World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Foreign Investors Warn They Could Claim Dubai Assets

As Dubai World and its creditors steel themselves for tough negotiations over the conglomerate’s debt, some foreign investors say they have enough support to force the company into default and lay claim to its most prized assets.

This go-for-broke strategy is being led by QVT, an $8.5 billion activist fund with a reputation for taking leading roles in complicated situations driven by bankruptcy. QVT, with other hedge funds, is also a large holder of the Islamic bonds of Nakheel, Dubai World’s troubled real estate unit.

But instead of just going after the prime waterfront land in Dubai that secures the bonds, QVT and other foreign creditors said Friday that they would consider suing Dubai World in British and local courts for its prestige properties, including its ports and foreign real estate assets held by the conglomerate’s investment arm, Istithmar.

Such a tactic may simply be posturing to threaten Dubai World with a long legal process. Many of the assets are highly strategic to Dubai and probably would be difficult to secure, no matter the legal jurisdiction.

Blasts in Pakistan Market Kill 30

Militants set off two bombs on Monday night in one of the busiest markets of this eastern Pakistani city, then sprayed the crowd with gunfire, killing at least 30 and wounding more than 100 others, Pakistani authorities said. It was the latest in a litany of militant attacks against Pakistani civilians.

The attack, which came at about 9 p.m., struck at a corner of the Moon Market where women crowded rows of garment stands to shop for clothes, witnesses said. Militants set off the second bomb moments after the first, engulfing much of the market in flames, and fired at people fleeing the scene.

“We were busy in dealing customers at this peak time of the market when we sudden heard the blast,” said Jamshed Akhter, one survivor who runs a garment shop in the same market. “After that we know nothing. We rushed to save our lives across the road.”

Pervez Rathore, the Lahore police chief, said there was a strong possibility that the bombs were detonated by remote control, rather than suicide attack. But the authorities still had not determined the exact cause of the bombing by late Monday night.

Pollution Fears Stir Backlash on Natural Gas Boom

Across vast regions of the country, gas companies are using a technology called hydraulic fracturing — fracking — to produce natural gas from previously untapped beds of shale. The push has been so successful that potential U.S. gas reserves jumped by 35 percent in two years.

What the drilling push will do to local environments is another matter. The drilling boom is raising concern in many parts of the country, and the reaction is creating political obstacles for the gas industry. Hazards like methane contamination of drinking water wells, long known in regions where gas production was common, are spreading to populous areas that have little history of such risks, but sit atop shale beds.

A string of incidents in places like Wyoming and Pennsylvania in recent years has pointed to a possible link between hydraulic fracturing and pollution of groundwater supplies. Such pollution could damage crucial supplies of water used for drinking and agriculture.