign had two unfortunate consequences. It caused government to cut back on capital expenditures, however needed and valuable they might be. And it encouraged government to look to innovative off-book financing in order to reduce the reported amount of public debt. The political need to hide debt led directly to the widespread use of P3s even if that increased, through long-term contractual obligations, the liability future British Columbians would ultimately have to pay for.

Individuals and households can reduce and possibly eliminate their debt. They can, for example, sell their homes and rid themselves of the mortgages that come with it. But that doesnt make them better off. What makes them better off is responsibly making the investments they need and that provide benefits in excess of the costs.

So it is with government. We can reduce debt by selling assets, leasing instead of buying and postponing or simply failing to make investments that are required and beneficial, but that doesnt make us better off.

The sensible public policy is to be guided by a principle of leaving future generations better off. And that is very unlikely to mean without debt. It means ensuring that needed and valuable investments are made in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, so that the value of the human as well as physical capital we leave behind exceeds the cost of the debt that goes with it.

Daewoo Int’l to sell Accounts Receivable to Reduce Debt Ratio

SEOUL, KOREA – Daewoo International, the trading arm of POSCO Group, is moving to increase the sales share of accounts receivable without recourse as a way to reduce its debt ratio. According to company sources on July 27, it would try to sell accounts receivable worth US$4.8 billion by the years end. Accounts receivable without recourse are those debts that the factor (purchaser of the receivable) must bear the loss if the original account debtor does not pay the invoice amount.

3 reasons to get help during the financial aid process

In theory, you can do the student financial aid process alone. You can search for scholarships alone, go straight to the student loan documents to track down pertinent information, write scholarship essays without any guidance, fill out the FAFSA, sort through your parents tax information, and discern financial aid lingo. But you may benefit from a little bit of help.

Here are three reasons why you may not want to undergo the financial aid process alone.

1. Financial aid advisors can help you for free

The financial aid advisor/s at your school can help you with all of this, for no out-of-pocket expense. According to Go Financial Aid, financial aid advisors can:

  • Take you through each step of the financial aid forms, so you dont miss anything
  • Help you search for scholarships, student loans and grants
  • Protect you from making errors on the FAFSA and other financial aid forms
  • Ensure you know that paying for college is possible and that college can be affordable

Why not take advantage of this excellent resource if youre struggling with the process?

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that financial aid advisors may be strapped for time, as they have to serve many students, according to iGrad (iGrad.com) CEO Rob LeBreche. If thats the case, you may want to use them in conjunction with other resources. If thats not the case, then financial aid advisors are pretty well-versed in all aspects of financial aid, said LeBreche, who used to work in the student loan industry.

2. There are plenty of resources out there

Though you can probably do the financial aid process alone, it may make things simpler if you take advantage of the countless free resources out there.

One excellent example of this is Federal Student Aid (studentaid.ed.gov), which is an office of the US Department of Education. On its website, you can find information on federal loans, scholarships and grants, as well as directions how to navigate FAFSA, an estimation calculator, repayment options for student loans, and much more.

Another excellent free resources that can help you navigate financial aid is NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators), which goes through financial aid and tuition discounts by state and provides information about taxes in regards to financial aid.

You could pay an independent counselor or a website to help you navigate the financial aid process, but its not recommended unless you have a very difficult and unique situation.

Its very similar to doing taxes, said LeBreche of undertaking the financial aid process. If you want, you can pay someone to do your taxes for you and if your situation is complex, then it may be worthwhile. I certainly have seen people who have paid for services benefit. But there are certainly enough resources to do it on your own for free.

Chances are, your situation is not one you cant figure out on your own or that a free website hasnt covered or a financial aid advisor cant guide you through. So it may be wise to save your money and take advantage of the many free resources out there if you need the help.

3. You have other things to worry about

If something in the financial aid process is taking you a long time to navigate on your own, then seeking help may help you save time. As someone about to make a large life transition, you need all the time you can get.

The college process, from finding housing to signing up for classes, requires a lot of your time. You have to spend your last months living in the house you grew up in, if youre moving away for college, and have to emotionally prepare to leave behind family and friends. You have to contemplate a major, decide what clubs and student organizations youre going to sign up for, figure out how youre going to move your stuff and much more. Theres no need, if youre struggling to do it on your own in a timely manner, to add the financial aid process to that to-do list.

Some students find they can do the financial aid process on their own and others struggle through it or even find it a daunting process, as LeBreche has seen in his years of working in financial aid. If youre in the latter category of incoming freshman, then you may benefit from high school guidance counselors, financial aid advisors and free resources online that can walk you through all aspects of financial aid.

Hotel Leela to sell major Delhi-Chennai projects in one year to reduce debt

Hotel Leelaventure, which has been long trying to sell stake in two of its projects in Delhi and Chennai to reduce its debt burden, said it would continue to hold a minority stake in each of the project even after the sale. The hotel major feels that the next six months to one year will be right time for the company to divest.

We are only bringing in bridge finance till we can disinvest and reduce our debt. The economic environment earlier was not suitable for disinvestment and the valuations were also quite low for the investments we made. But now we are seeing increased valuation of our hotels and I think the next six months to one year will be the right time to disinvest, said Vivek Nair, chairman and managing director, Hotel Leelaventure.

Elaborating, Nair also said the economic situation is improving and has started reflecting in the valuations his company is getting at present. We are now being offered close to what we had invested. There is strong optimism in the tourism industry, he said.

Nair said the company is in discussion with sovereign funds and institutional investors who can invest in the properties. The company, however, will not be disinvesting 100% of its units and would instead spin off into a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

We would continue to operate the hotels under our own flag since the financial investors wants us to manage the properties. We will disinvest about 70-75% of these units while keeping the rest of it with us.

We are looking at only two hotels which can meet our debt obligation. Besides, we are also using other non-core assets for debt reduction, he said.

The company has recently informed that the majority of lenders have sold off its debt to JM Financial Asset Reconstruction. As on June 30, the company has a debt of about Rs 5,000 crore of which about Rs 4,000 crore stood with the corporate debt restructuring (CDR) lenders. Out of 17 lenders in the State Bank of India-led consortium of banks, 14 lenders with exposure to about 97% of the total CDR has assigned the debt in favour of JM Financial Asset Reconstruction on June 30. The company has also been informed that the CDR Empowered Group has approved the exit of the company from CDR in a meeting held on June 28.

The company currently operates eight properties in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Udaipur, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kovalam and Chennai. New hotels are coming up in Noida, Jaipur, Agra and Lake Astamudi in Kerala. In Agra and Lake Astamudi, Nair said his company owns the land. We would be managing the properties in these two markets although we have an equity stake there, he said.

Genco’s Reorg Plan to Reduce Debt by Approximately $1.2 Billion

Genco Shipping Trading Limited announced that the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the Court) confirmed its Prepackaged Plan of Reorganization (the Plan).  Upon completion of the restructuring process, the Plan will reduce the Companys total debt by approximately $1.2 billion and enhance its financial flexibility.  The Company agreed with the Equity Committee on a consensual form of confirmation order, which has been entered by the Court.  The Equity Committee is being disbanded and no appeals of the confirmation order will be pursued.  The company expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in the week of July 7, 2014.

John C. Wobensmith, Chief Financial Officer, said, We are pleased to have reached this important milestone.  We look forward to completing the financial restructuring process and expect to emerge with a stronger financial foundation.  We expect to continue providing our chartering customers the same high quality, reliable shipping services theyve come to consistently expect from Genco.  I thank our customers and vendors for their support throughout this process as well as our employees for their dedication to Genco.

The Plan reflects the terms of the previously disclosed Restructuring Support Agreement with certain of the lenders under its $1.1 billion secured credit facility entered into in 2007 (the 2007 Facility Lenders), its $253 million secured credit facility (the $253 Million Facility Lenders), and its $100 million secured credit facility (the $100 Million Facility Lenders), as well as certain holders of the Companys 5.00% Convertible Senior Notes due August 15, 2015 (the Noteholders).

Wobensmith added, We thank our lenders and noteholders, as well as their advisors, who worked with us constructively to position us to complete Gencos financial restructuring in an expedited manner.

Kramer Levin Naftalis Frankel LLP is serving as legal advisor and Blackstone Advisory Partners LP is serving as financial advisor to the Company.

Genco Shipping Trading Limited transports iron ore, coal, grain, steel products and other drybulk cargoes along worldwide shipping routes. Excluding Baltic Trading Limiteds fleet, we own a fleet of 53 drybulk vessels, consisting of nine Capesize, eight Panamax, 17 Supramax, six Handymax and 13 Handysize vessels, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 3,810,000 dwt. In addition, our subsidiary Baltic Trading Limited currently owns a fleet of 13 drybulk vessels, consisting of four Capesize, four Supramax, and five Handysize vessels. References to Gencos vessels and fleet in this press release exclude vessels owned by Baltic Trading Limited.

RCom raises Rs 4800 cr via biggest QIP to reduce debt

The promoters of Reliance Communications, the telecom arm of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, have diluted around 7 per cent stake through fresh issue of equity in a qualified institutional placement (QIP) to raise Rs 4,800 crore, which will be used to pay off part of its Rs 40,000 crore debt.

“The fund raising will help the company reduce high-cost rupee debt, which has doubled in the last four years, and save close to Rs 800 crore in interest cost,” a person close to the development said.

The issue was lapped up by funds based in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong and other parts of Asia.

Post issue, the promoter shareholding will drop to 60 per cent from 67 per cent while foreign investors will hold 23 per cent.

This was the biggest QIP fund raising by a private company, the previous ones being a Rs 4,000 crore issue by the Adani group and a Rs 3,966 crore one by GMR.

The RCom issue was priced at Rs 142 a share, a 5 per cent discount to the Sebi-adjusted price of Rs 149.61. The promoters also subscribed to around 8.67 crore warrants worth Rs 1,300 crore. The company issued 40-43 crore fresh shares, including those to the promoters.

The promoter/prom­oter group entities will be required to pay 50 per cent of the subscription amount on the date of allotment of the warrants and the balance 50 per cent on or before March 31, 2015, the company said in a posting to the stock exchanges. RCom shares closed 0.03 per cent higher at Rs 151.40 a share on Wednesday.

The QIP issue received overwhelming response from ‘long-only’ investors in the US, West Asia and various parts of Asia, people close to the development told Financial Chronicle. The share sale received total bids worth Rs 12,000 crore, which increased the issue size by 60 per cent from a base of Rs 3,000 crore.

For the quarter ended March 31, RCom posted a 48.5 per cent drop in consolidated net profit at Rs 156 crore from a year earlier. Revenue increased 5.36 per cent to Rs 5,405 crore

Keep those bears on a leash-bulls aren’t done yet

(Stock-market peaks, throughout history and across geographies have historically, and maybe coincidentally, simultaneously occurred at the start, or completion, of a regions tallest tower. The Freedom Tower, replacing the lost World Trade Center, has just been crowned New Yorks tallest building!)

Read More My analysis points to sooner Fed rate hike: Krueger

Valuation metrics appear lofty in absolute terms. The Samp;P 500 is selling at 16.7X forward 12-month earnings, well above its historical average, and at, or above, prior market peaks.

In the past, I wouldve thought that these ominous signs were pointing to an impending market crash, a bear market, or, at the very least, the risk of a larger, and longer, than normal correction. But that may not be the case this time.

Im reminded of Stan Druckenmiller, one of the most consistently profitable hedge-fund investors in market history. He managed George Soross Quantum Fund and his own fund at Duquesne Capital. Druck, as his friends on the Street call him, is a serious student of market history and has done extensive work on the causes of bull and bear markets.

Read MoreOuch! Germany thrashes Brazil in markets, too

For instance, when Long Term Capital was collapsing in the summer of 1998, Russia was simultaneously defaulting on its debt AND devaluing its currency, Stan got extremely bullish. The Read MoreFederal Reserve had slashed interest rates and coordinated an orderly wind-down of LTC. Bailouts, Stan told me, were bullish. He said the summer of 1998 was a generational buying opportunity and got long the equity market and, while he was a touch early, he made a pretty handsome return with that bold call.

Im reminded of a conversation I once had with Stan. He said bear markets are triggered by only two things: rising interest rates and/or the onset of war.

Indeed, at all the prior market peaks to which this one is being compared, interest rates were rising rapidly, sharply, or both. Such is not the case today, in fact, interest rates fall on every pullback in stocks, as opposed to moving inexorably upward as they have preceding, and during, previous equity bear markets.

Also, as far as I know, the US is not on the cusp of entering a major military conflict. (Of course, any number of geo-political hot spots could drag the US into a new conflagration, but as yet, neither the current administration, nor the American people, appear to have the appetite for a new expedition, no matter what the cause. Yesterdays intense terrorist scare in Israel is a case in point.)

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Now, I havent spoken to Stan in quite some time, so I dont know his view on the current bull market. (I did reach out to him to confirm my memory of our conversations, but as of publication time, I have not heard back.) But using his litmus tests for imminent bear markets, this peak fails to pass muster.

I have been, and remain, a firm believer that we are in the midst of a secular bull market driven by the following factors:

*A Friendly Fed

*A new energy revolution

*A manufacturing renaissance in the US

*Technological innovation

*A real-estate recovery

Many, of course, have pulled forward their expectations of a change in Fed policy to combat incipient inflation and stronger-than-expected job growth.

In my view, job growth has yet to produce the type of wage inflation that can lead to a wage/price spiral, In addition, rising prices for oil, pork, beef and coffee are not inflation in the monetary sense and, thus, the Fed has little control over drought, pig infestation, a coffee cup, or the scarcity of limes.

Monetary inflation is largely absent, both here and abroad, and wont likely appear unless the velocity of money advances and the economy grows significantly stronger.

While I am bullish on the future of the economy, I remain convinced the Fed will err on the side of caution and keep rates low until a self-sustaining recovery is a certainty, not a forecast.

Recent data are encouraging, but the bond market is not sending the typical signals it would, if inflation and growth were running away on the upside.

I acknowledge that a correction could be coming. However, I will use the opportunity to add to selected positions — average down, as they say on Wall Street. There are many bulls who are raising cash these days, which is prudent for those with a short-term time horizon, or whose portfolios are significantly overweight equities. Some investors and traders are reluctant bulls, or fully invested bears, so a cash-raising strategy is appropriate for their approach.

It has been since the end of 2012 since we have had a decline anywhere near the typical 10 to 15 percent.

However, the character of this most recent pullback is much like the February/April decline — high-beta stocks are getting beaten down, while the major averages are pulling back less dramatically. This time could be more intense, but corrections in secular bull markets are typically short, sharp and scary. I wouldnt be surprised if this one fit the bill.

I dont believe this bull market is over. If rates rise, Fed policy changes, or an unexpected war draws in the US, I would freely, and quickly, change my mind.

But my internal monologue is still dominated by the long-term bull in me. I would never say that this time is different, the over-used catch-phrase, and rationalization, of perma-bulls. But barring the necessary ingredients for the onset of a bear market, I would argue that this time is just not the same.